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Filling dings in poly - What can I use other than superglue?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fourstringbliss, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. I have recently acquired a 1989 MIJ Fender 60's reissue Jazz Bass. I understand that some people like dings and dents in these because it gives the bass character, but sometimes theres such a thing as too much character. This thing hasn't been abused but there are little (and a few large) dings all over the body. The finish is poly and I'd like to take the dings out and refinish the body.

    I've heard that you can fill dings in poly with superglue, but there are so many and it dries harder thant the surrounding poly so that it doesn't sand the same. What else can I use to fill the dings that will be easier to apply and/or sand better? I know that modern car finishes are poly - what do they use to fill in dents?
  2. If you're talking about drop fills, you can use a lot of different materials, including urethanes or most other clear finishing materials. I like nitrocellulose lacquer because it dries fast. It seems to build a lot more slowly than gap-filling superglues, but it sands beatutifully. It's probably easier to sand than most modern finishes, so it is worth a try. On deep gouges, I have gotten good results by starting with CA and then switching to nitro for the final touches. The CA gets the craters close to level quickly.

    If you're refinishing, just strip the body, save some sawdust from your finish sanding stage, and mix it with glue to fill in any deep dents. Great color match, stainable (to a degree), sands smooth! Dents are a fact of life. Some of them we can live with, some of them we'd rather not. If you're gonna play it, it's gonna show.

  3. The only trouble with putting nitro on top of poly is that, should you decide to go ahead and give it a full shot coat of poly to totally even things out, it will react with the nitro under it. You'll have to make the determination beforehand and stick to it because you'll be removing all of it later if you don't.
  4. That's a good point. You don't want to mix too many finish materials, and if you intend to overspray, having nitro as a base is asking for trouble. It is less stable than the high tech finishes. Don't build flying buttresses on a foundation of sand.

    Don't mix wine and beer, either. Trust me.
  5. My understanding is that auto manufacturers are using poly paints for their car finishes. What do they use to fill dents when they are doing paint repairs? Could I use the same stuff? I'm planning on filling the dents/dings, priming, and then doing the color coat/finish coat.
  6. When they do a dent, they are sanding and grinding back to metal and feathering out the edges of the exposed area so that it gradually elevates through the primer and top coats. Then they will use polyester resin fillers and glazes and put polyurethane paints back on top. Yes, you could, but we were under the impression that you were trying to maintain the color under the finish as it is and just smooth things out before another clear coat.
  7. I was originally thinking about filling the dings, priming, repainting vintage white, and then clear coating again. Would it work to sand the dings smooth, recolor the insides, and then clear coat over them? There are black cracks around the edges of some of the dings and inside a few of them. The color of the bass is aged olympic white which should be the same thing as vintage white, right? Do you know if ReRanch vintage cream the same as aged olympic white?
  8. Ferget about matching and blending a color in such a small area. You don't have the room to feather the blend so it will look natural AND the chances of any two whites being the same is practically nil. :meh:
  9. Any suggestions, then? Could I have the color matched at an auto body shop and have a small amount made?
  10. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    If your talking about refinishing the body, totally refinishing, you can use wood filler. It goes on easy and sands really well. I have used it to fill pickup cavities and no problems.
  11. Most body shops won't have the tools to do a reflective analysis of your color to break down into their paint system. They would have to send it off to their supplier that would do it. But any matching they do will only work with their paint component system. Each system has it's own set of "mixing" colors and they aren't compatible with other systems from other manufacturers. AND if you are working in lacquers, it will be different than in poly's. You might try googling for custom paint mixing and see who does this for hobbyist car builders. I don't know if they can send the paint via UPS because of the hazardous materials limitations - I don't think anyone can but you'll have to check. If that doesn't pan out, try checking with a local medium to large size sign company and see if they will sell you a quart of a matched paint from their stock. You might have to do a side by side swatch match but then they would have a formula to build your color with their system colors. Or try a local sign supply because often smaller sign shops don't have mixing systems and just buy from a distributor who mixes it for them.
  12. So, it would work to use regular wood filler in sanded poly dings, sand, prime, color, and clear coat?
  13. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    Yes it should work. You can find it at your local 'home store' they make it in a few wood colors as well so find one that wont make the paint too bright in that one spot.
  14. I'm reviving this old thread that I started to ask about a couple of actual dings I want to fix. Here are the pics:


    These are on a bass that I just bought tonight so I haven't actually seen it or them. They don't appear to be down to the color, but just surface dings. Is that how they seem to you? All I want to do is to fill them so that they disappear. What could I use to do that?