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post #1 of 107 Old 07-12-2014, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Lightbulb DIY Guide: High Gloss / Piano Black Finish

Since I had a few people asking about it, figured I'd create a quick post on how to get a nice glossy finish. There's no secret to it really, just a bit of work. Don't expect to just spray something out of a rattle can and have a nice surface when it dries. However, a tip that may save you some frustration, is to finish a test piece to completion before doing anything to your actual project. If something goes wrong along the way, you'll find out then, and you can just throw out the scrap and start over. Also, don't spray solvent based paints on top of water based. If you do something like this, you'll be glad you did it on a test piece and not your final work.

Standard disclaimer: Before you start, you should have a respirator and eye protection at minimum. Solvents and other paint chemicals are not something to take lightly.

Step 1: Get your surface prepped. It needs to be flat. Best bet is blocking it flat up to like 600 or 800 grit. If you're going for a piano black, just make sure your surface is well coated. You can prime first if necessary.

Step 2: Clear coat. This is the important part. The better clear you use, the better it will look. High build is the key for a deep glossy finish. I use an automotive 2K polyurethane. This is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. If you value being able to breath, you need to use a proper respirator and have ventilation going. There are plenty of clear coats you can use, with different kinds of applications. It doesn't really matter as long as you can sand it. If you're clear coating wood, make sure you've sealed it first.

Step 3: Sand. Block flat. Start with 800 grit if your surface isn't too bad. Do not move on until your surface is uniform. No peel or craters should be present. The surface should be completely uniform before moving on. This is key. Anything you mess up here will be in the final surface.

Step 4: Sand more. Use 1500 to remove all traces of the scratches 800 left. If you don't, you'll see them when you're done. Your clear should be a bit less cloudy after this. You can move onto 2000 if you want, but if you have a mechanical polisher, it's not necessary.

Step 5: Rubbing compound. This is much easier mechanically than by hand. Spread compound on your panel, not so that it's soaked and you're tossing compound everywhere when you hit it with the pad, but enough to cover it. This is going to get rid of all the scratches in the last step. However, this will leave swirl marks. I use a foam pad for this.

Step 6: Glazing compound. This will get rid of the swirl marks in the last step. Use a different pad here, no cross contamination. Make sure your surface is clean before starting this.

Step 7: Cleanup. Use a soft rag to wipe off the rubbing compound. You can then hit the surface with some windex or something and wipe it down with a rag. Paper towels will leave very light scratch marks, so use a soft rag.


Here are some pics of the last project I worked on.

Primed. Sand to 400 after.


Painted. If flat, no need to sand, otherwise sand to 600-800


This is the clear I used, as well as the sealer on the veneer. Spraying this type of 2K poly is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. If you don't have experience, use something else. You need to seal and sand up to 600-800, otherwise the wood will soak up the clear. The clear will sink into the grain depending. Not a big deal, just block it flat to 600-800 and spray more. You could always fill the grain with grain filler instead before sealing. I prefer having the depth of the grain in the surface, so no filler here.


This is in the middle of blocking. You can see some low spots. There should not be any before moving on.


This is what the veneer looks like during sanding after the clear coat. Block it nice and flat.


Keep sanding up to 1500-2000. This is at 1500. If you don't have a mechanical polisher, sand to 2000.


Now it's time for rubbing compound.


Here it is after rubbing compound.


Another.


Next up glaze. There will be some swirl marks left after the rubbing compound. This will clean that up.








And this is what it looks like with black.

Sand.


Compound.


Glaze.


And finished product.







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Last edited by notnyt; 07-14-2014 at 12:10 PM.
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post #2 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 02:12 AM
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Some good info for people here. I think you did a real good job and although it might not be PassingInterest caliber I'd say it's as good or better than anyone else in AVS DIY section.
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post #3 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 02:33 AM
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Great post.

It's post like these that help everyone, step up their diy game!
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post #4 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielson99 View Post
Some good info for people here. I think you did a real good job and although it might not be PassingInterest caliber I'd say it's as good or better than anyone else in AVS DIY section.
Was just a quick build of some cheap speakers for my bedroom. I guess I'll have to do something fancy next time =]

... well it was supposed to be quick... work and other things took priority and it sat for a bit.
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post #5 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 05:44 AM
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"Not", can you recommend any particular type and/or brand of sealer? Where is this brand available? Also, what would be a good brand of clear coat to use for someone who doesn't not have the experience to shoot 2k automotive poly like you used?
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post #6 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 05:51 AM
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Great write up Not.. AWESOME.
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post #7 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 07:38 AM
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Nice!

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post #8 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 07:55 AM
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Very nice! Beautiful veneer, too.
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post #9 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 09:44 AM
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Great info, something that isn't clear to me. Are the side vineers primed and painted with the baffle then just sanded off ?
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post #10 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 11:24 AM
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Are you wet sanding with the 1000+ Grit sandpaper?
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post #11 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFGuy View Post
Great info, something that isn't clear to me. Are the side vineers primed and painted with the baffle then just sanded off ?
No, they were taped and masked when the front was painted.

The front was then taped and masked when the veneer was hit with sealer.
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post #12 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likelinus View Post
Are you wet sanding with the 1000+ Grit sandpaper?
I dry sanded, but I had an air nozzle to get rid of any buildup when it got annoying. You can go either way, not important.
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post #13 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post
"Not", can you recommend any particular type and/or brand of sealer? Where is this brand available? Also, what would be a good brand of clear coat to use for someone who doesn't not have the experience to shoot 2k automotive poly like you used?
Lowe's used to carry the Deft Sander Sealer. I don't know where you can get it now, but I'm sure there are plenty of sources online. The Zinsser sealers will also work. They have rattle can and brush on varieties. You can get this at Home Depot or Lowes. Rustoleum also makes one but I haven't tested it, though I've heard good things.

As for clear coat, there are a lot of options. Sorry I can't be more help recommending one, and I'm going to update the original post with this info. You should always test your finish on a scrap piece first.

With a small piece, it goes quick.





You can see how the clear sunk into the grain here. Spraying and blocking again took care of that pretty easily though

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post #14 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 03:39 PM
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Where did you get the veneer?
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post #15 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Where did you get the veneer?
www.veneersupplies.com

Used 10 mil paper backed and rolled on heat activated glue.
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post #16 of 107 Old 07-13-2014, 04:25 PM
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nice work and post.

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #17 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 03:04 AM
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That is a gem of a post Notnyt, thanks for the terrific contribution!
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post #18 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 04:35 AM
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Rob, you have some serious skills
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post #19 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 08:11 AM
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To add to his guide, if you are covering seams with piano black, you need a minimum 6 thin coats of high build primer, (spray 3 coats, sand and fill, spray 3 coats, sand), as well as perfectly sanded, flat Bondo beneath. Anything less than perfect you can see the seams. High gloss shows EVERY flaw.
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post #20 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 09:22 AM
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Loved it. Where did you get your sanding blocks? I don't think I have seen anything higher in my lowes or HD higher than something like 320-400...

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post #21 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post
Loved it. Where did you get your sanding blocks? I don't think I have seen anything higher in my lowes or HD higher than something like 320-400...
There used to be a sears hardware near here.. I have a bunch of paper left over from previous jobs.

Seems Home Depot carries 800, but nothing higher...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-3-2-3-...8-CC/202563281

Lowes seems to have.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_593650-98-5922ES_0__

http://www.lowes.com/pd_587666-98-PN03002_0__
http://www.lowes.com/pd_587667-98-PN03003_0__

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post #22 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notnyt View Post
There used to be a sears hardware near here.. I have a bunch of paper left over from previous jobs.

Seems Home Depot carries 800, but nothing higher...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-3-2-3-...8-CC/202563281

Lowes seems to have.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_593650-98-59...0191425&rpp=32

http://www.lowes.com/pd_587666-98-PN...per&facetInfo=
I think he thought you meant you were using the "foam" sanding blocks? I assume you use a hard block and just wrap the sandpaper around it?

I find that any automotive store has tons of high grit paper. I've seen high grit foam blocks too.
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post #23 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassment View Post
I think he thought you meant you were using the "foam" sanding blocks? I assume you use a hard block and just wrap the sandpaper around it?

I find that any automotive store has tons of high grit paper. I've seen high grit foam blocks too.
Ah, yes. That's blocking

I was using one of these, as well as an old heavy rubber block I have.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_242434-98-46...ductId=3711100

And yes, automotive is best place.
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post #24 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notnyt View Post
There used to be a sears hardware near here.. I have a bunch of paper left over from previous jobs.
This was my question too. What do you use for the actual block?
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post #25 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsdig View Post
This was my question too. What do you use for the actual block?

I was using one of these, as well as an old heavy rubber block I have.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_242434-98-46...ductId=3711100
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post #26 of 107 Old 07-14-2014, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notnyt View Post
I was using one of these, as well as an old heavy rubber block I have.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_242434-98-46...ductId=3711100
Thanks Not! Great thread here! I appreciate it.
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post #27 of 107 Old 07-15-2014, 08:10 AM
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Great tutorial.

Has anyone tried this product? http://www.eastwood.com/spray-max-2k...t-aerosol.html
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post #28 of 107 Old 07-27-2014, 02:56 PM
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Hey Not, how many coats of poly did you apply to get that nice high build? And how long in between coats?

EDIT: To explain, I am spraying verathane that I already had through my HVLP right now, and it is going on pretty lightly, and sinking into the grain in a lot of spots. I had been painting on with a little better success and could get 3-4 coats in but I was tired of seeing the brush strokes. The spray method puts it down much more evenly, but I feel like I am going to have to toss like 20 coats on before it gets a uniform surface. Right now I am only waiting until the surface is not tacky before I spray another coat on. I intend to let the coats set overnight and get on the sanding before the final coat or two, but it so far has been quite time consuming I understood going in it would be, but I can get a lot further with the brushing technique per coat.... Weigh your options I guess right?

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post #29 of 107 Old 07-27-2014, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post
Hey Not, how many coats of poly did you apply to get that nice high build? And how long in between coats?

EDIT: To explain, I am spraying verathane that I already had through my HVLP right now, and it is going on pretty lightly, and sinking into the grain in a lot of spots. I had been painting on with a little better success and could get 3-4 coats in but I was tired of seeing the brush strokes. The spray method puts it down much more evenly, but I feel like I am going to have to toss like 20 coats on before it gets a uniform surface. Right now I am only waiting until the surface is not tacky before I spray another coat on. I intend to let the coats set overnight and get on the sanding before the final coat or two, but it so far has been quite time consuming I understood going in it would be, but I can get a lot further with the brushing technique per coat.... Weigh your options I guess right?

Can one brush on a thicker first coat, sand down, then spray lighter coats? Or is that a short cut that's asking for more headache than it's worth?
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post #30 of 107 Old 07-27-2014, 04:51 PM
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After doing so, I can still see the brush strokes somewhat where I tried this on the back of the box, even with 4-5 light spray coats at this point. It is still looking better regardless than the other side of the rear of the box that I have only done spray coats as there is a ton more poly on just from the first two brush coats. I guess I am trying to find a happy medium here

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