Gibson 'Faded' Finishes

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by THRobinson, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. THRobinson

    THRobinson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2020
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    I have a '61 Reissue I'm working on, Epiphone, but solid not a veneer, neck binding etc. Needs a neck reset and all new hardware.

    Right now, I'm looking at the finish. Mine's a bit off. It looks like someone added a few layers of ??? to it. Maybe shellac? No idea what they were thinking, maybe they hated the faded look and wanted glossy? Still satin but drip marks all over. I'm looking to strip it this week.

    Looking at photos of how it should look... it's a very very thin finish and can see some grain through the finish as well. I was thinking of using a can of Oxford sealer, then their mahogany nitro then satin nitro... but given how thin it is and the visible grain, I thought I'd look for some advice. Until now, I've only ever used solid colours and 2K glossy clear on guitars so not much experience with these finishes.

    I'm thinking no grain filler, no sealer coat. Just use the tinted nitro to get the colour, then a few layers of satin nitro, wet sand, few more coats, sand again?

    Gibson always uses Nitro, right? They never do oil finishes do they?

    Other option I was thinking was to stain the guitar and use something like Velvit Oil, or Tung Oil... build up a few layers wetsanding each layer until it builds up a bit but stays satin/matte. Maybe stain it very dark brown first and sand off the excess to help the grain stand out?

    Any advice?

    Again, never worked with stains, or translucent finishes... really don't want to mess this up.

    OXFORD Mahogany Nitro

    [​IMG]
     
  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,739
    Likes Received:
    4,629
    Faded = Satin finish with unfilled grain.

    Pictured below are two Satin finishes, one with unfilled grain and one with filled grain.

    [​IMG]

    Whether the finish is a solid color or translucent finish (grain visible through the color), I prefer the grain to be filled and leveled prior to applying the top clear coat (Satin or Gloss).

    Pictured below is what started as an SG Special Faded Worn Yellow with unfilled grain and was refinished to a Gloss Aged TV White with the grain filled. The grain is visible through the color, but filled and leveled, which IMO makes for a smoother playing experience.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  3. THRobinson

    THRobinson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2020
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ya, I don't want that... I'm looking to do what's in the photo, open pore and minimal gloss. I have an Ibanez Artcore Acoustic and absolutely love the feel of it and the look.... and the lack of fingerprints. :D

    Using car paints/finishes, I've done a handful of them so far and have another 4 on my bench waiting to be sprayed. I find those to be easy because the clear is so thick you can sand it down as much as needed to get it level, and polishing takes time but super easy.

    Translucent though... my concern is that I'll barely have any open pores by the time I get enough coloured nitro layered up for the colour I want, plus a few light coats of satin clear. Sadly, I've tried 3 forums and not gotten more than 2 replies. Forums are good for a lot of things, but, not finishes. I've tried before for paint codes for vintage colours like Fender colours on a Fender forum, and nothing. Woulda thought people restoring those would have a list of paint codes by now. Ah well.

    Plan is

    - Stain very lightly with very dark brown, drop of black and sand it back
    - Spray with the Oxford Mahogany Nitro for colour
    - Spray with Oxford Satin Clear Nitro, then steel wool/scotch-brite pad it down then just dust it with with a few layers and sand it back again lightly

    From my understanding, it may take months but the nitro will go into the pores. My only concern is, how well did they fill the pores at the factory and if sanding with get them un-filled.

    Next restoration project will also be nitro... 1970 Hagstrom Swede. Someone sanded it down and removed the cherry red poly finish and paint brushed on shellac. That needs re-sanded again and then pores filled, then sealer, then layers of heritage cherry, then a few cans of clear. Let it sit a month or so, then level sand and polish it. More layers but straight forward. Need my shop done first though, because it needs a lot more work done, replacing binding and such.
     
  4. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    613
    Location:
    Sweden
    I've only done clear coats but what you propose makes sense.
     
  5. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,739
    Likes Received:
    4,629
    I had a solid color ebony gloss finish stripped, then grain filled back and leveled followed by a clear gloss coat. That is about as extreme as you can get with having to remove the original finish from the pores of the grain.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    296
    I would wet sand it with very fine paper to get the drip marks out and leave it be. :yesway:
     
  7. THRobinson

    THRobinson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2020
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    Has enough damage that sanding down to wood is just easier than sanding, spot filling, trying to match the finish in other spots, etc

    Anyways... Not interested in glossy, not interested in grain filled, just looking for info about open pore... If I need to do anything special.
     
  8. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,208
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Kelowna B.C.
    Sand it, blow it out with compressed air thoroughly, wipe with acetone, stain, seal, light sand, then clear coat.
     
    THRobinson likes this.
  9. sazista

    sazista Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2015
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    240
    There might not be enough people with this expertise here on this forum, so maybe join this group: (Electric Guitar Paint Stain And Finishing Group) on FB
     
    THRobinson likes this.
  10. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,208
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Kelowna B.C.
    Open pore finishes are easier than grain filled for the simple fact that you avoid the filling, dry time and sanding of the filler. Once it's stained you give it a quick scuff with fine sandpaper or scotchbrite to knock down the raised grain and apply your clear coat.
    I have done cabinet finishing in my past on luxury yachts an have finished several guitars.
    No grain fill on this guitar but I built up the clear to fill the pores then wet sanded and buffed. I also used 2 cans of beets to stain it! FB_IMG_1623695342227.jpg
     
    papagayo likes this.
  11. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,208
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Kelowna B.C.
    Also, make sure all you chemicals ie. sealer and stain and lacquer are compatible. You don't want the finish to wrinkle. Ask me how I know!
     
  12. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,685
    Likes Received:
    1,535
    You can use a PRO wax for vintage mahogany furniture, the result is nice and strong.

    [​IMG]


    My 2004 SG Special Faded :

    SG Faded 13.jpg

    SG Faded 103.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  13. THRobinson

    THRobinson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2020
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    So... you're suggesting stain, sand, clear nitro?

    That's where I was debating... because the colour I want they have as a nitro rattle can. Build up a few layers to get the right colour, then apply satin clear. But, never having used their product before, no idea how many layers are needed for colour... 1-3? 10-12?

    Also, does nitro need a sealer or anything else to stick to wood properly? or, since open pore, sand down to 300-400grit and give it a spray? Maybe thin the first coat or two to get the fibres up?
     

Share This Page