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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Ugh. Witness line on a guitar headstock. HELP!!!

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drksd4848

USA

Jul 29th, 2017 10:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OK, I'll try to make this simple:

Trying to put a 68-70 styled Headstock decal on a neck. I rushed it a little bit and I sanded right through part of the decal. I was left with no choice but to remove the rest. I used 220 grit sand paper to get rid of it.

When it was gone, I was left with a big ole' witness line (I think that's what it's called) in the shape of 69 Fender logo right on the headstock. I sprayed it with Minwax and it's still there - even worse!

In fact it looks like there is a bevel in the finish.

HELP!!! How can I fix this?!

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 12:28 PM, Jul 29th, 2017)

Doug McQuaid
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Austin, Texas

Jul 29th, 2017 12:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not sure what you mean by "Minwax" Minwax is a product line of various finishing products from penetrating oil to polyurethanes. Some will melt into the previous layers while others will not.

Head stocks are a small enough area that when I have trashed the decal, I used a cabinet scraper to take it back to flat and started over. But I always spray nitro on headstocks which melts into the previous layers. This might be different with something else.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 29th, 2017 01:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Minwax is actually nitro. I'm using their clear gloss lacquer aerosol. People have used it with good results from what I hear.

If I was to take the whole thing down to bare wood and start over, What sandpaper would be the best to use? Although, I'm hoping to avoid having doing this.



Peegoo
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Jul 29th, 2017 02:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Whenever removing finish to the wood, it's fastest and more precise than sanding to use a stripper.

The reason is that sandpaper can leave traces of the old finish in the wood.

If you originally used clear nitrocellulose lacquer, any new nitro you reapply will melt into the previous (old) finish--and that leaves no witness lines because there are no multiple layers of finish.

Sounds like something else is going on. Did you apply the waterslide decal directly on the bare wood before applying clearcoat? If you did, that will cause the problem you're describing. You should always apply a few thin coats (dry time between each) before you apply a waterslide decal.

Can you post a pic of what you have there? Snap a pic so the surface is reflecting the image of an overhead light source; that's the best way to examine finish defects.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 29th, 2017 03:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'll try to get a pic. It's tough to pull off because you don't necessarily see in the photos. Hopefully I can get the right reflection.

The wood was originally finished in the nitro and I applied the decal right on the top of that. I was originally using mohawk lacquer, but switched to minwax lacquer when I started to run out. I probably got a little overzealous with sanding. I started using 220 grit Because clear around to the decal was particularly stubborn. Anyway I'll get that pic to you.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 29th, 2017 07:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

And a link to the pic is down below. It came out pretty clear. After I sanded the decal and residue off with 220 grit I was left with that patch. I tried to sand the rest of the headstock to even it out. I thought I had it set, but when I shot it with lacquer, you can see the sanded spot didn't take.

My hunch is I have to strip every last bit of finish off, then seal it. But I'm not sure the best way to do this. Unless there is a way to fix what's there.

My handy work.

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 10:04 PM, Jul 29th, 2017)

Peegoo
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Jul 30th, 2017 08:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ahhh looks like there was a thin sanding sealer on the wood. It does appear there was no lacquer on the wood when the decal was applied...unless you sanded only the area of the decal to remove it. That also would explain the reason for the 'unfinished' look under the decal and how the wood soaked up your recent lacquer coats.

The proper way to fix this would be to sand (220) the entire face of the headstock using a wooden block behind the sandpaper. Get the entire area completely level, and then reapply the clear coats.

There really are no shortcuts or "cheats" to achieving a fine finish on wood.

Peegoo
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Jul 30th, 2017 08:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Also: that is a perfectly-done pic! It shows exactly what we needed to see.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 10:15 AM, Jul 30th, 2017)

drksd4848

USA

Jul 30th, 2017 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That's about the only thing I managed to do right on this!

I can tell you it was definitely finished when I put the decal on. Because it was a nitro coated musikraft neck. I think what really happened was I got a little overzealous with the 220 grit and put too much elbow grease in removing the decal, and not enough elbow grease into leveling the rest of the headstock. Hence, you get that nice 60s logo bare spot! Would I be able to use a stripper on this as well? Or stick to the 220 grit?

BTW, Peegoo. Thank you so much.

Peegoo
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Jul 30th, 2017 01:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you strip it, you'll probably have to do the entire neck because the stripper removes finish down to bare wood, and you'll probably end up with a snotty-looking edge around the sides of the headstock. That will just add to the problem you already have.

If that were mine to fix, I'd sand the finish off the face of the headstock, get the wood level, and re-coat it.

Get about three thin coats of nitro on there before you apply the new decal. No need to sand any of these preliminary coats.

Building up the topcoats takes a lot of time and a lot of coats (eight to 10 or more). The trick to leveling the finish around and over the decal is to initially block sand the decal only. Light pressure with 600-grit paper every other coat or so. Five to 10 passes with the block and no more--or you risk sanding through the decal.

That allows the surrounding layers to 'catch up' to level with the top of the decal.

Take your time. You cannot rush a great result.

This one took 12 coats of S-M aerosol nitro atop the decals.

Mick Reid
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Jul 30th, 2017 04:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The trick to levelling the finish around and over the decal is to initially block sand the decal only."

That's a great tip Peegoo, thanks.
I've encountered the "decal bump" in the past and consequently have just forgone custom decals in the last few neck finishing jobs.


FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Jul 30th, 2017 05:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Peegoo nails it. Also called a "layer line".

"Minwax is actually nitro. I'm using their clear gloss lacquer aerosol."

Do you have a link to what it is? Sometimes the woodworking world uses more colloquial general terms, and "lacquer" can mean any hard, sprayed finish sometimes, while in the guitar world it refers specifically to nitrocellulose.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 30th, 2017 08:28 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, that's what I've read from multiple sources. If you do a search for Minwax and nitro, you find quite a bit of information confirming it. Certainly, many of people prefer it over acrylic lacquer.

Am I 100% certain it is? No, but I can tell you it goes on much better than Valspar Lacquer, and is more readily available than Mohawk (what I'm using now) SM, Deft, etc.

My guess is that it *is* Nitro, but with catalysts and other things that help it dry quicker and keep it from yellowing, etc.



Peegoo
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Jul 30th, 2017 09:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It is.

The binder is

cellulose nitrate.

Peegoo
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Jul 30th, 2017 09:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The n-butyl acetate component is what gives nitrocellulose lacquer that sweet 'banana-like' smell.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 31st, 2017 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I suppose it would be a bad idea to use it as air freshener.

BTW Peegoo, Mohawk or Minwax... which one would you go with? I have them both.

Peegoo
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Jul 31st, 2017 04:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Minwax is 3.68% cellulose nitrate.

The Mohawk is 1.0-2.5% cellulose nitrate.


You'll get a faster build (that is what you want) with the Minwax because it has a higher percentage of solids than the Mohawk.

Mohawk lacquer (Gloss 80) SDS here.

drksd4848

USA

Jul 31st, 2017 09:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just sprayed my third coat of Minwax. It smells heavenly...

But, I'll tell ya, a couple of sniffs and that stuff will send you to Planet Zippy in no time.

Total aside: I remember as a kid I use to love the smell of Lacquer and leaded gasoline. Probably two of the worst things you could possibly breath. I suppose that would explain a lot



Peegoo
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Aug 1st, 2017 08:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Same here. I'll probably die early because of fumes...

drksd4848

USA

Aug 3rd, 2017 09:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've added coats of lacquer, sanded down, added three more coats. I would think that all the old finish was removed, but when I spray on the new finish I wind up with a layer line between the nut and the A string tuner hole

Now, check this out:

I've got what appears to be some sort of bevel and/or rounding at the edge of the headstock.

It looks worse in real life.

Are you sure using lacquer thinner on the face of the headstock to remove the finish is a bad idea?

There are certain spots I just can't seem get the old finish off, and then parts where I basically round off the edge. Ugh.

External link

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 11:34 PM, Aug 3rd, 2017)

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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Ugh. Witness line on a guitar headstock. HELP!!!




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