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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Check this out!

Therealfrogman
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Pueblo, Co

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Mar 13th, 2019 05:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know that severe changes in temperature are the reason that lacquer finishes check and was the original issues with early Fender guitars being delivered "checked" when shipped to cold climates.

This issue was considered when they switched over to poly which is much more durable. I have a small collection of 79 vintage lacquer finished guitars built by a non-fender company and would like to attempt checking by sticking them in a stand up freezer for a time.

I know this works with current lacquer formulas (quite well actually) the only consideration I have to be concerned with is the lacquer (nitro) formulation having anything to do with the result and not knowing if the finish is actually "Nitro" or just Lacquer.

The finishes have been hardening for almost 40 years leads me to believe that they will not get much harder ;) In particular I have a tobacco SB that will not check naturally in my lifetime and would like to persuade it a little. I will never whip out a razor blade or anything sharp.

What are your thoughts or ideas about trying this? I am not raising the "Relicing" issue and can prove it by taking a lie detector test (at your cost).

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 13th, 2019 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Checking a finish like this is a crapshoot because you're not in the freezer to monitor the checking's progress. It can 'run away' and become excessive. A walk-in freezer is way better.

jesse1d

canada

Mar 15th, 2019 02:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

A walk in freezer, dude that's brilliant!

In the electronics repair industry people use cans of air called "Freeze" which blow super cold frosty air used to troubleshoot overheating components. Also if you turn regular cans of air upside down and spray you get similar results. You could try this as a method to "check" the lacquer finish. It would allow more control over where and how much checking occurs.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 15th, 2019 03:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've done the freeze spray and it too is hard to control because it goes on in a round 'puddle'. The center of the puddle checks more than the periphery, so unless you are very very careful, you'll end up with what looks like a sponge-print faux finish (repeating pattern).

The trick with cracking a finish is to flash freeze the finish layer before the wood below gets cold. That's what causes the finish to shrink just a teensy bit and rip apart...it moves so fast the wood can't keep up. Sounds brutal, but that's how it works.

Best way to do it is to have it in the case in a warm car. Take the guitar into the freezer, still in the case. Open the case, lift it out fast, and wave the guitar around to keep cold air against the finish. It takes about 20 seconds for things to stabilize. Sometimes it takes several iterations of this.

You can do this with a bare body too, but the most authentic check is achieved with the guitar assembled, because that is how it checks over time.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 05:15 PM, Mar 15th, 2019)

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 15th, 2019 10:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've had success using upside-down air dusters, but I keep the spray moving at all times, never dwelling in one spot.

Modern lacquers often contain plasticizers which make the finish stretchier and more resistant to checking, so you may encounter that.

Peegoo is dead on in saying that the checking happens in the first minute or so of the transition from warm to cold, when the outside layer is shrinking rapidly and the inside can't keep up. Keeping the guitar or body in a freezer for a long period is just a waste of time, better to warm it back up again and repeat the process.

Therealfrogman
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Mar 16th, 2019 08:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the opines. I have used the duster can and found it to be a labor-a-thon. I will go through my contacts and try to find a friend with a walk in freezer. I could wait til winter rolls around next year and just keep it warm inside and take it outside a few times.

We have not had any real cold weather this winter...

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 16th, 2019 10:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I could wait til winter rolls around next year and just keep it warm inside and take it outside a few times."

That will do it too!


FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Check this out!




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