Behlen Guitar Finishing Options

March 15, 2016

You aren't solo when you pick Behlen Guitar Finishing products for your next project. This blog post explains the different types of products we offer and how to use them. Feel free to contact us with questions if you need further explanation!

There is a difference between furniture grade lacquer and instrument lacquer. The primary difference is the lacquer's flexibility which allows it to resist checking or cracking. On furniture, we balance checking and printing which is the lacquer's ability to resist impressions that come from a heavy vase or lamp left sitting on the finish or from packing materials in contact with furniture during shipping. If the lacquer is too soft, printing becomes a real problem, but if the lacquer is too hard, it is prone to cracking or checking as the wood expands and contracts due to moisture and temperature variations. Both of these conditions are compounded when the finish is applied thicker on a solid body guitar or on thinner, more flexible acoustics.

Behlen's Stringed Instrument Lacquer is formulated to provide the flexibility necessary to achieve a typical finish on either solid body or acoustic instruments with less risk of checking, as well as having a sufficient print resistance for typical instrument use. Our instrument lacquer produces a higher sheen or gloss than most furniture grade lacquers. When applied at heavier depths then rubbed to perfection, a much greater shine and depth of finish is achieved.

Our Vinyl Sealer is a nitrocellulose lacquer based sealer with added vinyl resin designed to provide superior flexibility, adhesion and resistance to crushing if the instrument is dinged or dented.  It also has superior clarity compared to stearated lacquer sanding sealers without compromising sanding qualities. Behlen Vinyl Sealer makes a great base for applying our instrument lacquer.

Our Starcast Amber and Encore Brown toners are designed to provide classic guitar colors common on both acoustic and solid body guitars. Starcast Amber will provide a bright yellow amber tone when applied lightly and builds warmth with added depth of color. This allows you to build more variation when used to create a sunburst finish. Our Tobacco Brown toner gives the classic brown often used on sides, backs and necks and can also be used as the darker shade on the perimeter of a sunburst finish. Our toners are dye based colors for the highest clarity and depth of color. You can find those for purchase here.

Behlen Finger Board Oil is a polymerizing oil finish that sinks into the wood to provide protection and beauty without building up on the fingerboard. After applying several coats, the finish is rubbed using 4/0 Steel Wool to burnish the finish to a uniform satin finish will little to no build.

Our guitar kit includes these products as well as our Wool Lube sanding lubricant, sand papers, various rubbing compounds, and instructions so that you have most everything you may need to finish a guitar.

You can find our full line of guitar finishing products here.


Guitar Products

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