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Respray clear over 1991 Les Paul Classic Bullion Gold

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by benderb9, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. benderb9

    benderb9 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have an old 1991 Les Paul Classic that has aged really nicely. LOTS of checking, few finish cracks here and there. There is a pretty severe finish crack along-between the top volume/tone knobs and another between the bottom volume/tone knobs. Probably from sweat years ago and being put away wet LOL. I'd done some refurbishment on the bits (Duncan Seth Lover pups, new pots/caps, jack) a year or so ago and while apart I got up close and personal with those two cracks as they appeared to be starting to curl up where the split/cracks appear. Played it for a couple weeks and put it back up until the other day. Lo and behold the nitro had flattened back down apparently. I'm going to leave well enough alone at this point as the checking is really nice as it is. Because it's a full Bullion Gold (front/back/neck) guitar from the factory I really don't want to strip it all off.
    My question to anyone with more experience than me is- Is it practical to spray clear over a vintage finish? Of course it would have to be cleaned off and lightly sanded first.
    I've sprayed plenty of lacquer on new builds but never attempted anything like this with an older, vintage guitar. OTOH I'm pretty sure after all the years of sweat, smoke and beer soaking in, just cleaning it up to spray might cause more damage than exists. I'm thinking that it may have been heat and moisture affecting the nitro as the curling was during summer in Florida, hot and humid. Currently it's looking good and not curling, it's been cooler and very low humidity the last couple of months.
    Any ideas, suggestions? Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone, ha ha ha, been there, done that bought the Tee shirt as a reminder. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I wouldn't.
    For a few reasons.
     
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  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    let's see it! :)
     
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  4. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    First, a 1991 is not vintage, just old

    Second, I would live with it
     
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  5. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Messing with it introduces the chance of messing it up. Don't mess with it. As you say, "Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone."

    If you need a shiny, crackless guitar you need to buy a new one (wink, wink...), right? :D
     
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  6. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    If you hit it with some blush retarder or thinner, it'll make the finish lie down. Amalgamator will do the same thing, but it's intended to be rubbed, so it poses more risks for the inexperienced.
     
  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you have to ask on an internet forum how to do a fairly complex finishing process you might not be the person who should be doing it. Refinishing almost always devalues an older instrument (as El said this isn't necessarily vintage).

    My advice for any finishing process is to experiment on scrap. Unfortunately you don't have any.
     
  8. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I wouldn’t do anything other than keep playing it and wearing it out. But that’s me.
     
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  9. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I 2nd that request.
     
  10. Kloun

    Kloun Tele-Holic

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    My understanding of Nitro is that it should "melt" in with a prior finish. In contrast, Poly finishes "cure" and harden into plastic. Nitro doesn't do that. Putting solvent on it, makes it runny again, spraying a new coat on top of an old coat and it "should" "melt" into the old finish.

    With that said, I personally wouldn't do it because there is a chance of screwing it up. And just because it is theoretically possible to do something doesn't mean that I could do it without screwing it up. I would like to see pics before recommending anyone do it, and even with pics I'd likely say just leave it alone.
     
  11. Telecasters84

    Telecasters84 Tele-Meister

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    upload_2021-4-15_20-25-59.gif
     
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  12. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey Tele-Meister

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    You have a solution in search of a problem.
     
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  13. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I would let it be. On one hand lacquer never dries it cures and this is a good attribute if doing a reshoot of the clear but you also need to take into consideration the fact the original clear is now dirty and can effect the new clear in many ways, you could end up with fish eyes due to residue either from all its years being played , or the cleaner you would use. Your hands have left oil that has soaked in to the lacquer over the years causing finger prints to show etc.. I am no means an expert in shooting lacquer but you would be better to do a refin of the clear if you were gonna over spray it. I have done base clear and single stage on both trucks and vans and as well as a couple guitars and it all boils down to proper preparation to get good results. So with my 3 cents tossed in I would listen to the gurus and leave it be.
     
  14. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I too have a ‘91 bullion gold LP Classic.

    As I understand it, the finish crazes because the wood expands and contracts at a different rate than the finish. Happens when a guitar experiences a change in temperature or humidity. Taking an instrument inside to a cool house after having been in a car trunk on a hot day. Or out of a warm venue on a cold winter night.

    My LP is kept in its case when not being played and I have been scrupulous about not exposing it to rapid changes in temperature.

    Because of the shinyness and smoothness of the finish on my LP I believe it is poly not nitro. I could be wrong. Advice from a luthier who has looked at your guitar would be useful.

    As above, likely better to leave guitar finish as is. Keep in mind some folks like well played or factory relic guitars.
     
  15. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    This is exactly the opposite of the truth:
    The solvents dry, that's it.
     
  16. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The solvents evaporate out is what I was tought, and the lacquer hardens but never cures, meaning that dry lacquer can be diluted to a liquid form by using the solvents that were originally in the blend, i.e. acetone, naphtha lacquer thinner, etc.
     
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  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Step, there are two kinds of finishes - evaporative and reactive. Evaporative finishes like shellac and lacquer "dry" - their solvents evaporate and leave a coating of whatever on the surface. Reactive finishes like all the various cross linking and poly and catalyzed finishes go thru some sort of chemical reaction (duh) and "cure". In general evaporative finishes can be softened with solvents (which is why one coat melts into another), reactive finishes do not - it usually takes a much more powerful solvent to soften them (if anything).
     
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  18. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Leave it alone. It's fine. The only thing you can do is make it look worse.
     
  19. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Still standing by for pics of it...
     
  20. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    True true
     
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