Need some tech help re: decals on graphite headstock

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Worldeeeter, Jul 6, 2016.


  1. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I just purchased a Moses Graphite MJ-144 neck for my Fender AS Jaguar. Pic attached. Due to the licensing agreement between Moses and Fender, they are not permitted to put their logo on the peghead.
    I found lots of places that make aftermarket decals; when I asked for some insight about the type of decal and best process for applying to a graphite surface, none of them have a clue as to what to tell me.
    I understand that you must apply a lacquer to a wood peghead, in order for a waterslide decal to adhere to it. Then you should lacquer over it, to protect it from the various elements.

    Has anyone put a decal on a graphite headstock, and if so, did you go waterslide or cut vinyl?
    If you went waterslide, do you need to lacquer the headstock before and after applying the decal?

    Any help you can provide is appreciated.
    IMG_0424.jpg
     
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Laquer is a resin, smooth so a waterslide stick to it. Prevents the adhesive from being absorbed by raw wood.

    Graphite has resin in it to bind the fibers together. It won't absorb liquid. A decal will adhere just fine.
     
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    It will still need a finish over the decal to protect it though.
     
  4. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Both excellent points - thank you! I wasn't aware that the acrylic was there to prevent the wood from absorbing the adhesive. Makes sense.
    I am waiting to hear from Moses with a tech person to discuss the whole decal thing. They apply them for customers, so I'll pick someone's brain there regarding prep and a topcoat.
     
  5. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yep. The decal will stick right to the graphite, but make sure you clean the graphite first with acetone or lacquer thinner. It may have some residual mold release or wax on the surface. Apply the decal as normal, then put a couple of clear coats on the whole face of the headstock to protect it. Almost any type of clear in a spray can will work; nitro lacquer, acrylic, water-based poly.

    For this application, with the black background, I'd recommend a dry transfer type logo, rather than a waterslide decal. Decals are fine on maple, but the clear edges will show up more on black. Same basic process for the dry transfer logo: clean the surface, apply the logo, clear coats.
     
    Hopkins likes this.
  6. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Makes sense - many thanks! I'm looking at cut vinyl decals, but those require tooling, and no one makes one-offs. Any other suggestions on non-waterslide decals is appreciated.
     
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I have a 1962 Jazz right here that has no clear over the decal. Fender didn't finish over it until they switched to poly for obvious reasons: nitro. So it's not mandatory if he wants to leave it matte.
     
  8. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    ^This^
    All I'd add is put a dab of Windex on the adhesive side of the dry transfer decal to facilitate sliding it around to get it properly located. Once it's where you want it gently squeegee any remaining Windex out from under the decal and blot it up with old newspaper or a paper towel. Let it stand unmolested long enough to insure all the liquid has evaporated, then burnish it down with your a finger. I use my DL or an expired credit card for a squeegee.

    Since die cut decals are a PITA to get one offed, but are not that expensive when done on a lain rectangle or oval, buy a few and an xacto knife and cut away the background. Trust me, you will need a few to get right, but it's not as hard as it sounds. Fresh blades are the key to getting a clean cut.
     
  9. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC

    Thanks for the insight. I found a guy on eBay that makes one-off vinyl decals. He makes 2 instead of one, so I'll have a couple to work with.
    Here are the instructions he provided:

    Application is pretty straight forward...just peel the clear transfer tape from the backing paper...do this slowly to insure you get 100% lift of the decal...if for any reason a part of the decal does not lift, gently lay the tape back down over that part and use a credit card or something similar to rub that area well until it does lift. Once you have it completely separated from the backing paper, visually line it up where you want it to go and gently lay it on the headstock...make sure you keep it straight and that it does not crinkle up when you lay it down. Once down, use firm pressure with your thumb to rub the decal down. Then slowly remove the transfer tape. There is another method called the "book" method...that is a little tough to explain but you can search youtube for "vinyl decal installation book method" it involves taping one edge of the decal down, lifting it like opening a book...then removing the backing paper from the underneath side...when you lay the decal back down it will fall in the exact place you had it lined up.
     
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I once had to apply a logo onto an already finished headstock and didn't want to get into a refinish to protect it.
    I went the simplest way, had the logo printed on a sheet of 3M adhesive film, cut the shape of the head and holes with an exacto knife, applied it to the full headstock and put tuners back on it.
    With a properly applied quality film you don't get bubbles and the sides blend in just fine.
    You can't tell it from proper finish unless you have your eyes on it.
     
  11. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    That is an excellent idea! If I ever have to do this again, I may do that.
     
  12. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I assume they treated it with something for the sake of durability, because the cellulose decal paper I have always used is pretty fragile without a finish
     
    fhm555 likes this.
  13. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
  14. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Love the concept - it does look very cool. Don't love buying things directly from China.
     
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I was leery of it as well, but @lbridenstine, and myself have ordered from them with zero issues. I tried to order decals like this from an American company and they wanted $250 a sheet with a $500 tooling fee. This company is very affordable.
     
    Worldeeeter likes this.
  16. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    image.jpeg image.jpeg Thanks again for all the advice on this; it worked out well, and while I have no desire to wet-sand and polish it to a high sheen, three layers of acrylic-urethane hybrid clear coat did the trick nicely. Here are before and after pics, after the vinyl decal was applied:
     
  17. happiman

    happiman

    Jul 29, 2009
    Hey @Worldeeeter ,

    I'm in the same situation as you. Gotten a moses graphite neck and now I want a decal on it .

    Can you share with me your decal contact and the lacquer you used, and how many coats you sprayed on it?

    Because from the pictures, the decal looks really seamless. As in it looks like it's a stocked fender neck .

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Cheers
    Justin
     
  18. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I just replied to your message. Hope it helps.
     
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