Applying headstock decals?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JohnL, Mar 1, 2003.

  1. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    What is the best way to apply a decal to a bass that has an oil finish? On a gloss finish, it's pretty obvious that you need to apply the decal and then apply the finish (poly, lacquer, varnish, etc) over it, which also protects the decal. On an oil finished neck, however, just applying the decal with no cover coat seems that it wouldn't last very long before ripping or tearing. I'm thinking that maybe oil, then decal, then a few coats of Dullcote or some kind of flat finish spray. Any suggestions on a better way?
  2. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
  3. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    You don't have to put anything on top of the decal. Certain Fenders did not have any finish on their decals. It is nice to have some protection for it, but it's not absolutely necessary.
    You could leave the headstock face unfinished when you oil the rest of the neck and then spray some clear satin urethane or something on it. Spray a couple coats, then sand it flat and put your decal on, then spray a couple more coats to seal the decal in.
    Good Luck
  4. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I'm not a luthier, but I thought I'd contribute my experience. I've just applied the decal onto the bass.

    If you're afraid of the decal being damaged or scratched off, here's what you can do before you apply it. Scan an image of the decal into your computer as a JPEG. any cheap scanner can do this. If your decal gets screwed up, you can always print the JPEG image onto a transparent self adhesive computer decal sheet, cut it out, and reapply (after removing the first decal naturally). For best results you shold use a photo-printer program to print the image; these are the programs that come with digital cameras but are also available off the shelf. Be advised that these decal sheets are the thin plastic transparency type material, not the water based decal type. I heard the water-based-decal sheets are also available, but I haven't seen any in stores.