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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Koa
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I have a historic R8 I'm refinishing and am looking for help regarding the best way to fill some dings. I've already tried steaming them out and they're as good as they're going to get. I plan on using ColorTone stain for the burst. Should I stain first and then drop fill the dings with CA before topcoats, or should I fill the dings with something that will accept the stain, and then apply stain followed by topcoat?

Question 2, what's a good technique to paint the headstock black without leaving a ledge around the Gibson logo if I tape it off? I'm afraid if I tape off the logo and then spray, there will be a noticeable ledge when I take the tape off and spray the topcoat. Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:26 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Not an electric guitar professional, but isn't that dinged area solid to the back part of the body (mahogany?)? I would be tempted to sand out the dings and re-contour the area. Not something I could ever do with an F5 mandolin, but in this case, the best option. There ought to be plenty of maple there. I see no way to hide that damage with any kind of filler...
As far as that "ugliest inlay job I've ever seen", on old Gibson mandolins, the black was sprayed and then the inlay was scraped clean.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Koa
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Haans wrote:
Not an electric guitar professional, but isn't that dinged area solid to the back part of the body (mahogany?)? I would be tempted to sand out the dings and re-contour the area. Not something I could ever do with an F5 mandolin, but in this case, the best option. There ought to be plenty of maple there. I see no way to hide that damage with any kind of filler...
As far as that "ugliest inlay job I've ever seen", on old Gibson mandolins, the black was sprayed and then the inlay was scraped clean.


Good point about sanding it down, I guess I didn't really consider that thinking I might ruin the character of a Les Paul, however I think the original Les Pauls had a less pronounced contour anyhow. So on the mandolins, after scraping are you able to detect a visible ledge?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:03 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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I also am not an expert here but I have built a few Gibson style instruments and experimented with finishing. First, I would try to sand out the dings - any filler will show under your 'burst and clear coats. Second, as you know, there are at least two ways to do 'bursts - you can stain the wood and apply clear over it, seal the wood and shoot the 'burst as the first few coats and then clear, or do both. They have different results - applying the stain directly to the wood will pop the grain and usually look deeper but it can be hard to control. Applying the color in the lacquer itself is much easier and if you screw up it is pretty easy to sand back. I have had acceptable results applying a stain designed to pop the figure, sealing that and then doing my burst in the lacquer, followed by clear. Gibson has used different variations on this thru the years - maybe Brian would comment.

You will also have the decision about whether to mask or scrape binding, this goes along with your head logo question. If you apply too many color coats before you scrape or pull the tape you will get a ledge - subsequent clear will at least partially reduce that. Again I have had acceptable results just scraping back and shooting the clear.

I was asked to add a pearl headstock inlay to a guitar with a black headplate. I sanded all the old finish off, inlayed the pearl, shot a couple of coats of vinyl sealer, then black, scraped back and then 6 or 8 or so coats of clear. Color sanding and buffed as usual - you can't see the edges.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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John, I doubt seriously that a couple of coats of black will leave much of a ridge. Easily leveled after clear coats. I used ebony for headplates on mandolins, so had no problem there...I guess the originals had dyed pear.
All my sunburst experience (over 250) has been direct sunburst on wood with Trans-Tint and a water base. They were all airbrushed over yellow or amber. My "Cremona mix" was a combo of TT medium brown, red and brown mahogany and a little black in water. Don't know if Les Paul's were Cremona...
I would bet Gibson tinted the lacquer on 'lectric guitars rather than do the mandolin thing.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Koa
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Thanks all, excellent advice all around. I think I have a clear path forward now. Will post some pics of the finished product. Cheers!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:58 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
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John, I don't know what effect you are trying to get on your finish but this was an attempt at the kind of "ice tea" 'burst that you would find on one of the classic 1959 Lesters. I wiped a dark alcohol based stain directly on the wood, then sanded most of it back. That brought out the flame and grain. I then put an amber stain directly over that, again, into the wood, followed by the sealer. A few coats of amber lacquer, then I started adding a drop or two of brown into the amber lacquer and sprayed the 'burst (and the back). Clear on that - in this picture I'm not quite done buffing (but I didn't buff to as high a gloss as I would on a "modern" guitar.

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As with any finish, experiment on scrap of the same wood


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