View Full Version : Lawrence-McFadden.....WAAAAHHHHHHHH

John Coloccia
01-17-2011, 10:20 AM
I just found out they're gone. Boy, what a bummer. I don't really shoot nitro anymore, but when I did, McFadden's was a no brainer. That's really too bad.

Chris Fournier
01-17-2011, 4:01 PM
John when you've dried your tears or just cried yourself dry perhaps you could tell us what you usually shoot your instruments with these days.

John Coloccia
01-17-2011, 4:57 PM
Actually, I've been mainly playing with acoustics lately and doing a french polish on them. I've also played around with some of the waterborne lacquers (i.e. StewMac's). Personally, I think that's the future. It takes a little longer because it doesn't flash off as quickly, but the results are nice. If I ever end up in production mode for customers, I would probably just send them out to be sprayed. It's just so much work when you don't have a dedicated setup and I don't have room for a dedicated setup. My dream is to be able to someday move out of my little garage shop and have a real shop with a real finishing room. Oh, how nice that would be!

I did a little looking around and it looks like the formula is still alive and well under a different company - Seagrave. It's just a shame because McFadden's has been around forever. It certainly predates Fender, and may well predate Gibson as well. Martin's got them all beat, though. Hah!

Chris Fournier
01-17-2011, 5:10 PM
I'm always curious about what others are using for finishing products.

Be careful for what you wish for John. You just may end up with that big shop and the grunt work that you undertake to pay for it will have you fondly remembering your cosy garage shop where you only worked on projects you found interesting!

Travis Stinson
01-17-2011, 8:55 PM
McFadden's was always out of stock at Stew Mac whenever I needed it, I was able to get Seagrave for my last project. I've never used McFadden's, so I can't compare, but I was very pleased with Seagrave's version.

george wilson
01-18-2011, 10:45 PM
I do not know if they are still in business,because I still have a stockpile. I used Star lacquer for some time. They offer a nitro amber lacquer,but also a water white(perfectly clear) gloss nitro lacquer that is extremely pretty.got Other builders I showed instruments I made started using it,too.

I have in the 60's tried Behlen nitro,but when I was spraying a classical with a colored wood rosette,the lacquer dissolved the dye in the rose,and made a smear of it on the guitar's top. I never had that happen with other lacquers. Haven't used it since. Guess you could seal with shellac first,but I did not like that event! I'm certain I did seal with lacquer sealer first,as I always did back then. Now I seal with thinned out 5 minute epoxy.

Mike OMelia
01-19-2011, 4:56 PM
I'm using EM Tech 6000 (Target coatings). Dries in 30 minutes. Recoats melt in. As with all acrylics, blue haze can develop on darker woods if you do not monitor coating thickness. Shrinkage is minimal. Drop fills are easy if you use some that has been thickened. It's not as nice as nitro, but it does not come with the hazards or costs of use either (not explosive, not toxic or very low toxicity). I still wear a respirator.


John Coloccia
01-19-2011, 5:54 PM
How long are you finding it takes to dust free? Is that 30 minutes your re-coat time? Do you find that you need to sand between coats or does it just lay down nicely? How long until you buff it. I heard the water borne finishes get rock hard pretty quickly.

I'm sorry for all the questions. I'm still vaguely fiddling around with waterborne finishes and I'm curious what your experiences are.

Bob Frey
01-20-2011, 12:06 AM
The Seagrave laquer carried by Stew Mac is supposed to be made using the Lawrence Mcfadden formula. I've used both and see no difference in product.

Mike OMelia
01-20-2011, 1:51 AM
No sanding between coats. I lay down 6-9 light coats then level sand looking for pores etc. If I find problems I drop fill, wait a day, level the fills and lay another 3-5 layers. Then I wet sand using mineral spirits up to 600-800. Then wait a day or so and buff out. Do not wet sand with water! I have found the finish to be durable. Neck feel is amazing!

Mike OMelia
01-20-2011, 1:54 AM
The darker the wood, the more important it is to minimize finish thickness. Not toxic, or irritating. Smells sort of like ammonia. Dries super fast and u don't need a dust hood.

george wilson
01-20-2011, 10:04 PM
That blue haze is from micro drops of moisture getting into the lacquer when you spray in too high humidity. It will never go away,either. Don't spray when it is humid. You may also be getting too much moisture in your air supply. I'd like to get a refrigerated drier unit,especially to use an expensive air turbine with,which I don't want to ruin with water drops.

Mike OMelia
01-21-2011, 1:19 AM
I can assure you that humidity was not the case as I use dryers and the actual humidity was low. But your point is well taken.

Larry Fox
01-21-2011, 6:10 AM
It will never go away,either.

Not true in my experience for Target products. I recently finished a walnut cabinet that exhibited quite a bit of the blue tint for about a week after I finished it and not a trace of it after. Same experience with other projects finished with it.

Gary Jacuk
01-23-2011, 12:30 PM
I'm a new guy here.....been around for some time but rarely post, but I'd like to chime in a bit.
I've used EM6000 and previously Optimus for 5 or 6 years for cabinet work. I spray with an HVLP conversion gun and tend to put on a pretty thick coat. I get the blue tint also, but it never shows up in the shop where I use T8 flourescents with a 78 color index but the minute I get the project outdoors, there it is in all it's glory. My experience is that it eventually disappears as the lacquer totally cures. YMMV

Jack Briggs
03-17-2011, 8:35 AM
I've bought 10 gal. of the Seagrave L3651 and can report that it is identical to McFadden's formula. The nice thing is that Segrave's is cheaper by about $6/gal!!


Mike OMelia
03-17-2011, 10:14 AM
I would REALLy appreciate tips on HVLP guns. I have a 60 gallon compressor. I would love to try a conversion gun.


Jack Briggs
03-17-2011, 11:02 AM

It really doesn't matter what gun you use if you're going to wet-sand and buff the finish. I've got 4 or 5 guns: one for trans colors and shading; 1 for solid (opaque) paints; one for gold and other metallics; one for clear and one for touchups (detail). The clearcoating gun is the cheapest of the bunch, high pressure, low volume. Why? Because it atomizes better than HVLP (generally) and I'm going to sand the finish flat, so trying to get the smoothest laydown and flowout from a gun is a rather moot point. YMMV, though.

BTW - I am using a 60 gal. 14 CFM compressor. The CFM rating is the more important specification than capacity.


John Coloccia
03-17-2011, 2:11 PM
I didn't know you were on here, Jack. I love your work. It's great to see you here.

Mike OMelia
03-17-2011, 10:11 PM
Yes, mine is 14 CFM. Two reasons for wanting to try HVLP. One is to minimize loss to local environment (sort of overspray). The second is harder to explain. And I have no proof. But, I have suspected for some time that HPLV makes it easier to enhance pores instead of fill them. Yes, I porefill with epoxy, etc. But I would like to see if HVLP can do a better job with sealer coats. I hate epoxy work. If there is a thing to hate about guitar building, it's pore filling.

While I am on it, why is there no non-shrink pore filling substance that goes on like putty, cures clear, scrapes off, and cures without shrinkage???

Harvey Pascoe
04-10-2011, 8:05 AM
Water-base acrylics not toxic? Suggest you read the label on the can, they are HIGHLY toxic. I once thought the same and was shooting the stuff without a respirator because I shoot outside, shoot downwind and do a lot of small parts with great frequency. Then I started getting dizzy, loss of balance, loss of vision - even lost the vision in one eye for about ten minutes. Thought I was having a stroke. Took me awhile to equate what was happening to the acrylic. I now have permanent bronchitis.

You do not have to breathe much of that vapor to be seriously affected.

Jack Briggs
11-07-2011, 9:42 AM
I didn't know you were on here, Jack. I love your work. It's great to see you here.

Hey John,

Thanks much! I haven't been on this forum for a while, but I thought I'd see what's been going since my last visit. I'll be by now and again.