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refinishing my MTD

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by wotnwhy, Oct 21, 2003.


  1. i've just bought myself an MTD Kingston 5 string fretless :D, trouble is, i can't stand the finish. fingerprints, smudges and dust stand out like bulls in a china shop, so i want to refinish it myself (cant afford to get someone else to do it). looking through the forum the most popular method of getting the finish of it to use a heat gun (which i've got) and a putty knife (never heard of one). will this methos work on this bass.

    also, i want to remove the finish from the headstock, but i'm worried about the damage it might do to the nut, fingerboard and even the neck.

    and as for refinishing. i like natural finishes, the body of this bass is basswood, does it look good? i really like the natural finished on warwick basses (the ones you wax), what do they use to finish their basses?

    Thanks for any help, and because i mentioned a new bass, here is a pic ;)

    [​IMG]

    Tom
     
  2. First advice is STOP!!! Do a lot more research on this topic before attempting anything. To that end, here are some answers to your questions:

    1. A putty knife is a wide flat blade in a handle that is pushed up under paint to peel it off of the body.

    2.If you are worried about damage to the components of the bass, just sand the finish off. This is time consuming and difficult but it is also very easy to control and since you can't really hurt anything, makes it better than more violent methods.

    3. Basswood is right next to balsa when it comes to beauty and toughness. It is very soft and if it has any grain at all, it will likely be just some narrow grey streaks in an otherwise unremarkable white wood. Basswood is known as a carving wood because of it's tight grain and medium soft texture. It's also cheap. That's why it's used in lots of economy basses.

    4. If you want the Warwick look, you'd better invest in the Warwick woods. These are premium hardwoods and that's a large part of why they look so good. Face it, when you polish a turd, sometimes all you get is a shiny turd.

    5. If changing it's color will solve the grime problem, I would just rough up what's there and spray a new color coat. You'll be miles ahead when it comes to prepping the body, and I guarantee that the finish will be better.
     
  3. jbay

    jbay

    May 23, 2002
    Singapore
    Ok firstly, u might wanna follow Hambone's advice. If u decide not to, here's some experience on my end on refinishing basswood.

    As mentioned, basswood is pretty soft and dents easily. Oil finishes wouldn't give much protection for that.

    Here are some pics of a basswood Ibanez guitar I refinished. Stained, oiled and coated with satin polyurethane varnish. It originally had a red tinted clear coat over a flame maple "top". Ibanez put 1/4" wide veneer on the sides of the body as well to make it look like an actual top. Con men!

    I stripped it with chemical stripper and lots of sanding (not realising that it was veneer and sanded through it).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ignore the guy in the shot. That's just my roommate.
     
  4. thanks for your help

    Tom

    P.S. jbay, that finish looks really good!
     
  5. Wotnwhy, what I meant with my Warwick statement is thatWarwick uses premium tonewoods that have extemely different characteristics from the basswood you've got. These woods are hard, and have a texture that seems to work well with oil finishes.

    Basswood isn't very pretty and you can see from jbay pics, how it is used in guitars. Notice on the lower bout how the woods don't match. They don't have to when everything is covered with a solid paint. That's another reason basswood is chosen for opaque colors - because it's less expensive not having a nice grain and figure.

    I would like to compliment you, jbay, on your work. While it's true that the basswood isn't the most stellar of beauty woods, you've done about the most anyone could do to make an attractive instrument. And you've done that very well indeed.

    As far as painting, it is pretty much that simple. Strip the bass and sand the finish with a wet 600 paper. You aren't taking finish off, just giving the smooth surface a little "tooth" to hold the first coats of paint. After your bass is a nice smooth, satin grey color, you can degrease it and apply your paint of choice as long as it isn't a lacquer based product. Essentially, your finish now is an inert coating of plastic. Using a lacquer with it's solvent might melt that plastic too much to be useful. I would stick with acrylic enamels. They would be much more compatible with the existing finish. Go slow and apply light mist coats and you should be fine. After painting, let the thing cure. A good rule of thumb is to test by smell. If you can't smell ANY hint of the paint solvent, then it's cured enough to reassemble for play.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. thanks a lot for your help hambone. but i have a couple more questions.

    what do you mean by "degrease" it. do you mean just give the bass a wipe down to make sure it's clean, or is there some degreasing product that you wipe in to the bass :confused:

    i know it depends on what spray i use, but approx how many coats am i looking at doing, 2 or 3, 10 to 15? and also, approx how long does it take to dry, can you do 2 or 3 coats in a day, or is it more like a coat every couple of days? i have absolutely no idea.

    again, thanks for your help

    Tom
     
  7. what do you mean by "degrease" it. do you mean just give the bass a wipe down to make sure it's clean, or is there some degreasing product that you wipe in to the bass :confused:

    There are solvent based degreasers available that are designed to remove oils, silicones, and other incompatible substances that could ruin a paint finish. You might look at auto parts stores for a small bottle of this stuff. If you can't find a true "degreaser" then you can use Naptha as a substitute.

    i know it depends on what spray i use, but approx how many coats am i looking at doing, 2 or 3, 10 to 15? and also, approx how long does it take to dry, can you do 2 or 3 coats in a day, or is it more like a coat every couple of days? i have absolutely no idea.

    Rattle cans are sort of unpredictable but you should get around 4-5 coats with a single can. Depending on humidity conditions, a coat could take as little as 15 minutes to get to the point that you could add another coat. And yes, you should be able to get in at least 3 coats in a single day. Keep in mind though that the more coats you apply at a time, the more time after the color is applied that you'll have to wait for curing. Keeping your coats down to 1 or 2 with ample time for the paint to set up inbetween should make the final curing go little faster.