In need of a solution for finish peel/wear in spots

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Krank, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Krank

    Krank Member

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    Yesterday I got a Japanese Strat from the mid eighties, bought from eBay. The seller didn't tell me that on the down side of the neck the finish has peeled/been worn off in small spots around some of the fret endings, so the wood is bared.

    I've considered sending it back, but it'll be across the pond and probably a lot of hassle arguing with the seller. And it plays fine, once you get used to the slightly uneven feel.

    So - is a 'spot finishing' solution viable?
     
  2. Krank

    Krank Member

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  3. Krank

    Krank Member

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    a final bump
     
  4. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Hello!

    Your neck was finished with a catalised finish that pulled away from the wood/fret end....possibly when the fretboard shrank a bit but the frets did not...what my friend John Suhr calls "fret sprout" (I love that, John).

    There are very few options when it comes to repairing said situation on a cat finish such as your's.
    1) The fret ends must be re-leveled down to the wood (or at least to the level of the surrounding finish, should it be thick).
    2) The fret ends should then be re-beveled, and the resultant sharp "shoulders" of the fret ends be gently softened and smoothed.
    3) The chipped areas need to be cleaned thoroughly with naptha, ammonia, and then naptha again...in that order. It is best to scuff-sand the immediate "neighborhood" of each chip with 600g sandpaper after the ammonia and before the 2nd naptha. Sand out all of the marks left by the fret end re-leveling. Use a little flexable block behind the 600G when doing this.
    3) Using multiple layers of good grade lo-viscosity cyano glue (get it at a hobby shop), build up a clear filler that dries to a level that is slightly higher than the surrounding finish. Do not use an accelerator. Be patient and let each layer dry hard before the next one (I could write an entire post about how to use the various cyanos and accellerators. Anyone interested? PM me at thetcmforum.org)
    4) carefully level the filler glue and sand it flat, level with the surrounding finish WITHOUT sanding thru the surrounding finish (geez, this is a topic that is hard to be breif about) Sand down to 1500 or 2000 G. Using a soft cloth, buff out with Meguires #7 (auto parts store).

    I have not done this subject justice! I want to! PM me at thetcmforum.org and ask me to start a "Touchup" thread. ANYONE who wants to be a world-class gtr repairman needs to be a GREAT touchup master. I would like to share...
    Terry
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    superglue is our friend!

    please, elaborate, if you will, on what the ammonia step is for, as that's a new one on me. (which is not saying much, as i am not a "paint/finishing" guy at all.)
     
  6. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Good stuff Terry.:AOK

    I get emails and pms about paint questions all the time and I feel the exact same way. I always tell them I could write a book on just small amount of info most people need. Painting is so envolved...

    I usually end up telling people to call me as I can talk much faster than I can type.:rotflmao
     
  7. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you, my esteemed comrades-in-arms!

    Walter, the use of the ammonia is a hold-over from my restoration days.

    Eventually all of us finishers run into the dreaded situation...a silicone contaminated instrument that requires refinish work to some degree. Common practice back then was to add silicone to the lacquer...you know, the so-called "fisheye remover". But using that stuff condems one to having to use it every time thereafter...the guns and entire booth now being contaminated with silicone!

    So, I did a series of experiments to see if I could come up with a workable way to wash enough of the silicone out of the wood prior to spraying. I found that the naptha-ammonia/H2O solution/naptha would usually allow me to lay down a thin coat of highly cut shellac...for my money, one of the best "barrier coats" in the business.

    If I could lay down a nice flat coat of shellac with no fisheyes, I was "home free".

    It became habit to clean drop-fills in this manner, and the ammonia could possibly be eliminated...but then again it may help remove any invisible Lemon Pledge, etc, that got into those chips.

    Paintguy, thanks again and I agree..it is faster to talk about than to write about!

    Terry
     

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