Repairing a gouge(?) in a nitro lacquer finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Goofball Jones, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. I looking at a used Fender Classic 60s Jazz Bass with lacquer finish and a pretty decent price. With the normal nicks and scratches for a used instrument, it has the really bad...not sure what it is, but I include a picture of what it is.

    Just wondering, what would be the best way to go about repairing this myself. Not really a full repair needed, but just a smoothing out. I'm not concerned about it appearing brand new or anything, but that's pretty ugly right there.

    Any suggestions? Just sand it down a bit?

  2. I can't really tell what is it that i'm looking at. If it's only superficial you could get away with a slight rub with some polishing compound. If it is deeper you should adress a professional.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Google “laquer drop fill”, I’m guessing that’s what a pro would do. I’ve never done it, but as I understand it, you remove all the damaged finish in the gouge and then layer in nitrocellulose laquer until the gouge is just above level with the surrounding poly, then sand flush, buff out, etc. There is a similar technique using CA glue. Neither is going to be invisible, but might make it less glaring.
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, "lacquer drop fill" is the technique. Nitro lacquer is one of the easiest finishes to repair, because fresh nitro lacquer will melt into the old nitro lacquer under it. I'm not an expert on the technique, but basically you knock out any really loose chips. Then apply drops of nitro lacquer to the wound. Let it flow in and dry. Mix some dye into the lacquer to match the color. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until the hole is filled up above the surrounding surface. Then gently block sand it level, wet-sand it, and buff it up to a full gloss. Done carefully, with good color matching, the repair will be invisible. That's how a pro would do it. It takes some time and care, but it's not really difficult.

    Don't use CA glue on a nitro lacquer finish. It will repair and seal up the damage, but the seams will show.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  5. Thanks all!
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