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Headstock finishing advice

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by sparky88, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. sparky88

    sparky88 Strat-Talker

    247
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oxford, UK
    123AAB97-BADC-41E2-8540-3D9A64457668.jpeg 351C3AE4-C4FE-4C47-B641-CECC97880C82.jpeg
    Hi everyone,

    I’ve finally gotten around to sorting out the finish on one of my strat’s headstocks.

    It needed a new decal so I sprayed a few light layers of lacquer, applied decal, and then sealed with a few extra passes of lacquer.

    I’ve been wet sanding today to get rid of orange peel and I’ve gotten most of it pretty good, but there’s an area where it’s almost like there’s a ‘step’, then it goes into another step and the wood has changed colour.

    I really don’t know how it happened as I’ve been really careful sanding with a block to keep it level, so I’ve no idea how this happened!

    I can’t sand any more as it’s right on the edge of going through the decal... so am I right in thinking the best thing I can do is add a few more passes of lacquer to build it up again, then sand flat?

    Apart from that area the finish is pretty good!

    Cheers
     

  2. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    You are correct, layer more lacquer on before sanding again.

    Maybe the edge of the block is "biting" in?

    I use sponge backed 600, 800 and 1200 grit for sanding lacquer on small areas.
     
    Bodean likes this.

  3. jayoldschool

    jayoldschool Mod Admin Staff Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    Canada
    Admin Post
    You've sanded through the clear above the "D" in Fender. You may save it with more clear, then blocking again, but it may have to go down to bare wood, new decal. What grit did you start with? Block? Wet?
     

  4. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-Talker

    476
    Sep 8, 2015
    Eden Prairie
    It's actually a little odd that the sand-through area has such a defined step. Usually the transition would be smooth and very gradual because you did it by sanding a little too far. Is there any chance the lacquer wasn't fully dry, and was gumming up on your sandpaper as you sanded? It almost seems like it wasn't adhering well to the low spot.
    Honestly, I think I would take it all the way done and restart if that's possible. Obviously that would sacrifice a logo decal.
     
    Bodean likes this.

  5. Bodean

    Bodean Rock N Roll Ain't Noise Pollution Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Aug 23, 2014
    South Carolina
    Something didn't go right, it is even wonky around the peg holes.
     

  6. sparky88

    sparky88 Strat-Talker

    247
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oxford, UK
    5010E6AF-A576-41DA-8DA6-1AE9425C11D9.jpeg Okay, so returning to it in daylight I don’t think it looks so bad...

    But I do want to get rid of that lighter patch.

    If I were to spray more clear on would it effectively “seal in” the lighter patch? Or fill it in?

    I am using just a generic clear lacquer from a car paint shop, not tinted.
     

  7. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    If you sanded it to bare wood, lacquered it and then sanded through, applying more lacquer is going to cover it up.

    Lacquer melts into itself and becomes one like adding water to a glass. You can build it high enuff so when you level it it will all be flat as glass.

    But if there was a sealer applied first then lacquer and you sanded through it and just add more lacquer over the top it will show the sanded through spot. To avoid that you will need to strip the whole thing and start over.
     

  8. gibsonsmu

    gibsonsmu Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2015
    Texas
    You don't have to sand very much at all - if you are getting divots it's way too hard. You're just trying to knock it flat and scuff it up. It looks like you had a corner or something digging in there from an angle. Build up more layers then just knock it flat and polish it up
     

  9. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014
    LAS VEGAS , NV
    Overall, it looks like it was not sanded enough before the application of the initial coats of lacquer and subsequent application of the decal. I also suspect that the surface was not properly cleaned with naphtha, or similar, before applying the finish. This is likely causing what appears to be "adhesion" issues near the tuner holes and elsewhere.
    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     

  10. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    53
    187
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    +1
    Trying to fix that, will only make it worse.
    Personally, I would probably leave it, as it looks like it is a "reliced" guitar anyway.
     

  11. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    35
    842
    Jan 17, 2016
    Ecuador
    Maybe take it to a guy to refinish? I had a pretty similar problem and started to loose some really small parts of the original decal. I’m into relicing but I didn’t want to loose the decal so the guy did a good job in sanding it and refinishing...
     

  12. Smelf36

    Smelf36 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    48
    125
    Jul 17, 2016
    UK
    I would start again, really good sand through the grits, seal it, a good few coats of a quality nitro lacquer add a new decal and then more lacquer. then leave it for a long time (couple of weeks) then gently wet sand (gently through to high grit- 1500 or 2000 to finish)until you have a uniform Matt surface then buff
     

  13. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014
    LAS VEGAS , NV
    Great tips, but most forget the reminder of how CLEAN the surface must be, along with being free from all dust, oils, silicones and contaminants. Never use rags washed with fabric softeners! The last operation before applying finish should be a careful, thorough and judicious wipe down with naphtha! Any finish job will only be as good as the prep!
    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     
    Thrup'ny Bit likes this.

  14. sparky88

    sparky88 Strat-Talker

    247
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oxford, UK
    Thanks everyone.

    I managed to salvage it by spraying a few more coats of clear and then sanding flat. Will likely get it re-done professionally with new decal soon but my temporary job will do in the meantime.