Help repairing some nasty gouges...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mhbradford86, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. mhbradford86


    Aug 15, 2018
    Hey guys!!!

    I need some recommendations on how to repair these nasty gouges. I recently scored a 60's classic vibe jazz Bass for $100 and would love to give her some tlc.

    As you can see, the gouges are pretty deep. I was thinking that drop filling would work, but that may not be sufficient enough of a build, especially on the headstock.

    Thanks in advance, you guys! :)

    Attached Files:

  2. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Leave them be, they add "character" to your new bass.

    Some people pay a lot of money to have "character" added to their instruments, in the form of "Relic-ing".
  3. mhbradford86


    Aug 15, 2018
    Sure, that's an avenue I considered, however if I choose to try and fix it, I'd love to have suggestions for that option. ;)
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I have never tried this so can't attest to its effectiveness. You need a fairly large soldering iron and a damp cloth. Lay the cloth over the dents and apply heat. The theory is the iron will cause the water to steam and it will expand the wood fibers where they have been crushed. The one closest to the treble side of the head stock looks like there is wood missing so that wouldn't work there. Be careful not to scorch the wood or paint.
    Christine, Pilgrim and Matt Liebenau like this.
  5. That was going to be my suggestion, steam the dents on the body. The ones on the headstock may need some material replaced, or just fill and smooth what’s there as best you can.
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    There are a couple of options for the body. The first and least expensive is to steam the dents as recommended above. Depending on the results, some color may be added to cover any exposed wood. Follow by drop filling with CA. Then level, rub out, and buff.

    The second option is to use lacquer burn in sticks. This is a favorite of furniture repairmen. However, the kit is around a hundred dollars in 2018 depending on your source. Behlen is probably the most popular brand.

    As far as the headstock goes, if the wood is still there steaming might help. Followed by some color and drop filling.

    N.B. Drop filling on and edge like the headstock is not a strong repair. If the headstock repair is bumped from any direction the CA can and will chip out.
  7. mhbradford86


    Aug 15, 2018
    Thanks guys! All great suggestions! :)
  8. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I have to vote for leaving it as is. The time you would spend steaming and drop filling, in my experience, is not well spent as it doesn't bring things back to like new.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    On the sides you may get some improvement by steaming. I doubt it would improve the headstock.

    My impulse is to say, play it and other than steaming (which will only take a few minutes with a wet cloth and iron) don't invest a lot of time in fiddling with the dents.
  10. Just play it and add more! Slide that D string back under the tree, though.
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Steaming only works were wood is compressed, the wood on your headstock is chunked out. The gouges in the body look like they may be more in the finish than the wood and I doubt steaming would do any good with the finish still in the holes. I've steamed out dents in old military gun stocks soaked in linseed oil, but I've never tried it on plain old dry wood.
    I believe you will do more harm than good trying to spot repair the body and short of rebuilding the headstock edges with epoxy I can't think of anything you could do that will allow you to regain the original lines and then you will need to refinish (read cover) the patch or it will always look like a repair. Since the body is painted, you could strip it, patch the holes then repaint it, but the patches might shrink and fall out. Basically, you are letting yourself in for a lot of work for little or no gain, but it's your bass.
    If it were mine I'd live with it or take the money it would cost to redo it and just buy one in better shape.
    Pilgrim likes this.
  12. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Both sets of dents will be tricky to hide.

    Colour-matching a white finish is a difficult task. A clear fill will always catch the light differently to the surrounding area.

    Colour-matching tinted lacquer on the headstock will be a difficult task, but maybe slightly easier.
  13. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    This technique works well but you're better off using a clothes iron rather than a soldering iron, it has less temperature and more heat. You can get a pin and stab through lacquer too if need be and get through unbroken finishes, just keep that cloth wet so you don't damage the finish
  14. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    While I don't begin to understand this statement, I agree with using a clothes iron. I repaired several dings and scrapes in the neck of an expensive bass this way.

    Having said that, I doubt that this will make much if any improvement here. Even if the wood wanted to lift, the finish will most likely keep that from happening. I might try to fill the body dings if I was hellbent on a repair, but fixing the headstock isn't something I'd attempt at all.
  15. My vote is to leave it as is.
  16. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Heat is the total energy within an object and temperature is a measure of the average energy with that object. So a tiny soldering iron will have more temperature or more simply it's hotter whereas the clothes iron even though it is cooler has more heat or it won't be cooled down so quickly because it has more mass holding more energy. So heat is measured in Joules and temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius
    wvbass likes this.
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    But here’s the thing about steaming dents out of wood. There must be enough moisture in the wood fibers to turn to steam and push the compressed fibers back out.
    As for the headstock, the damage there is missing wood, no amount of steaming will help there. The only way to restore the original lines would be with some type of filler, or cut back and add a block then reshape it to match the original lines. Either way, it stands out like a sore thumb or becomes a major refin just for the headstock.
    There is no cheap and/or easy way for OP to hide the “beauty marks” on their recent score.
    If it were mine i’d play it while i put money aside for a slick example if that was my desire, but unless this bass was loaded with sentimental value (which BTW would seem to be reason o-plenty to leave it as is), i’d be satisfied with the $75 bass i paid $100 for.
  18. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Ooooh, you're being all sciencey. I wouldn't understand; I'm just the bass player. :D

    (Seriously, thanks for the explanation.)
    Christine likes this.
  19. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Yes exactly, I'm wittering purely about the technique rather than this case. The wet cloth will help get moisture in, also if you use a pin and stab through a finish you can get moisture into the fibres with minimal damage to the finish but it's the conversion of moisture to steam that reinflated crushed wood cells, there is an expansion ration of 1800:1 I believe so you need very little moisture to actually do the job. I've been a furniture maker since 1985 and I've done this lots of times, it is amazing what can be fixed with it to a very good standard. You might need to wait a while to let moisture into the wood through small pin holes but that should be common sense :)
    fhm555 likes this.
  20. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    I'm not a good wordsmith, it either comes out very formally or like I'm a complete nutter :roflmao: Sorry :)
    wvbass likes this.

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