Refinishing a vintage SG

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by beerbelly, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. beerbelly

    beerbelly Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes the serial number is ink-stamped lightly (like mine), but often they are stamped deeply into the wood with a machine. I don't know which yours is, but if it's ink-stamped, I'd be wary of using any CitriStrip on it. That's why I masked mine at first. I think in that area, careful sanding might be the better choice.
     
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  2. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    I think this is ink. To the touch it's very slightly raised. Not a depression. I think some very light sanding is the way to go.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    And that was the 'cheap' Gibson model line back in the day! At the very least Gibson was still using good wood back then & hadn't yet devolved into the multi 4-5 piece body 'cheap' models of recent past. Their woodwork, assembly & fretwork was outstanding. Even the finishes were as good as the more expensive models (no fadeds etc etc). The big differences in real value mostly was the hardware & electronics that were truly cheaper in a real sense.

    But as you can see all stripped down Gibson was still putting out very solid guitars. OK, I could argue the rather straight neck angle approach but I'll save that for another day.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  4. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    Agree. This one has a two piece body. Very well made, but ya that straight neck? I actually like the thickness of the body. It’s different in a good way.
     
  5. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Ya man. And I don't know if I mentioned it here but I do talk frequently about my 71 Deluxe having a nice thick body & sturdy as hell neck joint that feels more like a Les Paul than a typical SG & I absolutely LUV that guitar!
    [​IMG]
    I tell ya, if it wasn't for that neck angle & funky hardware like the control panel / plating they experimented with (actually the pre-assembled control panel made great sense [ala Fender] but folks couldn't handle the visual change) there would be little meaningful complaint to bitch about other than silly $hit like bevels! and we all know how great those bevels sound & how much easier they make a guitar to play. riiiiii-ght..
     
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  6. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    Absolutely. But I was kinda like that at first too. But the price on this (with no structural damage) was right. Glad I did. It’s a super nice instrument. And kinda rare. I like the body thickness. And this one has that long narrow control cavity. I may try to fashion an Alder wood cover for it so it’s stained the same as the body. Will see. I have a long way to go on this yet.
     
  7. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    So I figured out a way to decay the finish to a sorta gummy state using citristrip without destroying the ink serial. The serial is slightly depressed into the wood. But not much. And I did very slightly lose some ink but didn’t sand.

    I took 3m painters edge-lock tape (blue stuff) and covered the serial completely. I then covered the tape with the citristrip. Left it for 2 -3 hours. Then removed the tape. The stripper seeped through the tape just enough to gum it up. I took a razor blade and just carefully scraped it off little by little. Widdling it away scraping it with the blade at a 45deg angle. And scraping on an angle. Took a little time.

    Then I took some hand cleaner Goop on a wet towel and rubbed on it to get the stickiness off. After that took a qtip with citristrip and poked in and around the serial and made in USA. Eventually got it all off.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  8. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Nicely done ! Looks like it was just printed.
     
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  9. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Not bad a'tall. Certainly a big step above a whole lot of serial number eraser jobs we've seen or the untouched serial # block look.

    You get a Dio award.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    I’ll take that Dio award! I’d like to thank my mom dad and beerbelly. I could not have done it without them.:rofl:

    I’m a huge Dio fan btw. \m/
     
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  11. beerbelly

    beerbelly Well-Known Member

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    Great job 515!
     
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  12. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Very well done, 515who... :yesway:
     
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  13. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    It was actually an oversight that I left the citristrip on the masking tape. I meant to wipe it off the tape and forgot. So when I removed it the finish was literally gummy. It came off very easy. Just took my time not to scratch the wood.

    This is definitely a new found hobby. Thx for all the info here.
     
  14. beerbelly

    beerbelly Well-Known Member

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    I bet you're already thinking of the next one...
     
  15. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    I am. Lol but actually i have a few I might finish before the SG. I would rather experiment on those before this.

    I’m now looking at the headstock logo and I need to do a small repair to the outer “wing” closest to the camera. So I have to strip the face of the headstock. I would like to save the logo. I’m strategizing now how to tackle this. Either just strip it and put a repro logo on or isolate the logo, retouch the gold on the “n” and respray black and just build it up so the blacks meet.

    But again I would rather experiment first on a chibson LP I bought to do this sorta thing. I don’t want to mess up this 72.
     
  16. beerbelly

    beerbelly Well-Known Member

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    Touching up any metallic ink/paint is rarely successful; you probably will be able to see it, and you can't "unsee" it. I believe these logos were silkscreened on the black headstock, and that might be an option for you. Most sign shops or T shirt shops can silkscreen. Other options might be a water slide decal or a vinyl one. If you're going to cover with nitro lacquer, make sure the materials are compatible.

    The wood repair should be relatively easy; just make sure the mating surfaces are nice & flat. Cut your repair piece larger than needed, then file/sand it down to size.
     
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  17. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if you look closely under a bright light, that’s how they do it, waterslide decal, then clear coat over it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  18. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    Great advice. I’m going to look into the silk screening. I would prefer to do it that way. Will see.

    The repair is minimal but I’ve never done it before. I’ll take your advice and I’m sure it will look great. Just so long I don’t rush it. Ty!
     
  19. 515who

    515who Active Member

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    Ya that’s what mine looks like. It’s just not pretty like yours. :D
     
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  20. beerbelly

    beerbelly Well-Known Member

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    Wood repair is cake compared to refinishing; trust me. Here are a few photos of a Gibson Moderne I built, using a neck from BYO Guitar. Flat mating surface, Titebond glue, clamps, files and sandpaper is all you need.

    Gumby wings.jpg glued wings.jpg Gumby outline.jpg Gumby roughcut.jpg Gumby shape done.jpg string guides.jpg Moderne front.jpg
     

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