Les Paul 09

Aug 2 2004, 03:13 PM

Well, after sanding the top to 800 grit I started to apply the burst. I was pretty nervous about this, it’s my third try, my first on a real guitar, and I was applying stain direct to the wood, so any cockups would mean hours of sanding…


Sunburst with dye

That’s 3 passes with a fairly weak amber, and a couple of passes of the red burst. I love the look, but I need to darken the edges more, to hide my tearout patch, and because the red looks a bit weak in very bright light.

Sooo, rather than risk going too dark with the direct staining, I shot a couple of coats of clear Rustins. I plan to do the rest of the burst over these coats, either spraying the dye directly, or with dilute Oxford PSL (waterbased laquer) as a binder if neat doesn’t work. I have a brown dye which is compatible with Rustins for the final brown border, but I’ll be experimenting for the rest of the red…

Here’s the guitar after the clear laquer, see how it looks much lighter/darker depending on the angle you view it from…

Cleared, but still too pale

Aug 20 2004, 04:03 PM

Hmmmm…. been a while since I posted. Spent the last few guitar days back peddaling, after messing up my tinted coats I had to sand back, got a couple of sand-thoughs, and had to go back to wood

After *a lot* of sanding, and then some re-dyeing and clearcoating, here she is:

Re-done sunburst

The arrow shows the booboo I’m trying to hide with the dark border of the burst. It’s barely visible in this shot, but it does stick out from certain angles , so I need to get it sorted if I’m going to be happy.

LukeR asked: Hi, When you say Rustins, what product do you mean? Your results look great- i would love to use the same on my guitar.

This isn’t actually a lacquer finish - it’s a 2 pack cold cure finish, called Rustin’s Plastic coating. It’s main claim to fame is that Brian May used it to finish the Red Special he built with his dad. It’s touch dry in 30 minutes, and you can recoat after 2 hours (less if you’re willing to chance slightly slower curing in the long run). I could, assuming good surface prep, finish the whole guitar in a day, and buff it out a couple of days later.

I used this on the maple and mahogany DC, and it’s very nice to use, apart from the toxicity, which is on a par with nitro. It dries *very* tough, and I think it’s great for electric solidbodies.

PaulNeeds asked: Rustin’s Plastic coating sounds very interesting. How’s it applied Setch?

I apply it with a £16.99 touch up gun from Axminster tools. For a cheap jamb gun this is a great tool, and it lays down the Rustin’s very smoothly. The Rustin’s is very thick for a sprayed finish, so you need to spray at relatively high pressure (40 psi) but it builds very quickly, and can be flowed out very evenly without runs, if you practice a little. I already had access to a compressor with a good sized tank, which is essential.

It’s also very easy to apply by brush, or diluted with special thinners it can be applied with rag for an oil like open grained finish - See the attached pic of some weaving bobbins I made for a friend. The complete finishing process took about 45 minutes:

Sarah\'s boat shuttles

I used the same finish on the little carving (oops!) planes shown earlier in the tread.

Aug 27 2004, 10:30 AM

Okay - finally a bit of progress after a week of rain, or work, or both…

Yesterday I shot the rest of my burst, taking the edges and transition darker, and hiding the tearout repair. It’s still visible in very bright light, but not remotely obtrusive. Here’s a shot of the result using a flash.

Darker sunburst

I scuff sanded the top to knock down any nibs of finish, then cleaned it very carefully with Naptha and a rag. I mixed up LMII alcohol soluable stain with Rustin’s plastic coating thinners (very similar to nitro thinners) until I got a hue and saturation I was happy with. To get the darker colour to be less overpoweringly red, I used (very approximately!) 2 parts brown powdered dye to 1 part red, and a very small touch of blue. I experimented with shooting this stain straight, but it beaded up very easily, so I added it to some Rustin’s plastic coating (approx 50/50 lacquer/stain).

Using relatively low pressure, and a very dry setting on the paint adjustment I laid down the colour in the upper bouts, using about 5 or 6 thin dry coats till the colour was right. Once I was happy with this area I did the same around the perimeter of the lower bouts and waist, feathering the colour into the uppr bouts to avoid a darker area where they met. Once the colour was down, I thought the amber section in the centre looked a bit wishy-washy, so I tinted some more thinners with a yellow amber mixture, then added this to some clear (70/30 lacquer/dye) and sprayed the whole top with the amber tinted clear.

here’s how it looks by house light: Neither shot is perfect - I’ll try to get some better ones outside ift he weather clears again.

Darker sunburst

Aug 27 2004, 01:24 PM

Now that the colour coats are done I can attach the fretboard. I’ve always used titebond for this in the past, but after a few issues with backbow I’ve decided to try epoxy for this joint (I’ve still used Titebond for all the other wood to wood joints on this guitar). I’m using araldite, a slow cure epoxy which allows plenty of time for positioning everything right, and is significantly stronger than quick setting 5 minute epoxies.

I do a dry run to make sure everything closes up nicely, then lay out all the materials I need in easy reach.

Gluing the fretboard

I apply a liberal coating of epoxy to both surfaces, spreading it out as evenly as possible. I check my index pins to ensure that my board will not slide around during glueup.

Gluing the fret board

Once the glue has had a few minutes to soak into the gluing surfaces I assemble the joint and clamp it up. I use a long straight piece of steel square section with an old leather belt as a pad to hold the neck straight whilst the glue sets. I snug the clamps good and tight, checking the edges are perfectly aligned as I go, then set the neck aside to dry.

This shot shows the guitar laid down, but I leave it to dry with the neck unsupported - I don’t want any weight on the neck which could cause it to set with any bow in it.

Gluing the fretboard

After 24 hours to set I’ll shape the rest of the neck, then I can finish sand and grain fill the mahogany.

Maiden69 asked: This is a very beautiful guitar, but I will like to know why did you painted the top before gluing the fret board, dont the epoxy that sweeps out will damage the paint in the corners, also, since the neck is not finshed won’t it gives you any issues with painting without damaging the top?

I glued the fretboard on after colour coating the top to get a crisp line around the binding on the neck and body. Masking or scraping the colour off the fretboard binding is a pain, and it’s easier to scrape the body binding in the cutaway without having to work around the fretboard.

Glue squeeze out from the epoxy isn’t a problem, since the top is sealed with clear lacquer I was able to clean away the squeezout with a rag dampened with alcohol (methylated spirits in the UK).

Thanks for all the positive comments - after several miserable hours stripping the top back to wood it’s nice to know people like the results of my second attempt!

LukeR asked: I was wondering… did the Rustins plastic coat react at all with the binding? May I ask what sort of binding you used? (I was just wondering, because apparently Rustins can react with different finishes, and with most binding being cellulose….)

I think the Rustin’s technical tips are very conservative - they play it safe by telling people not to use Plastic Coating over…well, anything

I’ve applied it over shellac, over cellulose nitrate and ABS binding and over PSL waterbased lacquer, all with no noticable problems, either in eating the old finish, or in curing or discolouring. I think the chemically aggressive nature of the plastic coating is actually advantageous with binding - it softens the surface of the binding, so it sticks like s**t to blanket, just like nitro lacquer.

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