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78 Gibson Grabber Refinish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dbhokie, May 31, 2011.


  1. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    I recently acquired a 78 Gibson Grabber and started refinishing it. I am refinishing it for myself as I never plan on getting rid of it. It came very roadworn, with a lot of deep scratches and gouges in the white paint. I am going to keep all the hardware, refinish the body, the neck, refret it, remove the rust from the hardware, buff it, refinish the plastic, clean all the electronics and put it back together.

    EDIT: I was having a problem finding the sharable link on Flickr, here are the pics.

    78 Gibson Grabber Refinish - a set on


    5781175688_e0ea26c0b9.


    5780627633_73e1c494cf.
    Before by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5781176106_0ab1e23cc7.
    Before by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780628457_b735d1d89a.
    Before by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780628295_43f7560f3a.
    Before by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5781177194_f1676af2e1.
    Lots of dings by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780629417_a73ce95bcc.
    Before by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780629601_302e1ec031.
    Initial Paint removal and first sand by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780629867_813b5eb42f.
    Initial Paint removal and first sand by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5781178176_b80c480284.
    After Sanding Sealer by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780630243_f8eeb8011e.
    After Sanding Sealer by dbhokie, on Flickr

    5780630427_59b990fb1f.
    After Sanding Sealer by dbhokie, on Flickr
     
  2. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    I realize I don't have the photos here, but if you check the flickr link they are there.

    I started out by applying Kleen stripper to the bass, I went through about five rounds of this with a toothpick, scraper, nylon brushes, and a roll of paper towels. After getting it almost totally down to bare wood, I sanded with 120, 220, 320, 400, and 600. Between each sanding I wiped it down with a tack cloth wet with mineral spirits. I then applied sanding sealer and wet sanded with 600
     
  3. BassCycle

    BassCycle

    Jan 6, 2006
    Temecula, CA
    Builder: Classic Bass Works
    You can post as many images as you like by linking directly to the images in you flicker account. You just need to click the "Insert Image" icon and paste the url for you image into it. Your flicker account seems to hide the image url somewhere.
     
  4. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    Alright, fixed now.

    EDIT: I plan to next apply Tung Oil, wait 24 hours, wet sand 600

    Apply Tung oil, wait, sand 1200

    Apply Tung oil, wait, sand 2000

    Rinse and repeat again and again until I get desired finish.

    I am reconditioning the plastic now as well, I'll post pics soon. I have removed all the frets on the fretboard and am stripping it down as well.

    What is a topcoat that I can apply over tungoil to protect, or just keep adding more and more tung oil?
     
  5. BassCycle

    BassCycle

    Jan 6, 2006
    Temecula, CA
    Builder: Classic Bass Works
    Grabber, that's the one with the sliding pickup, right? What a cool concept. Slide the pickup into your desired sweet spot. I'm suprised no one else has done that. I played one back in the day. They sound pretty cool.
     
  6. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    It is, and suprisingly it really does give you a lot of tone adjustment due to that, not to mention you can adjust it for style of playing and move it a bit more towards the bridge for slap etc.
     
  7. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    But I really have been looking around and failed to find, I like the Tung Oil thus far, but will it be hard enough as a finish by itself? Do I need to put something else over it? Should I use Tru-Oil for the final couple coats? Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Also, I have defretted my neck, should I use a laquer reducer or stripper, or just sand down lightly until at wood?

    Since the fretboard is slightly grooved, I would guess I should run over that with a radius sanding block to make sure I don't screw up the radius?

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to repaint the logo after I sand it off the headstock? Does a manufacturer have stencils for that sort of thing?
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Try Watco Danish oil for a finish. If you get enough coats on it forms a nice hard finish. Similar to Tru-Oil, but easier to work with. You really didn't need sanding sealer, and hopefully you wont have adhesion problems.

    Leave the front of the headstock alone. You wont find any Gibson decals. If it's dinged up, touch up the dings and then wet sand it smooth with some 600 grit and then spray some clear over it. You can get some rattle can lacquer from Stew-Mac or from many paint stores.

    Are you planning on leaving it fretless, or are you going to refret the neck?
     
  9. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    My original intent was to fret the neck. I am open to making it fretless, as I don't have a fretless bass at current.

    The frets came out easily and there were no chunks out of the board, the board is a bit grooved, as I think you can see above so it will have to be sanded down some regardless.

    I figured I would try to refinish it and then seat the new frets and trim them, though I may have to score through the finish to get back to the original cuts to hit the frets into.

    It seems to be adhering well so far, I suppose since I used an oil I should have just let it soak into the wood...was this a bad enough mistake to resand and restart?

    I have read through the hack-defret tutorial, and I appreciate the wealth of knowledge so many of you have to offer, but if I were to make it fretless I am not sure what sandable filler would be wise to use.

    You would use the Danish oil over a Tru-Oil topcoat?

    Thank you so much for your help, I am enjoying this completely and am truly excited at finishing, I just don't want to screw it up.
     
  10. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    Well I will post pictures again soon, but it is going well.

    So far I have removed all of the frets from the neck. All of the hardware was plated chrome so I have done what I could with it. I have sanded down the neck and fretboard, I have been using a utility knife to clean out the frets, I have applied 6 coats of Tung Oil thus far to the body and 2 to the neck. Instead of repairing a crack in the pickguard, I ordered one a blank from Stew Mac and have replicated the pickguard exactly. The other plastic pieces I have sanded down with 0000 steel, and refinished with orange-glo, they look brand new. First application of Tung Oil I buffed, then wet-sanded with 600, I did this three more times, then did it again and wetsanded with 1200, repeated once with 1200, and well that's where I am at.

    I am trying to take alot of pictures of a poor man refretting the neck, as I haven't seen too much info on that here, and so am trying to compile my own noob tutorial to be critiqued.

    I will post progress pictures tomorrow, but I think everything is looking great :)
     
  11. Superdave

    Superdave

    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    Good to hear you're refretting it! Are you planning on going natural, with the tung oil stain and everything?
     
  12. dbhokie

    dbhokie

    Nov 1, 2010
    I am going natural all around, the wood-grain is just so pretty. To be honest, I'm not sure I like paint unless it has some transparency to it anyways. Just like in my house, I bought it, there was carpet everywhere, pull the carpet up and there is oak underneath...what? Why? :)

    I took some pictures but forgot my Camera, I'll try to remember tomorrow, I ended up taking pictures of the logo, and SN and everything and have been vectorizing them to print out some vinyl stencils so I can re-add them exactly as they were afterwards.
     

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