Catalyzed urethane finishes?

Hello. First off I would like to compliment your work. Every aspect of your instruments are top notch.
I have a question regarding finishing. I have a strat that I want to refinish in urethane basecoat/clearcoat(2 stage auto paint which I have been told is what was used on it originally). I have sanded it down to bare wood, and was wondering what products you would suggest ? Sealer, primer, basecoat, clearcoat?
Hey there, thanks for the kind words!
I currently use Advantage urethane primer (specifically the #312 Primer surfacer), then PPG basecoat (the Omni line is more economical than a DBC basecoat and is colorfast) with PPG/Omni MC161 clear. You can shoot the primer on bare wood (sanded to 320) without issue. Obviously, you'll need to have proper spray AND safety equipment (respirator, tyvek suit, gloves, goggles). There's obviously many suitable products, but that's what I'm using. Good luck!


Is catalyzed urethane ok for guitars?

Thanks so much for all the videos!!  I've learned so much from you while building my first guitar.  I had a quick question on clear coating.  My plan is to do the zpoxy thing over mahogany and tint the clear. I have some experience using PPG automotive clear and wondered if it's ok to use on a guitar or is it best to use a clear designed for  guitars?  I'm guessing the car stuff would dry faster?

Yep! Catalyzed urethanes are fantastic for this sort of thing. I use 'em, too. Shoot 2-3 coats of clear, sand flat with 600 grit the next day, and shoot about 3 more coats. 

Ok to add more clear coats?

Hey Sully I have a question here about clear coating, I built a guitar from scratch just recently and I’m just waiting for the bridge to arrive in the mail. I put on about 8 coats of clear coat, now here’s my question;  if I don’t think it’s clear coated(shiny) enough, could I just take the neck and pickup out and put on a few more layers? Or should I sand it down lightly first with like an 800 grit sandpaper?


Hey there,

The gloss of a finish comes to life after wet sanding it flat and then buffing it to its final shine. If you shot it with lacquer, the general rule is to have around 9 coats on there at minimum (three coats of clear shot three hours apart for three days).  So if you shot lacquer, you can reshoot it and the lacquer will melt into what’s on there now (If you shot a catalyzed, two part urethane clear, they don’t melt into each other). If you decide to add some more coats, you can scuff sand it with 600 and reshoot. The other thing I’d like to point out, assuming you shot lacquer, is to give it at least 4-6 weeks of curing time before you think of wet sanding and buffing it out. Fight all urges to complete it, and give it the time it needs to cure. It may look like you’ve got a ton of clear on it right now, but the finish will gas off over time and shrink. While it might look great the next day, if one was to sand and buff it out and move to assembly, it wouldn’t be uncommon for what’s left of the clear to sink into the wood. When it stops smelling like paint, you’re usually okay to start sanding and buffing.

Runs in the clear

Hey Sully. I need to ask you some advice. I bought an old Washburn electric guitar about a month ago and sanded it down, sprayed the wood primer, two cans of color and now I'm busy spraying the clear coat. I placed the first can in a bit of warm water like on your one video and then started to spray. There are 3 places on the guitar where the paint started to run. Also the finish feels a bit rough like 1200 grit sand paper which I think is because I'm holding the spray can too far away.

Would I be able to sand out the 3 paint runs? I've finished the first can of clear paint and I have another can.


If you’re shooting lacquer from a spray can, don’t worry about the clear coat runs just yet; keep shooting the clear. The lacquer will melt into each other, and you can level sand it out when you’ve got all your clear on there. If it’s rough in certain areas, yes, you’re most likely too far away and the clear is drying in the air before it hits the body. Also, when it comes to using spray cans, use about 2/3 of them; the last bit is mostly solvent, and they’ll tend to spit and sputter when you’re running low.