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Refinishing/ Cleaning an Old Ibanez Ric Copy

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassmanbob, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I just got a Ric copy Ibanez from the 1970's. It belongs to the local middle school, and the director asked me to "fix it up". It's a Ric copy Ibanez with a sunburst body and neck. It has a body that looks like one of those Wishbass carving boards, but the paint job has very few nicks in it. The lacquer on the neck and fretboard is peeling and chipped. Every piece of metal is rusted and pitted.

    I have to ask him what exactly he wants me to do besides cleaning it and changing the strings, but there could be a lot of work done to this instrument.

    I don't want to do too much that will devalue the instrument, but here is a list of improvements that can be made:
    • remove the chipped and cracked laquer on the neck and fretboard
    • reapply the lacquer to the neck as it was done originally
    • change the rusted screws
    • remove the rusted hardware and have them refinished
    • clean the pups and other electronic areas
    • replace the strings

    My questions are:
    1. Can I strip the lacquer without damaging the painted finish?
    2. What type of lacquer does Rickenbacker use, how many coats and is it applied thin or thick?
    3. If I remove the metal hardware, what is the best way to remove the rust and pitting? Sandblasting? Steel wool? Chemically?
    4. What do I use to refinish the metal hardware? I'm assuming that it is not chrome. Or is it? If it is where do I turn to to have it rechromed?

    I don't mind putting a little money into this. He has done me a couple of favors, and I'd like to do this right. I just don't want to destroy his instrument. I am very handy, have a couple of books on bass building and I take direction well.

    Your help will be appreciated. Bob
  2. Probably not. They are likely one in the same. Lacquer "burns" in with subsequent coats. That means it softens and melts into the coat under it to make it's bond.

    If it's lacquer, it's lacquer. Dissolvable with lacquer thinner. You should be able to see the film thickness from any chips in the body. Flake one off and mic it for a real measurement.

    If it's rusty it's chrome. If it's got a weird tarnish, it might be nickel. Sandblasting takes everything off right down to steel and would need to be powdercoated or rechromed. Steel wool is a good choice for surface rust and flaking and won't harm chrome - chrome is much harder than steel. Once all of the loose rust is removed, you can chemically convert anything remaining with a rust converter. It will turn the spots black and make them inert and impervious to anything else. You can rechrome the parts and that isn't a bad idea if you can locate a chromer in town. It might run you about the cost of all new hardware but at least it keeps it original.

    As for the screws, I would replace them with stainless steel.
  3. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member


    Anyone else???