Monday, December 20, 2010

Grafted Coatings' KTM-SV - A Sticky Problem

With two guitar necks and a body almost ready for finishing, it's an ideal opportunity to refine my spray finishing techniques as well as experiment with a new seal coat material.

As I've reported previously, I'm pretty happy with Grafted Coatings' KTM-SV, the finish material I've used on my last two guitars, however, as I removed the finish in readiness for gluing the bridge in place on both guitars, I was a little concerned by the poor adhesion of the top-coats to the shellac beneath it. Shellac is well known as a material that readily sticks to almost anything, however, it seems the same can't always be said for the adhesive properties of other coatings when applied to shellac. Most notably perhaps, shellac adheres well to epoxy, but epoxy cannot be used on top of shellac. Go figure.

A recent thread on the Official Luthier's Forum discussed this issue and attracted some interesting responses. It's comforting in a way to read that others have had similar experiences and are also looking for solutions. It's also pleasing to see that Grafted Coatings themselves are taking a keen interest and have volunteered to prepare some test panels with a view to recommending a suitable sealer for their KTM-SV product.

I'm looking forward to Grafted Coatings presenting their findings, but in the meantime, I'm keen to try a two-pack polyurethane barrier coat manufactured by Ilva which luthier Randy Muth uses and recommends. I'm pleasantly surprised to have discovered a local source for Ilva products and relieved that the distributor - who commonly deals in commercial quantities - could be persuaded to decant a couple of litres each of the resin, hardener and thinners for me.

If I have any qualms, it's that I'll be reverting to use of a solvent-based product when it was the safe, environmentally-friendly aspects of KTM-SV that attracted my attention in the first place. Thankfully, use of this product is likely to be limited to two light coats, and with the usual precautions of good ventilation and a twin-filter respirator with vapor cartridges, I'm prepared to give it a trial run.