MyLesPaul.com
Homepage - Sponsors - Subscription - Auctions - Advertise - Spy  
Go Back   MyLesPaul.com > The Les Paul > The Custom Shop > Luthier's Corner
LIKE MyLesPaul on Facebook FOLLOW MyLesPaul on Twitter
  
Like Tree5Likes

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 05-01-2009, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Les Paul Refinish

Some time ago Magnus (goocart) shipped his 98 R8 to me from Sweden. The aim was to do a full refinish to get rid of some unwanted attributes.


Here are some before pictures showing the guitar as I received it. Not bad looking overall, with a nice curly maple top. Unfortunately some one aged it with compressed air, causing a shattered glass type checking, which looks very fake. they also battered it up pretty badly in general, including fake arm wear.





On the back there were three round dents that may have been the result of some previous owner getting carried away on stage and trying to impale the guitar on a mic stand





The wires are tied together inside with a piece of cotton fabric. I'm guessing to stop the cables from rattling around inside.



The 3 dents are now clearly visible (like they weren't before) after the finish is removed from the back.





The guitar now completely stripped except for the maple top.

thesjkexperience likes this.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to alk-3 For This Useful Post:
Alt Today
Les Paul

Beitrag Sponsored Links

__________________
This advertising will not be shown in this way to registered members.
Register your free account today and become a member on MyLesPaul.com
   
Unread 05-01-2009, 05:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

In an effort to get rid of the dents I first need to remove the left over lacquer from the dents themselves. I use a sharp knife to gently pick away the lacquer, trying not to disturb the wood itself.



The next step is to drop a few drops of water on the dent and let is soak in for a few seconds, then you place a piece of cloth or paper towel over the dent and apply a very hot iron. This causes the water in the fibers to boil very quickly and expand all of those crushed wood fibers. This is all very time sensitive, so I was unable to snap any shots without a helper, but I think you get the idea. The result is pictured Below.





I then applied the filler and set the guitar aside to dry.





jbrybar likes this.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 832
Thanks: 5
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Nice job.
SABLE is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 06:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Mongrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Melbourne FL
Posts: 637
Thanks: 15
Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Very cool trick there, thanks for the info!
__________________
I feel more like I do now than I did awhile ago.


http://www.mongrelaudio.zoomshare.com/0.html


Purple burst "Trash Paul" (kit build) stock hardware.
Les Paul clone ground up build..UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Jackson Performer, stock w/Floyd rose.
"Mongrel" strat, Unknown Humbuckers, Floyd rose,
Aluminum treadplate "full body" pick guard powder coated black.
B.C. Rich Acoustic, black, lots of miles on this one!
Tiny little 15w marshall amp.
Mongrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

After letting the filler dry for about a week or so, it's time to draw our attention to the top..



I start sanding with 120 grit, changing paper often as the lacquer tends to clog up the paper.



More sanding...



Almost done...



The rest will be done by hand.

alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 07:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Using scrapers and sand paper it's important that the joint between the fretboard and body are nice and sharp, and free from old finish.



I also spend some time sanding the back, to lighten the back in areas and give the whole guitar a good hand sanding with 220 grit paper.





Just a quick mask of the fretboard and we're ready to go!

alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

First a light clear coat



On the front as well, then a quick sand with 400 grit to knock off the raised grain. Then another coat of clear to give as a nice smooth base to begin layering the colours.



Time to mix up some colours



We start with a strong yellow as the base...



...and lay it on evenly, but not too heavy.



The back gets a treatment of a red/brown shader.



It's now time for the burst. I mix up a batch of colour, and spray it on somewhat unevenly, to try to capture that faded look. Here is the guitar ready for 'bursting'



With my detail gun I lay on the shadows that will become the unfaded red under the hardware.



Some of the details..





alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 07:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

It's now time to scrape the binding. This is what makes or breaks a good finishing job in my mind. Lines should be crisp, with no errors, especially near a joint or hard to scrap areas. This is the most time consuming aspect of finishing for me. I take it slow and easy, we don't want to have squiggly lines all over the place.



The final product of all that scraping.





The head stock got a coat of clear with the rest of the guitar earlier on.



So now it's ready for the black paint.



This is what it looks like after two coats. About ten will be required.



The guitar up to this stage, resting while I clean up and get ready for the next stage.

alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 07:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

The lines get defined around the hardware that prevent the red from fading. In the end none of this will be seen, but as with any top quality product, it's the details that count.







A coat of amber, and a few coats of clear finish the job for now.



The head stock gets cleared as well.



The back is also cleared.







Next will be aging and checking, but we'll have to wait a bit for that...
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 09:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
Premium Member
 
nuance97's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,663
Thanks: 111
Thanked 49 Times in 5 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

WOW!

What a difference a refinish can make.
nuance97 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 10:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Skynyrdpicker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Montreal
Posts: 3,862
Thanks: 79
Thanked 24 Times in 12 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

You're an artist, is all I can say!
Skynyrdpicker is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 10:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

One more showing the flame a bit better.

idmanner likes this.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 10:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
V.I.P. Member
 
pinefd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,031
Thanks: 317
Thanked 514 Times in 50 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Tom, it's looking great!

A couple of questions for you, if you don't mind...

1) Since this guitar originally had an enhanced (double stained) top, do you think after sanding the top, that any of the original enhancing remained in the low spots of the flame?

2) I find it interesting that you apply a coat of clear before any color (to the top). I believe many people, including Murphy, will do a yellow or amber wash, and then clear before applying the burst. Is there a particular reason that you do it the way you do? And do you think that it either helps or hurts the 3D/movement of the flame?

Thanks!

Frank
__________________
Check out some of my personal gear at: Historic Les Paul Database



http://histrungguitars.com/
pinefd is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 10:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinefd View Post
Tom, it's looking great!

A couple of questions for you, if you don't mind...

1) Since this guitar originally had an enhanced (double stained) top, do you think after sanding the top, that any of the original enhancing remained in the low spots of the flame?

2) I find it interesting that you apply a coat of clear before any color (to the top). I believe many people, including Murphy, will do a yellow or amber wash, and then clear before applying the burst. Is there a particular reason that you do it the way you do? And do you think that it either helps or hurts the 3D/movement of the flame?

Thanks!

Frank
Hey Frank
1) yes, the double stain was quite deep, and I see no reason to remove it, and plenty of reasons to leave it.

2) to be honest, I've always done it that way because that's the way I was taught to spray furniture. The reasoning is this; You know how when you spray the first coat of finish, it raises the grain just a touch leaving a slightly rough surface that you can feel, more than see? Well, my approach is to lay on a light coat just to induce the grain raising effect, then knock down the grain with a scuff sand with burnished 220 grit (or new 400 grit).
That in turn leaves slight sanding marks, so I spray another coat of clear to smooth it out. After that tacks for a few minutes I can go ahead with the colour without having to sand the grain down on a colour coat.
I also find if you spray the colour on the bare wood it will raise the grain, and then due to the natural surface tension of the thinned lacquer you get little dots of thicker finish at each raised wood fiber contributing to a muddy look.
I once was spraying a guitar when I was very tired, and sprayed the colour before the clear sealer coats, and immediately saw what i had done, I find it that noticeable, and that objectionable.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 11:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
V.I.P. Member
 
diceman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Montana
Posts: 29,913
Thanks: 1,212
Thanked 419 Times in 83 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Incredible! I'm speechless, really!
diceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-01-2009, 11:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Shepherd's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Maple Ridge, Canada
Posts: 290
Thanks: 13
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

If you wipe the body down with a damp rag wont that raise the grain, that way you wont have that problem when you spray? I've read where alot of refinishers do this as a first step to avoid that .
Shepherd is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 12:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Jessenoah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: stuck in Lodi again
Posts: 6,308
Thanks: 405
Thanked 309 Times in 108 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

the one thing i dont like about this


is that it isnt this color






but tom's finishes are top notch!
__________________
My Website
http://jessecosta.webs.com/

My Led Zeppelin tribute band
celebrationdayband.com
Jessenoah is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 02:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
King for a Day...
 
The Thruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Croatia
Posts: 1,382
Thanks: 173
Thanked 73 Times in 7 Posts
Send a message via MSN to The Thruth
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Tom this is Amazing
The Thruth is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 03:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
V.I.P. Member
 
GooCart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Umeň, Sweden
Posts: 1,653
Thanks: 17
Thanked 156 Times in 20 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

I'm happy as a child at x-mas, sending the R8 to Tom is one of my best ideas ever.

The burst is exactly how I wanted it, but Tom really surprised me with the back, it's so much better than I ever could expect, the faded cherry red really does it. It's going to be fun to follow the next steps.
__________________
Magnus Melkersson, Sweden
GooCart is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 05:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
Premium Member
 
Ole'Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: davenport, iowa, USA
Posts: 4,921
Thanks: 144
Thanked 192 Times in 49 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Magnus-you deserve such a fine piece of work. You have made contributions here that cannot be counted. I am working on my master guided 59carve, thanks to you, and that is just one area of your generosity. Maybe more important than the 3D work is your always enthusiastic support of others- and you project your spirit of kindness through an LCD screen thousands of miles from you.

I'll bet a fair number of on-lookers are stunned at how well a skilled dent raising can level wounds.

Tom's grain raising is the same routine I use, but hand applied. And, I have had great results with non-woven abrasive pads for knocking off those small raised fibers-unlike steel wool, no rusting particles are left behind. I think Tom would agree that sometimes you get a piece of wood the fights back. You raise the grain but sanding paper just shoves them down-hiding and ready to leap out and attack a later coat - I hate when that happens.That is where those pads help. They pull the grain fibers out of the wood. It is after that, that I fill. It is the old rule-a finish is only as good as the prep.Ole'Lefty
Ole'Lefty is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 06:37 AM   #21 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ole'Lefty View Post
I think Tom would agree that sometimes you get a piece of wood the fights back. You raise the grain but sanding paper just shoves them down-hiding and ready to leap out and attack a later coat
Agree 100%
Thats why I don't use the water method - it seems when you sand off the fuzzies they just lay back down, whereas if you lay down some lacquer it glues them in the upright position where you can then sand them off without them just laying back down again.

Thanks to everyone for their nice comments!
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 06:47 AM   #22 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
ExNihilo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Posts: 1,447
Thanks: 39
Thanked 380 Times in 33 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Hi Frank, I think Tom's way of clear before color does enhance the 3d of the maple. Last summer I refinished a Yamaha SG 1000 and went color first. It was nice, but not nearly as eye popping.

Magnus, I really agree with you about the back.... I think it was really ugly before (not meaning to offend). Now look at how nicely it is all tied together. Beautiful.

Great work Tom!
ExNihilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 07:28 AM   #23 (permalink)
V.I.P. Member
 
GooCart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Umeň, Sweden
Posts: 1,653
Thanks: 17
Thanked 156 Times in 20 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

I could ask this via email Tom, but it's maybe of public interest,
How long must the nitro cure before the final steps?

OT, the spring is finally here in the north of Sweden, I've loaded my old smoker with some mesquite and I'm looking forward to a couple of hours of BBQ, this is really how life was supposed to be.

Introducing a '59 Melody Maker, owned by my brother in law.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 59MelodyMaker.jpg (75.7 KB, 143 views)
__________________
Magnus Melkersson, Sweden
GooCart is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 07:48 AM   #24 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Rhubarb Red's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK
Posts: 264
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post
Re: Les Paul Refinish

I always think the mark of a true craftsman/artisan is the effort they put into the details no one will ever see. The hack will say "who knows, so who cares?" but the cherry "ghosting" on the switch ring, pick guard and knobs are testament to Tom's craftsmanship (the hand tools in the background on some of the pics are a also a bit of a clue).

And I love the fact you left the original cherry in the lips of the control cavities. That looks incredibly cool!

The bits I'm curious to know (all yet to be done) are the aging process and the application of the Les Paul logo. I know people are rightly reluctant to show this particular silk screening process on their home builds (for fear of Gibson's hair-trigger lawyers) but, as this is the restoration of a genuine Gibson, I can't imaging a phalanx of Gibson's lawyers beating a trail from Memphis to Ontario to issue writs.

But this is an education. I'm part-way though a preliminary build (which I call Project Mercury. When I get to Project Gemini, I'll start a thread) and haven't given much thought to the finishing, but this has inspired me to keep ploughing on as I've learned an awful lot.

Great work!
Rhubarb Red is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 07:28 PM   #25 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by GooCart View Post
I could ask this via email Tom, but it's maybe of public interest,
How long must the nitro cure before the final steps?

OT, the spring is finally here in the north of Sweden, I've loaded my old smoker with some mesquite and I'm looking forward to a couple of hours of BBQ, this is really how life was supposed to be.

Introducing a '59 Melody Maker, owned by my brother in law.
Normally I would wait six weeks to let the nitro off gas and then sand and buff, but in keeping with the vintage feel, we want to have some finish sinking into the grain a tad, so I'll probably leave it a week, then sand and buff, then the aging starts
Great looking melody maker, I'll bet it sounds great too!
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-02-2009, 07:30 PM   #26 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhubarb Red View Post
I always think the mark of a true craftsman/artisan is the effort they put into the details no one will ever see. The hack will say "who knows, so who cares?" but the cherry "ghosting" on the switch ring, pick guard and knobs are testament to Tom's craftsmanship (the hand tools in the background on some of the pics are a also a bit of a clue).

And I love the fact you left the original cherry in the lips of the control cavities. That looks incredibly cool!

The bits I'm curious to know (all yet to be done) are the aging process and the application of the Les Paul logo. I know people are rightly reluctant to show this particular silk screening process on their home builds (for fear of Gibson's hair-trigger lawyers) but, as this is the restoration of a genuine Gibson, I can't imaging a phalanx of Gibson's lawyers beating a trail from Memphis to Ontario to issue writs.

But this is an education. I'm part-way though a preliminary build (which I call Project Mercury. When I get to Project Gemini, I'll start a thread) and haven't given much thought to the finishing, but this has inspired me to keep ploughing on as I've learned an awful lot.

Great work!
I will document the 'Les Paul' logo, and the aging/checking as well once I get to it, but it isn't all that tricky.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-14-2009, 05:09 AM   #27 (permalink)
King for a Day...
 
The Thruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Croatia
Posts: 1,382
Thanks: 173
Thanked 73 Times in 7 Posts
Send a message via MSN to The Thruth
Re: Les Paul Refinish

any new pictures?
The Thruth is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-15-2009, 04:21 AM   #28 (permalink)
MLP Sponsor
 
alk-3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Guelph Ontario
Posts: 1,886
Thanks: 56
Thanked 409 Times in 16 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Thruth View Post
any new pictures?
should be doing the aging this coming week, so updates are on the way.
alk-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-15-2009, 05:49 AM   #29 (permalink)
King for a Day...
 
The Thruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Croatia
Posts: 1,382
Thanks: 173
Thanked 73 Times in 7 Posts
Send a message via MSN to The Thruth
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Quote:
Originally Posted by alk-3 View Post
should be doing the aging this coming week, so updates are on the way.
nice i can't wait to see new pictures
The Thruth is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-15-2009, 07:45 AM   #30 (permalink)
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Honduras
Posts: 19,042
Thanks: 2,280
Thanked 1,079 Times in 302 Posts
Re: Les Paul Refinish

Just Amazing man...... this just got my " i need to paint something" spark ignited!!!!

I'm leaning a lot here thanks to amazing people like yourself, so thank you very much for your time and knowledge.

Nico.
nicolasrivera is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:48 PM.


Our Network: PRS Guitar Forum | Luthier Forum | SG Guitar Forum | Marshall Amp Forum | Music Gear Forum | 7 String Guitar Forum | Acoustic Guitar Forum

MyLesPaul proudly supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Copyright © 2006-2014, MyLesPaul.com. All Rights Reserved.