It’s been awhile but I am back with my DIY JEM style guitar kit! Today we will prepare the guitar for paint.
As mentioned in my overview article, I will be doing a swirl paint finish for this JEM guitar. The steps I take in this video may be a bit excessive for some of you, depending what finish you decide on, but I wanted to ensure that this guitar comes out great.
Things you need:
Before doing anything with the guitar body, you need to first sand down the bare wood. Doing this initial sanding will knock down any rough spots on the wood.
Take your 3M 220 grit sandpaper and wrap it around a block of wood or sanding block. As you sand down the body, make sure that you are going with the grain. This will prevent any unwanted scratches on the body.
You should now be left with a very smooth guitar body. This will also eliminate any glue on the guitar body that may have been left on by the manufacturer.
Spraying on Sealer
Now that you have a good foundation for the JEM body, we will then spray a few coats of our lacquer sanding sealer. This sanding sealer was difficult for me to find in retail stores, so you may have to order this product online as I did.
Spray two coats of this sealer on the top of the body, wait for it to dry, then flip the guitar over to spray the bottom and sides of guitar.
The reason we are spraying sanding sealer is because this will prevent the wood filler and clear coat from sinking into the grain of the body. Sometimes, not always but sometimes, the wood filler we apply in the next step can shrink over time causing tiny pin holes in the finish. This coat of sanding sealer will prevent that from happening.
Once we have fully sealed the guitar, we can now move onto the next step of filling in any deep grains that may be present on the guitar.
The product that we will use to fill in any deep grains in the body is a product called TimberMate Water-Based Wood Filler. This is a great product because it is very versatile and will never expire.
The wood filler comes in a putty form that can be thinned out with water. The nice thing about TimberMate is that if it ever dries out, simply add water to it and it will rejuvenate the product. Same thing if you use too much, let the water evaporate and place back in the tub.
There are several ways to apply the wood filler to the guitar body. You can use your hands and smear it on, you can take a squeegee and scrape it on, or you can take a brush and brush it on. I am going with the brush method.
Scoop out some wood filler and place it in a bowl. Then take some water and start mixing. There is no real science or ratio to follow. Just keep mixing the TimerMate until you get the consistency that you are after with your preferred application method.
In my case, I kept mixing the wood filler until it reached a “melted milkshake” consistency. This was the consistency that I felt was ideal for brushing on the product.
Applying Wood Filler
When applying the wood filler to our JEM guitar kit, you will want to take your foam brush and brush the filler on going with the grain then across the grain. This will ensure that the wood filler is pushed deeply into the grain, creating a smooth surface once complete.
Once you have both front and back fully covered with wood filler, we can now start sanding down the filler. Make sure you are outside or in a well-ventilated room when sanding. This filler is very easy to sand and it will get pretty dusty.
You should now have a very smooth guitar body that is ready to move onto the next painting process.
Completing these steps should give your DIY JEM style guitar kit a great foundation to paint on. Whether you are going with a swirl paint finish, like I am, or a different type of finish, this will give your guitar the prep work it needs to ensure a professional look.