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Is leather a possible damaging surface for nitrocellulose finish?


I have a 2011 Gibson Les Paul, which has a nitrocellulose finish. During the days that it is being used a lot, I keep it on a Hercules stand. The stand is in my studio, however, sometimes the guitar rests on a dark brown leather couch, which is away from the studio area.

It occurred to me the other day if this was possibly damaging the nitro finish. There is no damage to the finish, and there never has been. I've been very cognizant of the fact that it has a really sensitive finish. The guitar is a very light cream color, so any color or surface damage would really show up - which is why I am concerned.

Does anyone know if a leather surface (shiny) can damage the nitocellulose finish?

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
While it is unlikely that any damage will occur, it is possible. A cured nitro finish has plenty of open bonding sites at the molecular level, which while accounting for nitro's rather easy repairability (by a pro) also leaves open the chance that things like dyes and plastisers can migrate into the finish. It is concievable that leather dye could infiltrate the finish. It's also possible that certain leather "conditioners" could create some ills. Not highly likely.

Soft vinyls and the like are more likely to cause problems. We've all seen the dye from a soft vinyl guitar strap make a permanent mark on nitro finishes, and we've seen stands/hangers with surgical tubing on the contact points create serious damage.

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