Operation Plaid Hammer: Huffing Paint

Right! So when we last left off, we'd basically done all the woodwork that's gonna happen. Neck carve was done, frets were installed, body was sanded - it's time for paint! Well, technically, sealer first. Before we head to the booth, though, the body and neck need to be mounted for easier spraying, and so they can be painted without being touched. Kauer Guitars uses a proprietary system designed by Doug (although similar to designs used by other companies). The brackets bolt to the body or neck, which can then be put on a rotatable rack that can be set to any angle.

The Plaid Hammer neck with a spraybooth bracket...

The Plaid Hammer neck with a spraybooth bracket...

... and the body on the spinning stand.

... and the body on the spinning stand.

In addition, these brackets can be placed on rolling racks, moved under the heat lamps, and in and out of the booth, depending on where they are in the spraying and curing process.

OK! Now it's time to head to the booth for real! First, time to gear up! For safety, gotta put on a face mask. These protect eyes and lungs from wayward spray - but not leg hair, as I discovered later. I put my mask on, and as I was standing there innocently, minding my own business, hurting nobody, something dropped down into my field of vision. Inside my mask.

HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *pant* *pant* *pant* HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *pant* *pant* *pant* HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Despite any reports to the contrary, I did NOT run around screaming like a little girl after flinging my mask halfway across the shop. What makes this better (and I swear to all the gods of tone I'm not making this up), is that Doug, Ben and I had gotten back from lunch ten minutes earlier, during which the conversation had dwelt in some length over how scary spiders are. True story. Not only that, I was the only one who said they weren't particular scary. Right. Congrats, Daddy-Long-Legs-Face-Hugger, you've made your point.

Where were we? Right! The booth!

A place of mystery, intrigue, strange chemicals, strange odors...

A place of mystery, intrigue, strange chemicals, strange odors...

The back wall is essentially one giant fan, pulling out what remains in the air from the spraying process and venting it outside.

Once we're safely in the booth, Doug pours sealer into a plastic liner made specifically for his spray rig.

Doug goes full Walter White with strange goo and scales and measuring devices.

Doug goes full Walter White with strange goo and scales and measuring devices.

The components in the sealer, primer and paint are all measured by weight, hence the scale. For finer measurements, Doug uses baby syringes to add components drop by drop until the right mixture is achieved.

Collecting the final ingredient for an amber clear coat.

Collecting the final ingredient for an amber clear coat.

Ready to spray! Terrifying.

Ready to spray! Terrifying.

I failed to get any pictures of us spraying the sealer, but I promise I made up for it when we get to the color coat. You'll see. For now, though, here's the body with the first coat of sealer.

The upper part of the body is untouched sealer, and the bottom part has been sanded a bit already (hence the milky white look). The green by the switch and on the lower bout is Bondo used to fill some minor surface imperfections.

One of the goals with this round of sanding is to flatten the surface, leveling out any high or low spots. The next picture, taken at an angle, shows the low spots as a bit shiny. All those must be knocked back until the surface is perfectly level.

The neck gets the same treatment. One more round of sealer, followed by a primer coat on the body, and it's ready for the color coat!

I promised the goods for the color coat, and I deliver - full video of the first color coat! And what a color... full '57 Lincoln-y goodness.

Next up, the neck gets the same treatment with a tinted clear.

And that's it! The body will get another color coat and two clear coats, and the neck will get another 1-2 clear coats, and then it's off to cure. Next time? Make 'em smooooooooooth.

First, though, a teaser of the body in full sunlight. See you next time!


Dave SegalComment