Even the most routine-looking process on a highly crafted guitar requires a sometimes-unperceivable level of skill. In the latest “15 Seconds or Less” video, we feature a clip of one of our hand sanding craftsmen sanding the finish between coats of nitrocellulose lacquer.
If you’ve ever run an orbital sander over your “classic” car in high school (a.k.a. the “Bondo® Mobile”), you can attest to a pretty forgiving process with room for error. However, consider that nitrocellulose lacquer is not about forgiving or providing ample room for variation.
In several steps of spraying and sanding, as a guitar travels back and forth between the isolated spray booth and the hand sand area, the sanding process requires a strict vigilance to pressure, stroke length and pattern. Whether high gloss or VOS (exemplified here), the workable surface of lacquer is only microns thick. Too heavy a hand and the current layer is breached, causing potential unevenness in the finish. Too light and you’re likely to see scuff marks in the final finish process. As you watch the video, you’re seeing a nearly perfect amount of process and skill, made possible by years of training and practice.