Repair of Shipping Damage to Yamaha Motion B "Jade"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RodRy, May 31, 2020.

  1. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Starting with some back story:
    After quite a bit of searching and waiting, I found this beautiful Yamaha Motion B on Ebay and soon it was sent my way. Photos from the seller:
    YamahaMotionB_01.JPG YamahaMotionB_03.JPG YamahaMotionB_04.JPG YamahaMotionB_08.JPG

    But when it arrived, it had been dropped in transit, the box had some crush damage, and the bottom strap hanger had been crushed into the body of the bass. The result was wood damage and flaking off of a quarter-sized area of the beautiful transparent teal finish.
    IMG_6528.JPG IMG_6535.JPG

    Removal of the strap button caused even more finish to flake off.
    IMG_6551 (2).JPG

    I contacted the seller, Ken, and he was very sorry about it, and we worked together to get the insurance to pay for repairs. Because it came from Japan, it was quite a saga to get the two different countries' post offices to line up and complete the steps they needed to. But at last, he got paid the insurance money and sent me what the quote was to repair the damage.

    However, my normal luthier friend was booked and said that he does not trust himself to do color matching on finish, so I decided to take on the project myself.

    This forum thread will be that story. How I did the work, where I am, and how it turns out in the end.
  2. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Fixing the hole.

    My first thought was to figure a way to repair the area the wood was crushed into the body. I found that I could buy some plug cutters in either straight or taper shape, and cut plugs out of a similar grain wood. So I got these:

    Then set to digging around my collection of scrap wood until I found some fir that had a similar grain pattern to the area of the ash that was damaged. Then I made a series of plugs and sorted them to find the size and grain pattern I thought would work best.

    I drilled the correct sized hole in the body of the bass (carefully, because I had no way to put it under the drill press) and glued it into place with some Titebond wood glue.
    IMG_6650 (2).JPG

    At this point, I was starting to get nervous. What if I made a huge mistake? Ah well, no help for it now. I removed enough of the protective tape to file and sand down the wood until it was flush with the surrounding wood.
    IMG_6656 (2).JPG

    At this point, I was feeling pretty good. The area I had to restain was not too big, and the wood matched acceptably well. Next was to put in the hole for the flush-mount Dunlop Straplocks.

    Side note: while I was at it, I coated the back of the control cavity cover with some aluminum to better shield the electronics.
    IMG_6602 (2).JPG

    More to come...
  3. Good for you. I hope it works out. For whatever it’s worth, I’m pretty sure the wood on the body isn’t stained. That’s teal dye or pigment in a mid coat clear. It might match better if you seal the wood then tint some lacquer to match and apply that over the sealer. Then, if needed some clear to get the repair up the the level of the existing paint then sand and buff. Even if you stain the wood you may need some tinted clear to make the repair look like the surrounding finish.

    Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
  4. Charlie Tango

    Charlie Tango Disciple of Duck

    Apr 15, 2018
    Northern VA
    First, I sympathize with you. I'd have been seriously torqued over something like that. Second, I know almost nothing about finishing stuff. Third, I have watched Dave of Dave's World of Fun Stuff on YouTube get amazing results using GluBoost products to make repairs. They ain't cheap. They've got CA glues, tint kits, sanding-proof tape, etc. Might be worth a look. GluBoost: CA Adhesives & Glue Accompaniments
    Winslow and RodRy like this.
  5. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement! I've already progressed quite a bit beyond this step, but have not been keeping my thread up-to-date. I'll post more tomorrow, and hope to have it up to "present day" on Tuesday.

    I'm looking forward to having it all put together and playing. I think it will look amazing.
  6. Great sympathy for you @RodRy .
    A beautiful instrument.
    Cheers to your efforts to bring it back to fabulous.
    (If it were a fiver would offer to take it of your hands as is;))
    Seriously, good luck.

    I have no constructive advice but look forward to your progress!:bassist:
    Winslow and RodRy like this.
  7. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Yeah, it was a real bummer to find the damage on an otherwise beautiful finish. But, there was really nothing to do but ask for funds to repair it or have it repaired. Once we got that out of the way, it just fell to me to figure out how to do it.

    I repaired the headstock of a bass I bought a couple years ago, and it had a transparent purple finish, so I'm probably overconfident in my skills here. Some have said that in person it's hard to tell that the headstock is not factory fresh. I've done some woodworking, so I'm able to do quite a number of repairs.

    Dave is pretty funny, and I've enjoyed a number of his projects. Didn't see any with GluBoost, so maybe I'll need to search for that.

    Off to bed, but I plan to get more content on this thread tomorrow. I've got a bunch of pics, and am well into the color process now.
  8. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I realized that I was too excited to take pictures on the day I put the hole in the end of the bass for the flush-mount strap lock. Oops. I taped off the body with some blue painter's tape, and used a centering dowel jig.

    The next step was to mix up some stain. I chose the Keda powdered stains, and gathered my scale, and a paint tray to work with. I watched some YT videos for how to blend the colors and noticed that he made a pretty close approximation with his teal video. So I copied the starting info, and made a little paper try to measure the powder by weight.

    I used some of the flaked off paint chips as reference against the white tray, and put a few drops of stain in the paint tray cups until I felt I was pretty close. I wrote down my final mix powder measurements and called it good. Because of the light and the camera, the color looks more blue than it does normally.

    With the first coat of stain, I quickly realized that it was not doing anything to the areas that still had sealer on them, so I had to carefully scrape away the sealer and go again with the stain. Here's with the sealer scraped off.

    Came up with the idea to blend stain into the clear coat (Minwax water based Polycrylic, so they are both water based) and brush them on in successive layers of less stain / more clear. I blended and labeled the stain mini bottles. IMG_6896.JPG

    I noticed that I still had several edge areas where the stain was not penetrating into and coloring the base material.

    Turned out a green Sharpie was just the tool for the job to even out the color. A bit of touching up with the marker, and the application of stain/clear coats 6/1, 5/2, and 4/3, and it's pretty even. A bit dark, but I'll need to do some light sanding to even it out. IMG_6916.JPG

    I think this will work out OK. I've got the color more even, and I think it will be more even yet when I get the rest of the stain blends in place. Then a bit of careful sanding should set it up for clear coats to build up the finish to be slightly above the surrounding area. Then carefully bring it back down to flush and install the strap button.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
  9. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    OK, I've put down mixes 3/4, 2/5, and 1/6. Here's how it looks now.
    IMG_6917.jpg IMG_6918.JPG

    In these pictures the new layer is still wet. The color match is not ideal, but a bit of careful work with some fine sandpaper should help. Next stage is to add layers of clear. Of course, this will take some time because I'm giving each coat a day to set up, and that original coating is super thick.

    I've also got all the partial stain/poly blends in case I sand too much.

    Ah well, stay tuned for more.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  10. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    OK, getting closer with incremental steps. Little bit of 400 grit to level out the surface.
    IMG_6920 (2).JPG

    Coat of 1 stain/6 clear.
    IMG_6921 (2).JPG
    A later coat of clear. Probably too thick.
    IMG_6925 (2).JPG IMG_6927 (2).JPG
    And another coat of 1/6 to make sure there was a bit of color in the top layers.
    IMG_6929 (2).JPG IMG_6930 (2).JPG IMG_6932 (2).JPG

    Next will be a bit more sanding to get the finish layers more even. Then another coat of clear will probably be needed before I sand the whole area back to flush with the original. I'm getting more nervous as the end gets closer. :nailbiting:
  11. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    This has become a sanding project. I got a bit aggressive with the 400 grit. Paper got too hot and started peeling off layers. And I sanded through the thin color coat next to my repair. Dumb me. Friends, learn from my mistake:
    IMG_6944 (2).JPG

    I found that a green Sharpie was a good way to stick some color back down where I sanded through. And I painted on another layer of 1 color/6 clear on top.
    IMG_6953 (2).JPG

    After it cured, I went back to leveling it out with some 600 grit. Then 800, and 1200. I used a small (1" x 3") foam block with double sided tape holding the paper to it. You can see the technique in a StewMac video on YouTube.
    IMG_6960 (2).JPG

    From there, I went to wet sanding with 3200, 3600, and 4000 grits. Some of this was with a foam sanding block, some was just with my fingers.
    IMG_6965 (2).JPG

    Then it was the 6000, 8000, and 12000 grits. Just used my fingers for this, using a small swirl motion. That gave me this.
    IMG_6986 (2).JPG

    I think that's pretty close. I'll probably hold off any more in this area until I buff the body.

    Just for further info, all of this work has been done with the bass mounted in my Stew Mac vice. I didn't crop this one, so you can see the level of mess I tend to work in. All of my own doing (the mess that is).

    I've got replacement knobs and tuners on order. They should be here next week, so I'll update with more pics as I get it buffed, then re-assembled.

    Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions.
  12. Lackey

    Lackey Supporting Member

    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Bummer man! But your fix looks pretty good. Fortunately it's in a pretty blind area.

    Whatya think of the pickups? I'm toying with putting something different into my Motion. With more girth. Tonally.
    RodRy likes this.
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    You are doing a good job. But consider this ... the wood was never stained in the first place. That was evident when the finish chipped off to reveal plain un-coloured wood. If you wanted to get as close as possible to the original you would use a coloured finish, not stain the wood. But carry on - it’s looking pretty good.
    Matt Liebenau and RodRy like this.
  14. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Well, that's the funny thing...I've not plugged it in yet. Went straight to fixin' and not playin'. I have 8 other basses, so I had options. Once I get it all together, I'll make sure to post my playing review. This is my first medium scale bass, so I'm interested in getting some time in playing it.

    Edit: thinking about it some more, would a Thunderbird pickup fit where the originals are? That would give some sonic girth.
  15. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Thanks, I did realize that once I was plowing along in my current course. As mentioned, this is only the second time I've tried to repair a finish. I certainly have learned from this one!
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  16. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    After a bit of asking, I think that you may want to check out Steve Soar at ThunderBucker Ranch to see if those ThunderBucket pickups will fit in the same routed pockets as the originals.

    If you go that route, let me know what you find out! :thumbsup:
    Stugilliam and Lackey like this.
  17. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Just got my golden GB350 tuners today. Wow, they are amazingly beautiful. And feather light. Pics and such to come, but I was just too excited about getting them to remain silent!
    Michael C. likes this.
  18. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Using my fine digital scale, I got the following weights from my GB350s (including installation screw and threaded bushing):
    1: 39.86 g
    2: 39.58 g
    3: 40.15 g
    4: 40.09 g
    So that makes them a hair lighter than my Sperzel tuners (which averaged 40.54 g). Considering the only one of the original tuners I've weighed was 64.94 g, I think it's a pretty nice weight savings. And the look? Well, see for yourself...
    IMG_6988 (2).JPG IMG_6989 (2).JPG IMG_6990 (2).JPG IMG_6991 (2).JPG IMG_6992 (2).JPG

    And a group photo showing different stages of un-bagging;

    And proof of measurement of #1 with screw.
    IMG_6994 (2).JPG

    I am so looking forward to putting these on! :hyper:
    Protagonist likes this.
  19. eee

    eee Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    Looks good! I love my Motion B.
    RodRy likes this.
  20. DrDAV14

    DrDAV14 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Denver, Colorado
    Played a Hot Pink one for a couple years in the 80's. Put 2 EMG HB's in it, they fit under the stock pick up covers. It sounded as good as my Spector NS2 and was easier for me to play with the Medium scale. It was stolen, still miss that one!
    Michael C. and RodRy like this.