Finishing varnish

Has anyone used a buffing wheel on varnish to get the bright finish like that found on guitars w/ lacquer finish? I would think it would work if one used low speeds and a fine polish.

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RE: Finishing varnish

  • No need to buff out varnish to get that guitar look. Just use a high gloss varnish like Epiphanes or Captains. Follow CLC's varnishing techniques and you'll love the results. 

RE: Finishing varnish

I used Epiphanes and followed the technique and I also was wondering about buffing to get a finish free of brush strokes.  It looks good now at 10 feet but you can still see brush marks when you get close.

RE: Finishing varnish

  • Did you use the Epiphanes thinner? They recommend a 10-15% mix and it'll flow out with no brush strokes. 

RE: Finishing varnish

It's possible to buff a varnish finish. Some varnishes are better than others in this regard. However, it's not usually a matter of just hitting it with a buffer. You need to level the finish by sanding first, starting with something like 400 grit, and progressing up to 1000 (or finer) before even starting with the buffing wheel. Check into 3M and/or Menzerna for their polishing compounds and related products. All of this work has to wait for the varnish to be fully cured, which can take up to 30 days. You also need to make sure you have enough coats of varnish to withstand all this sanding and buffing. If you cut through it, you need to recoat (and wait).



RE: Finishing varnish

Thanks for the advice, I think I am going to try another coat, this will make 6.  I think the last couple of coats were applied un-thinned.

RE: Finishing varnish

Appreciate the input. Am always looking for improvement. Someone also mentioned "penetrol" additive which I think helps in the uniform flow of the varnish. Anxious to try again.

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