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How Can You Fix The Bubbly Mess That Occurs When Nitro Meets Rubber?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dumb donnie, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. dumb donnie

    dumb donnie Member

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    Marietta, Ga
    I guess some people don't know how to take care of guitars finshed in nitro :( . A guitar I am interested in has two spots on the headstock where it was hung on a rubber hanger. How can you get rid of them? Is this a reasonably priced procedure? Is there anything I can do to help it? Any tips or anything to help me clean up the spots will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    A pro-level fix will require sanding, filing, sealing, restaining or painting, numerous clearcoats, and buffing. Surprisingly labor intensive for what seems like a small fix. Not sure what luthiers would charge, I'm sure it can vary quite a bit.

    If you're interested in doing a quick and dirty fix yourself, get a couple of grades of dry sand paper, maybe 250, 400 and 1000. Sand VERY lightly, especially with the heavier grades, until it's smooth.

    If it's down to the wood: Apply a little sealer, sand off lightly. Touch up with stain or paint as appropriate. If paint, you may need to apply a couple of coats, and lightly wet sanding between (1000 grade). Then spray several coats of clearcoat, very lightly wet sanding in between (1600 grade). Let dry at least a week. Buff up with Meguiars or similar.

    If it's not down to the wood: Jump to the part where you spray several coats of clearcoat, very lightly wet sanding in between (1600 grade). Let dry at least a week. Buff up with Meguiars or similar.

    How much time you put into sanding and respraying will determine how well it comes out. Other guys who have done this might have other finishing schedules. Many ways to skin the cat here.

    Note: Any sealers, paints or clearcoats you use must be nitro or nitro compatible. Get them from either Stew-Mac or Guitar Reranch if you're not sure your local hardware store carries the right stuff.
     
  3. dumb donnie

    dumb donnie Member

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    I was afraid of that, hmm, at least it's just a couple small spots. Thanks for the information, I am going to have to think about this.
     
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You MUST get rid of all the affected lacquer, right down to the wood. The problem is that plasticiser from the rubber (neoprene, not real rubber) has 'migrated' into the nitro. It can't be removed, dried out, cured or fixed in any way unfortunately. If you don't remove all the contaminated lacquer, the plasticiser will simply spread back into the new finish.

    Luckily new nitro blends very well with old (precisely because it never quite permanently hardens, which is why this problem occurs in the first place) and you should be able to repair the damage fairly invisibly if you're lucky, depending on the finish colour.

    Last year I saw two Custom Shop Gibsons - a Historic ES295, and a Catalina Les Paul - ruined like this by being left on neoprene A-frame stands... in a shop :mad:. Each one had two 'stripes' across the body edge and a huge spot in the middle of the back. Very hard to fix in those sorts of colors.
     
  5. dumb donnie

    dumb donnie Member

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    So it's worse than I thought, I guess I will pass on this guitar :( .
     

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