First (Re-)Finishing Project

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by AAT65, May 22, 2021.

  1. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never really thought of doing a finishing / re-finishing project (well, I resprayed my Watkins Rapier from white to black back when I was a teenager...) until very recently. But like so many I started looking for a non-existent guitar -- a 12-string Tele with a self-coloured headstock in this case -- and that got me thinking about buying parts and refinishing them. And then I thought, since I've never really liked the colour of my old Squier P-Bass, why not start with a practice run on that?
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    Here it is, a rather ugly two-colour burst... I bought it in 2006, it's had very little done to it except changing the white scratch plate to that black one.

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    Now dismantled & stripped of hardware, ready for the re-finishing process to start.

    I've bought nitro rattle cans from North Western Guitars, and I've watched their videos which have given me a degree of confidence that I can do this & end up with a guitar that looks good -- but before that there is more destruction to do, namely sanding back the headstock face and getting the finish off the body.
     
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  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Taking the body down to bare wood?

    Any idea of what color and finish to be done?

    Edit: Oops, I see the Nitro rattle can reference. So, I guess the color is the question.
     
  3. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, down to bare wood. I have done a very quick test with heat gun and scraper and the finish comes away OK:
    D1D3BBBC-1814-4FDB-AD9F-5238A8E0574F.jpeg
    I’ve bought a colour (it will be solid) but I’ll keep the reveal for later... I will just say that Fiesta Red and Shell Pink were both in consideration but I chose something quite different in the end.
     
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  4. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have grain filler, wet & dry papers (coarse to fine) and cans of sanding sealer, colour and clear gloss ready to go. I also have new Squier stickers for the headstock since I’m going to paint that solid coloured also.
    I must remember to test if the stickers (they are self adhesive, not water slides) can tolerate another layer of clear on top...
     
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  5. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Apart from the headstock I plan to leave the neck alone - it’s got a slightly satiny feel to it and was very pale: the bit of colour it has now is just from age and light. (That’s the way I like it, I cannot stand tinted necks.)
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    You can see the tanlines where the tuners came off...
     
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  6. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    OK, sounds good.

    I had sanded a painted PU body down using a finishing sander. Messy, but plenty do-able. Sanding around the horns of the cutaways is the time consuming parts (often have to do most of those by hand... ugh).


    Good luck. I'll be checking along on your project. :)
     
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  7. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you!
    I started the thread partly to help motivate me to finish the job :) — but I doubt it will be quick so don’t hold your breath!!
     
  8. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    Good luck with the job. I just finished a solid colour finish on a new body using North West Guitars paint (for spray gun, rather than cans). I ended up stripping it back to bare wood again at one point and this time I used natural grain filler and also shellac sanding sealer, both from North West Guitars.

    This made the job much better the second time around: I didn't need to use primer as I had the first time (to try to fill the grain and to help coverage with the solid colour I used). Two coats of colour over the shellac and it was completely opaque, so I was able to go on with the clear coats (I did extra coats the second time as I'd buffed through on my earlier attempt).

    I did this as an 'easier' job to start with, thinking a bare body and solid colour would be a good start before I do a similar job to yours stripping a poly finished Jaguar and spraying it Candy Apple Red. It'll be a while before I start on the Jaguar now as I've had enough of sanding, spraying and buffing for a while now. :)
     
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  9. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Work-in-progress —
    B3265DC8-AE54-4B16-B2CC-6F6F52D91FF4.jpeg E8A59B43-A907-46C4-9185-3734D7F280C7.jpeg
    A couple of hours of heat gun and scraper in a well-ventilated space. Mostly comes off OK — little white-ish scrapes here and there, perhaps where the original sealer is scuffing up..?
     
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  10. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Afflicted

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    I did a similar job to a very cheap Asian guitar ( don't remember the make) it was a Strat design. Scraped and sanded the body, it was multi piece alder I believe and refinished it using Deft clear satin. Came out pretty good and installed some decent pickups and it sounded great. Some of these cheap guitars are finished with some kind of weird mystery type of paint that chokes off all of the tone. Get rid of that and you could end up with a decent instrument.
     
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  11. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    Strange coincidence: I just sat down for a coffee after doing exactly the same thing this afternoon to my Jaguar. :D

    Paint removal.jpg

    I've started sanding mine down to remove the odd scraper marks. It's almost like there is a shellac sealer coat still on the wood as it sands the same as my last project did after I'd applied shellac. Think I'll give it a coat anyway, just to help fill any grain. Mine is about 5 pieces. :eek: Surprising as it was a sunburst finish and I'd not noticed the joins before I got the paint off.
     
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  12. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Done with stripping... done some sanding, hopefully ready to start the constructive phase...
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    When the colour was off I did a bit of scraping at the sealer / grain filler since it had scraped up in places already but I reckoned it was easier to sand it down, so out came the mouse sander and (for the inside curves of the cutaways) the Dremel. The picture is taken just after wiping down with a damp cloth to take the dust off, so it’s partly dried off — I will take a look tomorrow to see if more sanding is needed.

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see it’s quite nice looking wood, two pieces I think. But I’m still going for my colour finish so the grain will disappear again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
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  13. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Guitar manufacturers typically do natural finish to single or two-piece bodies. With 3/4/5 piece bodies (the 'not-so-sightly' ones) get painted because they wouldn't cut it (in the eyes of the consumer :rolleyes:) under a clear natural finish.
     
  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    I was still a little surprised because it was a sunburst finish originally and I hadn't particularly noticed the joins apart from the one just above the trem plate.
     
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  15. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looked again this morning and it’s 3 pieces. Some of y’all probably spotted that from the first photo:) but I’ll just say it’s much easier to tell from the end-grain when the finish is off.
     
  16. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have managed to do a bit of sanding and dent-filling here and there -- tonight the next stage made a gentle start: body and neck prepped and hung in my garage, then converted to a temporary spray facility and a light coat of sanding sealer applied.
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    If all goes well the next photos should see primer and then colour going on...

    First observations from one short spray session:
    • I will wear a mask!
    • The neck is easy enough but a P-Bass body is a heavy thing to wave around on a paint-stick
    • Getting into all them curves is the tricky bit
     
  17. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Started spraying primer tonight!
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    I'm not going to say it's perfect - lots of learning going on!! It's those inner curves of the horns - so difficult to get in and keep moving to get a light even coat.
    Tomorrow I'll see if any of the runs need sanded back or if they've magically dispersed..o_O
     
  18. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Anybody else not surprised that I had to sand down a run or two after my first spray session?? But I think the primer is done now, a few more light coats and it is looking about ready to move on to colour next time round...
    IMG_2021-07-23-21-10-43-939.jpg
     
  19. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Use as little primer as you can, and sand the hell out of it. This is your chance to make a nice, even surface; the more conscientious you are about that now, the less work you'll have later. You'll also be able to use much less color if you make the primer coat perfect.
     
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  20. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was pretty happy with the primer coat but now it's the real thing... it's time for a Colour Reveal Post:







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