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Artificially aging Fender tuners?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tonynoriega, Aug 28, 2005.


  1. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I've got a set of new Fender reissue tuners that look way too shiny to put on my vintage headstock. Do any of you know of a way to age these things? Can it be done chemically? Have any of you actually done the process? Many thanks! Tony in Tampa
     
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yup. I did it.

    You definitely want to be very careful, as using caustic acids can be harmful to your health and can cause respirtory difficulty as well...

    I tried Hydrochloric acid, but didn't like working with it...too strong. They recomend that you 'hang' the parts above the acid and let the fumes work, but I had a tough time controlling the process, and found the fumes unbearable to work with, even outdoors.

    My choice is Ferric Chloride...sold at Radio Shack as 'etchant solution'. This brown fluid isn't as strong as the Hydrochloric, and I found that it was much easier to wipe on and wipe off until you get the desired effect. I then used dish soap as a base to neutralize the reaction and stop any further wear. You'd still want plenty of ventilation or to do it outdoors and you'd want protective gloves, etc.

    As with any of this stuff be very very careful.
     
  3. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    That's great, insightful information. Since you wiped it on and off, was there a problem with streaking? Did you try dipping the tuners in the solution? Was the result convincingly real looking? Did you start with brand new tuners? I suppose it's a lot to ask, but do you have any photos of the tuners? I went to your equip photo but of course it's not close up.

    Also, yesterday I found a guy that sells reliced Gotoh tuners for 90.00 out the door (relicguitar.com) for those of you that may want to go that route.

    Thanks!
     
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Well, I wouldn't suggest dipping any machine heads, I'd worry about the gears and all...my process worked like this:

    small tupperware bowl of etchant solution, pile of Q-tips, larger bowl of warm water heavily soaped with dish-soap, several rolls of paper towels, several large lids to disposeable plastic containers, steel wool.

    I obviously laid down a bunch of newspaper on the table so as to protect against spills...and had several sets of rubber gloves on hand for quick changes once you're in the middle of things

    -Lightly roughed the finish of the tuners with steel wool, and wiped them down with naptha to remove any finger oils.

    -use Q-tips to apply the etchant solution, leaving it on only for a few moments at a time, quickly wiping off the tuners with a paper towel. Use the plastic lids to rest the parts while they're 'aging' or waiting for the next coat

    -Keep doing this process until the 'bright' chrome or nickel dims down...it might take more than 2 or 3 applications/wipings until you get the look you want.

    -Once you get to the point where it's looking good, wipe off the final coat and use Q-tip or papertowel with the soapy water, or I even just swabbed the parts with the liquid soap by itself to neutralize the acid. From there, I re-swabbed with more soapy water (I did this step several times, as the reaction will continue if you're not thorough about removing the etchant solution)...and finally swab several times with H2O...

    -Once again, I then used Naptha to re-clean and hopefully displace any residual moisture and left pieces to dry.


    My advice against dipping is based upon the strap buttons that I tried this with, which stripped ALL the finish off of the exterior. I also did all the screws, bridge parts (plate & saddles) etc,.

    The instrument I did this was a relic '1964 Telecaster' I built using a body and neck built to my spec by USACG (clay dots, Brazilian rosewood board, 3.5lb swamp ash body), and the finish work was done by Mark Jenny (fully aged ice blue metallic nitro).

    Here's a couple of photos of the guitar...unfortunately I don't have any close-ups of any of the relic hardware, and some of these shots are pre-relicing of the metals.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The relicing job is good enough that the last time it was in a shop for a bit of a set-up, people kept offering 60's tele cash for it without hesitation...Luckily, The 'interior' details (body markings, etc.) make it obvious that its not original...Its only intended for me, but if it got stolen, a serious buyer of vintage gear would know it for a forgery.
     
  5. Try coating them with some paste flux from a plumbing supply shoppe. And just leave them outside in the sunlight for a couple of days.