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Finish repairs?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rusty Chainsaw, Mar 26, 2003.

  1. I have a small crack in the finish on my bass (looks like the finish peeled off) surrounded by a few small scratches. It is a clear lacquer finish (as far as I can tell) over a stained quilt maple top. I'd like to fix this and return my bass to mint condition, so my question is, what's the best way to fix this, short of a complete refinishing job? My thoughts would be to mask the area, spray with clear car lacquer, then use T-Cut (don't know if you have that in the States, but it's a mildly abrasive cleaner often used for blending in new car paintwork) to blend it in, followed by a good buffing. Would this work? If not, what would you recommend?

    Russ :bassist:
  2. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    It sounds like you're on the right track.
    If the finish really is lacquer then your in luck. You'll have the best chance of a seamless repair if it is lacquer. You can probably just brush on a SMALL amount at a time to fill it. If it's poylurethane or polyester your best bet may be to fill the spot with CA, or superglue. In the states there is a product called Plastizap and it works great for finish repairs.
    Basically the procedure is to fill the spot slowly a layer at a time until it's a little more than flush with the surrounding finish and then level it and polish it out. You can then use fine grit sandpaper and automotive polishing compounds, but if it's polyester you may have a hard time getting it to really shine up. The stuff is very hard.
    I doubt you'll be able to make it completely invisible. This kind of damage is almost impossible to hide completely.
    Good Luck
  3. tyson


    Feb 9, 2000
    Dallas, TX
    i have a two-tone sunburst body where there's a quarter sized gouge in the finish down to/plus some of the ash wood. thanks UPS. it's located on the top side of the bass so i look right at it when i play. the surrounding finish is black with a sweet polyurethane coat. i don't need a perfect repair but i DO want to it to be physically smooth-feeling and to have the wood protected. any ideas?
  4. cosmicevan


    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    what about scratches in a finish? what grades of sandpaper (or what other solution is reccommended) would be best to buff out a few scratches?

    is there a way to breath new life into an area on the top that is worn from playing or even pick activity? i have a few basses that i'd like to get in tip top shape, but they have areas worn from playability...any and all help is more than appreciated!
  5. tyson


    Feb 9, 2000
    Dallas, TX
    well, i filled the gouge in the ash wood with some woodfiller from Lowe's. that stuff's like liquid sand but it harded pretty well. i then sanded the gouge and the surrounding area (where the baby cracks were) some 600 grit sand paper and some #0000 steel wool. since the gouge was on the black portion of the sunburst finish i tried to apply some ebony wood stain to the bare wood. i think the ash must've been cured by Fender though because the stain didn't really stick or absorb even after the sanding. so i just took a black magic marker and colored in the wood and the baby cracks. this stuck pretty well but i let it dry a few hours anyway. since i only have semi-gloss and satin polyurethane in my place i chose to use the sami-gloss...alough regular clear gloss would probably be better. i've applied the polyurethane to the gouge and the surrounding baby cracks with a q-tip. i've only gone two coats in the gouge and one on the surrouding cracks so far. i'm planning to apply 1 coat on the cracks for every 3 coats i apply to the gouge.

    i'm not sure about the sand paper for wet-sanding or finish for buffing the new and surrounding polyurethane finish to make a good blend... i'm not overly concerned about the gouge and the surrounding cracks but i don't want to damage the good finish that IS there. any more ideas?
  6. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    That would be the key question. What make, year, and country of origin?
  7. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    Not a great choice, to be honest. It's not a good bonder, and it tends to shrink over time.