View Full Version : Pretty awesome clear finish?

Doug Shepard
04-16-2005, 3:03 PM
I'm blown away by the finish on the attached pics and thought I'd share these. I'm leaning heavily towards using this stuff on a maple/mesquite jewelry box project. I ran across this on an instrument makers forum. The thread there is extremely long so I thought I'd summarize the application info and lift the pics. The thread never mentioned what wood the guitar is made of but I'm pretty sure it's rosewood. What really got me was the clarity, depth, and mirror finish while still not looking plasticky. Check out the reflection of the pack of strings against the guitar back below.

Anyway the application details are:
Two applications of System3 Epoxy as a pore filler
Ten coats of KTM-9 sprayed
Sanded to 8000 with micromesh then buffed with polishing compound then swirl remover.

KTM-9 is a waterbased finish apparently intended to compete with nitro lacquer. I googled about and found the manufacturers page which is a pretty informative site.

They also have a users forum that has a lot of good info. There are a few negative posts there, but the majority seem to be satisfied users.

And this page from a guitar maker using the stuff has a pretty thorough writeup on his application method - a lot of steps, and details, but his results look worth it if you click to his home page link at the bottom.

The only hesitation I'm having is wondering if the look is going to translate well to general woodworking finishing. Instrument finishing seems to be an art in itself and things done in that arena might not translate well to other applications? I'm just curious what folks here think as far as it's use for woodworking projects.

Tom Pritchard
04-18-2005, 8:53 PM
Wow, that is an incredible finish! Seems like it was a lot of work to achieve that high gloss finish, but it was definitely worth it. That's a beautiful guitar. Thanks for showing it to us!

Mark Singer
04-18-2005, 9:23 PM
WOW!!! It shines not unlike my uncle Daves head...good thing hes not around to read this

Joe Judge
05-20-2005, 10:38 PM
If you register for MIMF (music instrument makers forum), then you have access to their "library" link -- lots of finishing information there. I learned french polishing by reading there and practicing the techniques. I learned pore finishing from them too.

There are also finishing discussions in "Project Guitar" forums.

Realize that most of the acoustic guitar finishing is aimed at THIN tough finishes -- sprayed nitro laquer, french polishing, etc. Heavy and/or oil finishes impact the sound. Nitro is dangerous (sensitizer over time and exposure), so some are trying trying to more to safer (water-based?) finishes like KTM9.

Electric guitars tend to have more heavy epoxy, glossy finishes and odder/interesting wood treatments (i.e., gibson voodoo or juju finish)

Both have some amazing inlays -- and all fine instrument making tends to have tight tolerances (planing, joining, finishing,etc.)

So -- a lot translates into finer woodworking.