Binding: Turning White to Off-White?

ChicknPickn

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A cheap guitar I'm thinking of buying for a little modding fun has bright white binding, probably plastic. A "candlelight" color would be much nicer. Would a dye of some sort, wiped on and off quickly, achieve that?
 

RodeoTex

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Maybe spray it with a couple coats of clear Minwax poly. It'll start yellowing pretty quickly.
 

Boreas

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I doubt it will work with poly, but you could try brown shoe polish. But if it darkens it at all, it may be spotty. Test, test, test. If there are scratches, it will accentuate them.
 

ChicknPickn

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I doubt it will work with poly, but you could try brown shoe polish. But if it darkens it at all, it may be spotty. Test, test, test. If there are scratches, it will accentuate them.
Good thought. I also have some Fiebings leather dye that is so potent it should have a skull and crossbones on the label.
 

Boreas

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Good thought. I also have some Fiebings leather dye that is so potent it should have a skull and crossbones on the label.
You could try adding a little lacquer thinner or acetone to it to try to eat the poly finish a little. Or a white Scotchbrite pad. It all sounds like allotta work to me, plus I am sure I would make it look worse. You are probably still going to have other bright white plastic bits on it. Perhaps just leave it in the sun for a couple years.
 

Wallaby

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I've used garnet shellac with an artist brush to match a aged binding color after repairing a section of. Once it looked close I used lacquer clear coats to protect it, again with a brush.

I don't think this is a good method for the entire binding, it is laborious. Although everything dries really quickly which is nice.
 

Freeman Keller

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When you see the lovely amber color of old white ABS binding that is not the binding that has turned color but rather the nitrocellulose lacquer over the top. To duplicate that effect you need to spray aged amber lacquer and it is very difficult to do. I have done binding repairs on old guitars and been able to match the color so it looks OK but not perfect . How you would do it with modern finish I haven't a clue

IMG_3921.JPG
 

HolmfirthNJ

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I think time might do it - my Epiphone EL-00 is about ten years old and the binding has really faded in nicely… if you can wait a decade or so that is 🙂
 

ChicknPickn

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I've used garnet shellac with an artist brush to match a aged binding color after repairing a section of. Once it looked close I used lacquer clear coats to protect it, again with a brush.

I don't think this is a good method for the entire binding, it is laborious. Although everything dries really quickly which is nice.
Hey now! Good old shellac - - great idea, and easily removed if the result is poor. Possibly could chip away, but there again, easy to undo. 👍
 

Freeman Keller

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I have routed old crumbling binding off of a vintage guitar and replaced it but it was a lot of work and would require refinishing. Probably more than you want to do to a cheap guitar but very possible.
 

Beebe

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Hey now! Good old shellac - - great idea, and easily removed if the result is poor. Possibly could chip away, but there again, easy to undo. 👍

+1 for shellac.

If you don't have a spray system, use Preval spray units with a 1.5# cut.

You can adjust the tinting strength by mixing a light and dark variety.

Add some elemi resin to it to increase plasticity and reduced chipping. You can do the same with Propolis if you also want to add some brown.

You can get them both here:


 

Jeru

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My advice, worth exactly what you paid me for it:

What you want to do is exceedingly difficult to do without screwing something up, either to the existing binding (underneath a modern finish on an inexpensive guitar) or to the surrounding wood.

If you do get the result you are hoping to achieve it will be because you were very meticulous and spent a ton of time on this mod.

My bottom line — not worth it.

TWO caveats — 1) if this is not ‘helpful’ advice but rather a downer then I apologize and please disregard.
2) I really do mean this post to be helpful in that maybe you can learn from my experience. Looking back I wish I would have spend less time chasing dubious gear-modding projects and more time practicing the guitar. That’s just me though.

Most sincerely — good luck.
 

ChicknPickn

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My advice, worth exactly what you paid me for it:

What you want to do is exceedingly difficult to do without screwing something up, either to the existing binding (underneath a modern finish on an inexpensive guitar) or to the surrounding wood.

If you do get the result you are hoping to achieve it will be because you were very meticulous and spent a ton of time on this mod.

My bottom line — not worth it.

TWO caveats — 1) if this is not ‘helpful’ advice but rather a downer then I apologize and please disregard.
2) I really do mean this post to be helpful in that maybe you can learn from my experience. Looking back I wish I would have spend less time chasing dubious gear-modding projects and more time practicing the guitar. That’s just me though.

Most sincerely — good luck.
Understood.

A question I imagine many of us ask ourselves is: how much better would I play if I hadn't spent hours and hours on the "building and modifying" side of the hobby. And it IS a hobby for me.

I swing like a pendulum answering that question. I may go for months hardly playing while I'm engrossed in a build. And then I get back on the "right track." Bottom line, though, is that I like both aspects of the guitar. Frankly, I've never succeeded in making an okay guitar into a great one. Once, I thought I'd made a MIM Standard Tele "better" by doing various things to it. Then, I put all the original parts (except pickups) back in place and was satisfied. The guitars I play most are ones I've made/built. Very gratifying, as all us tinkerers know.
 

Wyatt

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I'm in the camp that says, "anything you do will be more obvious than the binding itself probably is right now". I think you should pick a pickguard that ties in the white of the binding for "un ensemble".
 

Freeman Keller

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We could have long philosophical discussions about all the things we do to guitars but might be best if we didn't....

As far as your binding question, to summarize - I don't know of a way to stain or change the color of binding. You can put some color over the top of it, that will involve all sorts of finishing questions. Frankly I would not use shellac on top of a catalyzed finish, but it might work fine. If it was a really nice guitar and I wanted to change the binding I would route it off, replace it with what I wanted and refinish the entire guitar. I believe that almost anything you do will look worse that what you have right now, please don't be offended.

From your first post it sounds like you don't own the guitar (yet). I would suggest continuing to look.....
 

ChicknPickn

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We could have long philosophical discussions about all the things we do to guitars but might be best if we didn't....

As far as your binding question, to summarize - I don't know of a way to stain or change the color of binding. You can put some color over the top of it, that will involve all sorts of finishing questions. Frankly I would not use shellac on top of a catalyzed finish, but it might work fine. If it was a really nice guitar and I wanted to change the binding I would route it off, replace it with what I wanted and refinish the entire guitar. I believe that almost anything you do will look worse that what you have right now, please don't be offended.

From your first post it sounds like you don't own the guitar (yet). I would suggest continuing to look.....
Always respect your input, Freeman. Seriously.
 

stratisfied

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A cheap guitar I'm thinking of buying for a little modding fun has bright white binding, probably plastic. A "candlelight" color would be much nicer. Would a dye of some sort, wiped on and off quickly, achieve that?
Decant some Mohawk Starburst aerosol into an airbrush jar. Thin it 50/50 with lacquer thinner and apply with an airbrush. You can mask the binding using a soft mask and buff by hand leaving no "edge". Look up soft masking on YouTube. Some call it “back-masking because you basically apply the masking to the area to be painted and then fold it over pulling in back to reveal the area to coat and ‘“rolling” the masking tape back to provide a roynded over edge that softens the overspray edge.
 




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