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Burberry plaid fabric bass thread

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pklima, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. pklima

    pklima

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    As some of you know, I've wanted a Burberry plaid Precision for over a year. I tried getting one covered in vinyl last year, but that didn't work out. It did look very promising for a while, though:

    [​IMG]

    Now I want to try again, using this method instead: http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/mat.htm

    I know that doing a plaid pattern ups the degree of difficulty greatly, because if anything is not straight it will become immediately obvious. The body does have forearm and belly contours. I'm definitely not gonna attempt a 360 degree wrap and will paint a burst over the sides instead.

    I have most of the parts - black Precision body from a Squier, a maple/rosewood neck with an Ibanez-shaped headstock that fits the body, 1-ply black pickguard. I also bought a cheap secondhand Burberry shirt on Ebay. I will have it in my hands next Sunday. This is the pattern, though I'm not sure if the picture will work:

    [​IMG]

    So, I have a week to do some prep work. What should I do with the body and the headstock (which I also plan to match)? Should I just scrape them a bit with some 320ish sandpaper, or strip the finish completely? How many gallons of filler should I plan on this fabric soaking up?

    I've never quite done anything like this - I've made a few basses including cutting, sanding and finishing the bodies, but I've never done anything with fabric that was more complicated than patching a hole.

    On the bright side, at least I realized quickly that my original idea of a fake Louis Vuitton bag for my double bass was not practical.
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking an epoxy would work best for what your trying to do. Fiberglass resin would also work, but I'm not sure how clear it is, and how your pattern would look through it. So something like Mirror Coat would be your best bet.

    Stretch the fabric over the body and headstock using a good spray adhesive to stick it down. Then brush your epoxy over the top of it.
  3. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

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    If you stick the fabric on with anything else than epoxy, it may be a good idea to make a test piece to make sure that the adhesive can cope with the epoxy. And also to make sure that the epoxy doesn't dissolve the colors in the fabric.
  4. pklima

    pklima

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    Will definitely do some testing with scraps of fabric first... see how much glue to use so it sticks but doesn't soak through, see how much time I have to stretch and straighten things before the glue sticks etc.

    I do need to do a good, durable finish on this to protect it from me - I sweat like a pig on stage.
  5. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

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    I think You'll have problem stretching the fabric, though. Maybe coat the top and bottom of the body and do a "sunburst". (Fade to black or blue around the edges.)

    If you saturate the fabric in epoxy you won't really need a finish on top of that.
  6. sbassface

    sbassface

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    This is Great!
  7. pklima

    pklima

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    Yes, absolutely, definitely will do a sunburst, either black or navy blue. That will be a lot easier than trying to make the whole body plaid 360 degrees around. So really the only place where I'll need to stretch the fabric will be the belly contour on the back.

    I haven't done an epoxy finish before, just used epoxy glue... I'm guessing it can't be too difficult, but I should avoid pourable self-leveling epoxy?
  8. pklima

    pklima

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    OK, I finally have the shirt in my hands and started cutting.

    [​IMG]

    Not having done this before, I want to maximize my odds of getting away with mistakes. The plaid pattern will make it obvious if anything is crooked or not aligned, though, so after much thought I decided to put the plaid at an angle on the front, which will make the riders horizontal. I figure that's my best shot at getting away with imperfect alignment, and it also leaves enough material from the back of the shirt to try all over again if I mess up totally.

    [​IMG]

    Not sure what to do with the pickguard, though. The bathtub route means I can't just do a control plate, and the black plastic one I got doesn't look that nice.

    [​IMG]

    So, maybe something like this?

    [​IMG]
  9. ThaLowEndTheory

    ThaLowEndTheory

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    Most of the guys I know who have done fabric finishes use modge podge glue to attach and and seal the body. Just scuff sand the body. Apply a layer to the body then apply the fabric. Squegee out any air pockets with a credit card or similar object until all is flat. Once it dries apply it to the fabric itself. You can apply more to build it up and sand sand flat, or you can just top coat with clear. I've used lacquer over modge podge on my whiskey label bass, but it's still a good idea to test on scrap first to make sure you don't have any issues.

    [​IMG]
  10. pklima

    pklima

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    Thanks, do you have a link to the whiskey bass? I'd definitely like to see that...

    I have a bottle of Polish polymer-based glue which dries in 30 minutes - that should work as glue, but I'm not sure about using it on top of the fabric also. I'll do a test on a scrap, anyway. Generally I won't be able to get the nicer quality glues and paints that are sold in Western countries, but I'm sure I'll be able to get something that works.
  11. ThaLowEndTheory

    ThaLowEndTheory

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    It hasn't been assembled yet. I still have to wetsand and polish it. I've been working on a couple of other projects also, so it's slow going.
  12. pklima

    pklima

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    The picture looks great. I'm hoping mine doesn't take forever, I'm putting these pictures up on Facebook and there are already girls liking them, offering advice and so on. A great way to build hype for a band, but I need to get this bass show-ready before they get bored. Is some gig in February realistic?

    Well, the top fabric is now glued to the body. I've managed to leave a couple of dusty fingerprints on it, need to brush those or get rid of them somehow before I seal it.

    I also did a couple of tests on scrap pieces. The glue holds, does not dissolve the print, but is not suitable for covering the top of the fabric - too dense and sticky to leave anything close to an even surface. So, still not sure what to seal it with.

    I've read up on epoxy finishes and they seem kinda complicated and risky. I could also try to thin this glue out with alcohol, but that would probably take trial and error on scraps to get the mix right. Polyurethane-based sealer is at the top of my list right now - unless somebody convinces me otherwise I can buy some tomorrow. The finish on the body is presumably poly, so my thinking is if I use a poly sealer then I can easily find a paint to spray the burst which will work over both the sides and the top.
  13. ThaLowEndTheory

    ThaLowEndTheory

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    The modge podge glue I was referring to is essentially a type of elmer's glue, like the stuff kids use in elementary schools for art projects. I buy it at art supply stores. People use it to apply over paintings or puzzles they want to protect. It can be sanded flat and even polishes up decently. It comes in gloss or matte. It is not very durable though. You may be able to find something similar. A poly product may work. Something like polycrylic from Minwax. Lots of guys also use lacquer based sanding sealer to seal the fabric and build a thin base that can be top coated. It works, but it's not quick, and your top coat would need to be compatible with lacquer to work. If you want quick try to find a similar glue to modge podge, or try out some type of poly that will cure quickly. I'd make a couple of test pieces. Maybe like 3" or 4" squares and try the glue(if you can find one) on one, and try the poly on the other.
  14. pklima

    pklima

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    I'm doing some scraps, just tried thinning down some wood glue I have which should dry clear. If it looks great I'll use it, if not I'll buy poly filler tomorrow.

    Headstock is now also covered, I put the plaid at roughly the same angle but aligned it so that there will be no riders on the head, only squares. Once it's finished, I'm thinking about sticking the tag from the shirt on it roughly here:

    [​IMG]

    The 17-43 size and MADE IN THE UK part of the tag I will probably leave out.
  15. pklima

    pklima

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    LOL, first major screwup is now out of the way.

    I got overzealous with the sanding after the first coat of sealer and basically sanded off the print where it wasn't completely level and glued down. I'm gonna have to rip the whole thing off and start over, but I have enough material to do that.

    For now, though, I'm gonna keep going - do a few more coats of sealer until I completely bury the grain of the fibers, sand that, and spray the burst around the edges. I figure that will be good practice, I'll probably learn from a few more screwups, and then start over.
  16. pklima

    pklima

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    This is how things are looking now. Maybe not as disastrous as I thought right after the sanding, but I know I could do this so much better.

    [​IMG]
  17. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    That looks good, but I would go with an uncovered pick guard
  18. pklima

    pklima

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    I kinda agree with the pickguard - it would look best with a blue mirror one, I think.

    The one I have is pretty cheap-looking and not very shiny, though, so I figured I'll get more practice at this stuff if I cover the pickguard also. First I tried doing it with a piece of fabric which I had soaked in bleach first. It looked pretty nice until I tried to seal it, and then it turned all blotchy. Interesting because I tried it with a scrap earlier and that turned out decent. Oh well.
  19. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I think a regular black pick guard would look sharp.
  20. ThaLowEndTheory

    ThaLowEndTheory

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    Looks like it's coming along well. Looking forward to seeing this completed.

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