Scraping binding

Hi Sully,

I just watched your video on scraping binding.  I understand that there are two ways to deal with binding and the color coats.  First, you can spray the color on the binding and then scrape it off, or second, completely tape off the binding.  Is this right?

What about the clear?  Do you do the same or do you completely cover the binding with clear and not scrape it off?  Thanks.


As far as I'm concerned, you should always tape off binding. The issue that you can run into is that the top of the binding (that you see when looking at the face of the guitar) can be challenging to mask off because it’s such a small strip. The general idea is to mask the binding off, shoot your color, then scrape the binding on the face of the guitar. Binding is not scraped after clear coats; it should be covered just like the color. 

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.

Satin finish -> Gloss finish?

Hello, can you please give me some advice on making a satin finish form 100% shiny finish. I´d like that on one of my guitars. Tried to carefuly sand the back side a bit with very soft grit, and it is quite good. But you can see some patterns here and there cause my hand pressure isnt the same all the time. Do you have any other way how to do this? Cause I want the front side to look good.

 There is an agent added to the clear coat that gives it the satin finish, so while you can buff it out to a shine, it won’t be quite as shiny as a gloss finish. If you have sanded the finish, make sure you’re using a sanding block and let the sandpaper do the work; although if it was a factory satin finish, you probably could have just buffed it to a shine. 

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. 

Uh oh...I needed grain filler?!?!

Dude! I need your advice! I made a stupid amateur mistake when I was painting my guitar ( the wood is mahogany) and I started finishing it without knowing that it needed grain filler. The black wood stain and the clear coats have sunk into the grain and I don't know what to do! Is it ruined? Is it salvageable? or what? I've searched all over the internet and I couldn't find any advice on this problem...please give me advice on what to do! :/

 The way I see it, you have two options; redo it or live with it. If it’s any consolation (and I’m guessing that it isn’t), Gibson has done plenty of guitars with no grain filler, so while the result that you got may not be ideal, you can always tell others that you enjoy seeing the pores of the wood; gives you that earthy, natural feel.

In all seriousness, check out and read their refinishing 101. Lots of great info there about painting your own guitar. Finally, don’t beat yourself up about it; you completed a project (painting your guitar) and learned something from it! That, to me, is a success of some kind. Granted, it’s always better to have someone around to catch you before you’re about to make a mistake, but it’s a process, man. We’re always learning. 

Transparent finish over Z-Poxy?

I am currently making a guitar, and I am just starting body work, I want to map everything out first though. I know you must have been asked this a million times, but I will sand the finished body, put on z-poxy, sand that (repeat), then for a reddish finish (similar to that of a cherry SG) I will mix that in with the clear as it won't stick to the z-poxy? What would I use to tint the clear!? I'm completely in the dark when it comes to this and suggestions from anyone would be appreciated! Tanks 

Shoot a thin layer of intercoat clear over the zpoxy (or just use clear if you’re shooing lacquer) so that you have a barrier between that and your finish (in case you have to sand back your color coats) Get your hands on some trans tint (stewmac, lmi, woodcraft, etc) and mix that into your clear. When you get the desired shade, shoot it. Then finish it off with your clear topcoats.