MiM Tele Repaint advice

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by North East Al, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. North East Al

    North East Al Tele-Meister

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    Hi guys. I have been in touch with a tech in UK who has given advice on respraying my 2012 MiM standard. This will be the first time I will have tried this. My Tele is sunburst with maple neck, but the poly is cracking badly.
    He advised taking the poly off with sanding, priming it then spraying colour and nitro. I will need to this in spring as I only have outside space. He also gives good advise on thin layers etc. I think I want to go solid colour as candy apple Red seems a bit much for a newbie. I am leaning towards surf green, but and pics of anything anyone else has done would be appreciated. Also, any pitfalls to look out for. Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Sanding that polyester shell off is too much work. I used a heat gun and a plastic putty knife on mine; it only took a few minutes.
     
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  3. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not worth the effort ... The investment in time, materials and learning curve is just too much ...just buy a replacement body ... Or prepare for an ordeal ...
     
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  4. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    I agree with this. Buy the body with the color you want and sell your old body to recoup the cost. If you repaint the body you have, the value of it will plummet.
     
  5. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

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    I agree with all comments above, but it depends what your motivation is. If you want a smart-looking guitar, then a replacement body is your surest route. (And your first DIY refinance won't be your best, because there's a learning curve.)

    Alternatively, you might be keen to learn how to refine guitar bodies. If that's the case, you might want to hone your skills on a beater first, so that when you spray your MIM, it comes up to your expectations.

    There are all sorts of things that can go wrong, from inadequate prep causing surface defects that weren't too obvious until there was a solid colour on, to rubbing through the finish accidentally at the end. If you have to spray outside, the opportunities for disaster multiply!
     
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  6. North East Al

    North East Al Tele-Meister

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    Consensus is don't do it then!
     
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  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Not worth stripping a poly body of that level IMO. Just buy a bare body for $150 to $200, and start from there.

    But if you do want to strip it, a heat gun is the way to go.

    Also, just because a finish is cracking doesn't mean you can't just live with it. Indeed, many of the most famous guitars of all time have cracks and flaws on them, and many out there wish their poly bodies would crack.

    Selling off the old body might cover a lot of the cost of the new one.
     
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  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Just because Luther can get this right, doesn't mean most anyone can.

    I've got a Baja that's trying to lose its finish, and I'm just staving it off with glue and whatnot. Whether you replace the stock body or refinish it, you have basically got a partscaster when you're done. I have enough of those.
     
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  9. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I bought a unfinished body for $65 bucks delivered. It's basswood but a nice weight.
    My Fender pickguard etc fits fine. It only took me half an hour to fine sand and prep it with bin sealer for painting.
    If you are worried on what wood then buy a unfinished Alder or Swamp ash. It doesn't matter what brand as long as the routes and specs are right. The wood doesn't know what brand it is.

    I don't get why anyone would worry about the resale price of a mim guitar unless you were a dealer just looking to profit from purchasing and on selling guitars.

    Rather than waste that body you could also wick some glue under the cracked poly and fill the cracks, sand and refinish over the poly if stripping was too much of a pita.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  10. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

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    That is such an important point! There are a lot of bodies and necks out there that are 'close' to Fender spec, but not close enough to achieve an accurate fit without significant reworking. What I mean by 'significant reworking' is having the tools and ability to recut the neck pocket until you have a good fit with the neck.

    I know there are a lot of bodies out there that meet the Fender spec, but the only guarantee is to buy a 'Fender licensed' body, which could make this a very expensive MIM...

    How bad is the finish cracking, @North East Al ? Bad as in the guitar looks really worn, or bad as in flakes of finish digging into your hands?
     
  11. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The past 3 cheapo no name Chinese bodies I have purchased have all fit Fender and Allparts necks perfectly after a light sanding on the pocket. The brand new Classic 50's series mim body I purchased was a loose fit on all my necks including a classic 60's series neck of the same year.

    7 years ago I would have recommended not bothering with trying to buy no name Chinese necks and bodies because a nice fit was rare. Not so these days. I would much rather receive a body I needed to sand 1mm off the side of the pocket on for a nice tight fit than one that required a shim because the pocket was too large.
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get a bottle of "Thin" CA adhesive and use that to wick under any cracks or lifting finish and that will tack it in place. I've had it wick up a crack 12 inches before. Avoid anything with a gorilla on it and their formulations foam up like those cans of wall crevice insulation.

    .
     
  13. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    maybe post some pictures of the body you want to refinish?
    did you even spray something?
    it does not have to be expensive, and can be a lot of fun to do yourself, but it is not easy to do when you have no space/room to do so.
    but keep 1 thing in mind, you have to use materials that can be used together.
    water based, white spirit based don't match.
    so always make sure that, say a filler, primer color, clearcoat can be used together. (and even than, sometimes, things can go wrong)
     
  14. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    Unless you plan on doing this a lot, it really isn't worth the time and money. Unless you build a ventilated spray booth, it's likely you will not be pleased with the results either.

    What's your budget for this project?
     
  15. North East Al

    North East Al Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the comments. The crack in the poly is not lifting, but runs from the control plate up past the bridge and stops just shy of the top. Is it possible to remove the poly and put new nitro on? Would the sunburst stay intact or need some finishing first? I do like the body, just want to restore it. Its nothing to do with resale, just my go to guitar.
     
  16. sudogeek

    sudogeek TDPRI Member

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    Just did this on a FSR Ash MIM body, although it was in much worse shape than yours sounds like (multiple cracks, chips, areas where the polyester had lifted off, etc.) I used a heat gun on medium and the finish came off easily.

    I then sanded it and used wipe-on polyurethane. I thought the polyester would have penetrated the wood somewhat and act as a sealer but no. There was some absorption of the polyurethane into the grain and the finish ended up a bit irregular. Glossy, clear, and nice looking but not totally smooth. So, definitely use sealer and grain filler.

    I ended up sanding it back down and starting over. Ultimately, it turned out fine after multiple (>12) coats. Next time, though, I’m thinking of using catalyzed polyester. I’ve built surfboards since the 60s and also used it for tables, bar tops, etc. I’m very familiar with this stuff. You can thin to taste to adjust viscosity, regulate hardening time easily, and transparent colors are easy. Not for the novice - includes styrene and other carcinogens.
     
  17. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    The sunburst will go with the paint when it is removed (ie it's not stained into the wood).

    I've been round this route myself lately having put a partscaster together with a spare body I had in a plain blue colour I don't really like: I have spray equipment as another hobby is classic cars, but even so I still spent time looking on eBay and other places for a painted body.

    There are plenty of painted bodies about (in the UK as I know you are), so it just depends on how much you want to keep the original body, verses the likely first result and buying everything needed from scratch. It might be no cheaper and you'll end up with a better finished result and easier to do since you won't have to work outside.

    FWIW I traded in one of my MIM Classic 50s Teles...it was immaculate after I gave it a machine polish up and put it all back to together...still only got £250 for it though.

    If you need any links for UK suppliers let me know as I've saved a few as favourites while I've been looking (still haven't sprayed my partscaster yet, so may still buy a body myself).

    Cheers (from an ex Redcar man ;) ).
     
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