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Headstock/Decal mess & Bakelite Guard help...

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Teleman1985, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. Teleman1985

    Teleman1985 TDPRI Member

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    Hi folks. Helping you can help me. Firstly, my headstock. I have a late 80s lawsuit style tele that's a copy of a blackguard. A few years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to sand the decal off and put a Fender Telecaster one on because, you know, when you're young you do stupid things. Anyway, it never looked great regardless and recently I decided enough was enough and to sand it off. I wasn't going to bother with a new decal but I'm now left with this:

    [​IMG]

    So, I've decided I want to replace it with a custom decal or something like the original logo (not a Fender!). Either way, I'm determined that I will get this right this time and that this will look as flawless as possible. So, what is the best way of getting the newly sanded area to match the rest of the headstock? The finish has darkened considerably over the years and is now fairly amber. This being the case, do you think I should risk a product like this just to paint over the sanded away part: https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/...mber-nitrocellulose-chip-repair-guitar-paint/
    Or, do I want to be sanding the whole face of the headstock back to even and bare wood and starting again with something like this: https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/vintage-amber-nitrocellulose-guitar-paint-lacquer-aerosol-400ml/

    If I refinish the whole headstock, would I want to go with the vintage tint, apply the decal and then apply layers of clear over the top? Or would the amber tint be transparent enough that I could spray layers over the top of the new decal?

    Secondly, I have acquired a bakelite pickguard for the guitar in order to finish off the whole vintage vibe. The guard is unfinished, so is the process basically the same? i.e. cover with layers of clear nitro and then sand accordingly?

    Many thanks for any help!
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If I were to take on this project, I would have to refinish the entire front of the headstock. Hopefully you could get a tinted clear to bring it back to a reasonable match with the fretboard. Then, apply the decal and clear coat as you said. as for the pickguard, I would probably lightly scuff, spray some clear nitro coats and let it be.
     
  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    WRT the headstock, it looks to me like you will need to remove the finish on the face and refinish trying to match as best you can. However, instead of a boring decal, why not consider a custom inlay? For instance, to match the pickguard, you could inlay a background piece of black bakelite and then inlay or engrave a design into it.
     
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  4. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Ouch... hmmm.... as Wally says, I don't think you have much choice but to sand/refin the head or as Boreas says, inlay? Another thought maybe would be to put a custom engraved plaque over it? There's some TDPRI members out here (don't know who they are exactly) that do some fine, custom engraving work. Maybe they could come up with something snazzy for you? Just a thought. Good luck and let us know what you end up doing ;)
     
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  5. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would use a piece of mother of Pearl to either inlay or overlay....easiest solution, imho. After all, it is not like you are trying to restore a vintage Fender, right?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  6. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Forget painting only the part that's sanded off. You're using museum-level fine art restoration skills for a basic furniture-level finish repair at that point ( I have done both). Sand the rest of the face of the headstock down with a block, finesse the curve behind the nut by hand, and match the color more or less; it doesn't have to be exact.

    As far as inlays (I say hell no), decals, and whatever else are concerned, why even think about that until the headstock is flat and has even color? First things first.

    You should probably sand the surface and especially the edges of the Bakelite (Garolite?) guard before shooting any clear. A nice rounded edge really enhances the vintage look, and sanding earlier rather than later can make it easier to achieve uniformity of texture, sheen, and apparent surface color.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  7. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    What was the original decal?

    Theres an appeal to me, that I like to keep old quirky guitar logos in place, original. Dont care that it's not a Fender or a Gibson. That's the whole point.

    I'd have someone recreate the original as a water slide decal or silkscreen logo. Finish as others mentioned.
     
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  8. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    I think you could do a nice looking re-finish by just pulling the tuners and string tree and sanding down the face followed up by vintage-tinted toner and clear finish, incorporating the decal if you like.

    I wouldn't mess with the edges at all unless the sanding leaves any sharp corners, otherwise you'll see the scope of your project expanding :).

    Although, it might look better if you let your last clear finish coat or two catch the edges too, but you've got to stop somewhere ;).

    You'll want to have at least a coat or two of some kind of finish on the face before you apply the decal.

    Just make sure that whatever combination of toner and finish you use are compatible with each other.

    I don't know what's available in GB, here in the States, I like using Mohawk products.



    Your bakelite/micarta/garolite ;) pickguard doesn't really require a finish unless you want it glossy.

    Some folks just leave the pickguard as-is, with the "factory finish".

    edit:

    You can sand the pickguard edges using fine sandpaper.

    I wet sand them starting with 400 grit and finish off with 1000 grit or higher, which will put a sheen on the edges.


    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    But, you have to see that lacquer ring on the bottom of the guard where it sat on the one gallon paint can during the spraying
    If you want to KNOW that it is a blackguard!
     
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  10. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    From the picture, I would just sand off the existing paint on the headstock and start over. Once you have the new finish on the headstock buffed out, you can add any decal or logo you want.
     
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  11. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    You have sanded through to the bare wood right ? you will never match that up with the surrounding tint
    remove the rest of the finish from the face and start again it will save a lot of time and effort put a copy of the original decal back on
    Tokai/Fernandes/ maybe who else was making necks like that in the 80's ?
     
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  12. peteycaster

    peteycaster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I agree with all of the above. I think this way you would end up with the best job given what you're starting with.
     
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  13. Teleman1985

    Teleman1985 TDPRI Member

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    Some really good replies here - thank you all. Definitely going to start by sanding the face of the headstock and trying to find the right tint and will go from there...
     
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  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You may have experience with spraying tinted lacquer?? If not, please be aware that the tint darkens with every coat. I start with a tint that is a bit lighter than where I want to be and shoot coats until I have the match. I also do my own tinting of the clear to arrive at my ‘tint coats’ color.
    I like the color of that neck as the picture shows it. I am curious along with the above...what was the original logo? If it is a Tokai, one might want a pro level job done on that one????
     
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  15. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Matching the existing tint on the wood will be very difficult with rattle-can stuff. You need an airbrush and pigments, and you shoot a few test pieces to adjust the color because the wet coat is different from the dry coat.

    The simplest way to fix that and have a really good result is to print out a custom logo (ink jet printer set to photo quality) on opaque white waterslide film. I've used Testor's and Micro Mark brand waterslide film in the past with good results. Make the decal larger than the sanded area on the headstock for complete coverage.

    After you print it and allow the ink to dry for a few hours, very lightly (VERY lightly!) mist the decal with clear several times with dry time between before you cut it out and apply it. Doing this locks the color onto the film and prevents the water making it run. Use a very sharp knife to cut out the logo right on the edge of your image or text.

    Seal the sanded wood first, sand that smooth, and apply your decal. Allow it to dry overnight and then shoot multiple thin layers of clear over it with dry time between coats.

    Pro tip: print at least two identical logos and use only one at a time (mist coat, etc.), because if you goof it up, you have a backup plan.

    Here are some large decals I've done using clear waterslide film.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  16. Teleman1985

    Teleman1985 TDPRI Member

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    Nothing as good as a Tokai. The guitar was originally a Vester Tradition Series but in terms of hardware and everything it's become somewhat of a mutt these days. I might have gotten rid of it a long time ago and I have other Telecasters, but I'm sentimentally attached to it and somehow, it is a much better guitar than the sum of its parts...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  17. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    a few coats of shellac on a freshly sanded face with a clear coat over the top.... will get you close.
     
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  18. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just reiterating here...

    As others mentioned, and if I was doing this on my own I would save as much finish on the edges of the headstock as I could. Even further, I'd prob try to fix that small area before I did more sanding. Small steps first.

    Freeman Keller will be along shortly to tell you practice on scrap first. Write down your process to the color you arrive at so you can recreate it again. Do it more than once. Three times. Be patient. If I had an attachment to that guitar like you speak of it would be worth the time.
     
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  19. Teleman1985

    Teleman1985 TDPRI Member

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    If at all possible, I'd love to just colour match that small area and not be sanding off the whole face, but as others have said, it seems like it would be very difficult. How might you go about it?

    Yes, the guitar is important to me and I do want to get it right.
     
  20. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    A spot repair is ABSOLUTELY NOT the right way at this point. It isn't a $20,000 vintage guitar.

    You could easily spend days and go through $60-100 in materials trying to do a spot repair and still fail. The unknown finish that's already there may reject every type of finish you try to put on; even if you can get the paint to stick, there will almost certainly be "witness lines" at the edges of the repair. Sanding the front down and refinishing will take under twenty minutes of work, cost about twenty dollars, and will look much, much better.

    The way you'd "go about it" is via trial and error: buy an assortment of dyes, graining markers ($6 ea), Mohawk brand Tone Finish aerosols (about $7 ea), lacquer thinner, acetone, isopropyl alcohol, rapid-build sander sealer, clear aerosol lacquer and enamel, a couple different catalyzed oil finishes and varnishes, wipe-on poly, shellac, and water-thin cyanoacrylate adhesive, and try to figure out what works and how to remove anything that doesn't. When you're done, you won't like it, and you'll sand it off. A colossal waste of time and money for a result that's virtually guaranteed to be unsatisfactory.

    The right way: sand to bare wood with 320 paper USING A BLOCK, maybe hit with sander sealer, a few passes of Mohawk Tone Finish Natural Pine and Amber, three coats of Mohawk Finish Clear gloss, done. Finish will butt up against existing finish along edge lines and doesn't need to be chemically compatible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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