Fender Telecaster Re-refinish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cdscarter, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. cdscarter

    cdscarter Senior Member

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    So, after a bit of an 'accident', I have finally decided to refinish my 1952 AVRI Telecaster - again. This started like as a 2006(?) Blonde Telecaster with a black guard that I got at a decent price back in the UK. Had a few nicks and dings in it but I bought it with the intention of refinishing it. I don't have any pictures of it prior to it's first refinish but, after a bit of trial and error, I managed to get a decent result in the Sherwood Green. I even managed a light relic job with some freeze spray and some well placed knocks. Then it got 'damaged' and I'm starting again.

    So this is what we have to work with:


    In this picture you can see the light relic, the wear on the forearm actual was unintended, was playing with a chunky bracelet, worked out alright.


    And this is where I have left it for tonight:


    I attempted to begin stripping the finish today, but I didn't get pictures. They'll be up tomorrow. Didn't work as well as I planned though. There is a polyurethane sealer coat under the nitrocellulose finish which I didn't remove last time I refinished. The paint stripper I used last time couldn't take it off, this time I'm hoping I can sand it off.

    The hope is to have an aged, sea foam green finish. Light relic.

    More to come tomorrow...
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  2. mux164

    mux164 Senior Member

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    Dude pictures aren't working, Photobucket has gone to shit.
     
  3. 1981 LPC

    1981 LPC Senior Member

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    Yeah. After 11 years I deleted my account. $400 for third party hosting is never going to happen. Use Imgur.
     
  4. mux164

    mux164 Senior Member

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    I recently downloaded all mine back, just in case I didn't have them took a few hours, I just use this sites software or Facebook to post them now
     
  5. cdscarter

    cdscarter Senior Member

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    So it took a fair bit longer than planned before I could get back to work on this guitar. I've brought it back to the UK with me where I have access to my grandad's workshop again. I managed to strip of the top layer of the nitrocellulose lacquer that I had used to originally refinish this guitar. But the undercoat of 'plastic' (only way you can describe it - it was so thick) was a lot more work.

    I tried sanding through it but it was basically untouchable and clogged up any sander I used. So I took it to the extreme and whipped out the blow torch.



    Wasn't my smartest idea. It did take the bottom coat off, but regularly set it alight and the fumes were noxious. Decided I would be better investing in a decent heat gun, this the job a lot better. You can see how thick that coating was. I wanted to get down to the bare wood. One issue I did run into what the back of the guitar showing some separation between the two pieces of the body. I'm assuming this is from the extreme amount of heat used - the body was too hot to touch many times. But it doesn't seem to be going all the way through and I'm considering filling it in with something before finishing.


     
  6. cdscarter

    cdscarter Senior Member

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    So some more work has been completed on the telecaster. In a moment of madness, I decided I wanted to make it a little more comfortable to play so decided to shape an arm contour and belly cut into the guitar. Quite pleased with how they turned out. Also order the nitrocellulose sprays which should arrive this afternoon. Hoping to finish spraying by the end of next week.

    The guitar looks pretty burnt here. After some sanding it did look better but I am using a white nitrocellulose primer first to hopefully make sure the burn marks don't cause any issues with the surf green finish.

    image1 (2).JPG

    Rough cuts for the arm contour and the belly cutaway. Did this by eye first, didn't like the result and decided I should have probably used some markers first to make sure it looked more even and flowed better.

    image2 (2).JPG

    image3 (3).JPG

    And this is where I have ended up. I have gone over it several times to ensure I have removed almost all of the old 'plastic' coating. I think I have gotten most of it. The edges, cutaway and the neck area are proving the most difficult. But I will see what I can do.

    image4 (1).JPG
    image6.JPG

    You can see in this final picture the scratches that are still visible. I have sanded this guitar up to I think 240 grit. I definitely went up to 120 on the orbital sander in an attempt to remove the remaining lacquer. You can't feel them by hand, can't even feel them if you run your nail over them. Got some 320 grit paper the other day and I am hoping that will get the worse of them out. If not, hopefully they won't show once it is all painted.

    One question I do need answering is whether I will need grain filler for the parts I have carved out? The rest of the guitar should still have the old lacquer stuck inside the grain, but obviously I have gone a lot deeper with the cutouts. Any help will be appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. fordmugg

    fordmugg Senior Member

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    I for some reason like the look if it in the pics above...but I see your going for that burnt look, in below post...nice project, good luck
     
  8. fretman_2

    fretman_2 Senior Member

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    What's the wood for the body??
     
  9. cdscarter

    cdscarter Senior Member

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    I believe it is an Ash body.
     
  10. cdscarter

    cdscarter Senior Member

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    So it took a little longer for me to update this thread but I got a little sidetracked on another guitar building project with a friend of mine.

    To make sure I sanded out as many of the scratches as I could, I did a light dusting of black primer paint before sanding it all off and repeating.

    image1 (3).JPG

    I don't have any pictures of it after the final sanding prior to painting. But I started with white nitrocellulose primer and did about three coats. Lightly sanding with 1200 grit on the final coat, just to level things out a bit.

    image4 (2).JPG image5 (1).JPG image6 (1).JPG

    You can see in the above picture that the grain still shows through a bit. At this point I realised that I should have probably filled the wood grain to get a more even surface. However, I decided to go ahead with the final coat of primer hoping that the layers of colour and clear coat would even it out a bit more.

    This is where I finished off for the primer.

    image7.JPG

    I was quite happy with the result. Waited a day or two before I started spraying the colour due to weather. And I didn't take many pictures between here and finishing.

    This is the only 'in progress' shot I actually took. Completely forgot after that.

    image1 (4).JPG

    However, I managed to get three or four coats of colour and probably five coats (three passed per coat) of clear on before I left it for a week to dry. I could probably due with waiting a bit longer, however I am on a bit of a time limit to finish this project so after a week, I took a chance and began wet sanding. Worked my way from 800 grit up to 2500 grit before polishing by hand. At the start of this project I had thought of ageing it, but wasn't so sure how confident I was in getting a decent result and whether I wanted to ruin what appeared to be a good finish. However, the grain didn't completely level out, which already made the guitar look a little older and then, during wet sanding, I sanded through the green and a bit of the primer on the back. Luckily in the right place. So this pushed my hand and made an attempt at ageing.

    This is after putting the pickguard back on. Just wanted to see what it looked like before I went to sleep that night.

    image2 (4).JPG

    And this is how it looks at the moment. I'm debating whether to add some checking to it as there is already a bit on the headstock. I'll have to think about this. But overall I am very pleased with how it has turned out. You can only see the 'wear' on the forearm here, but there is a little bit on the back cutout and also on the inside edge by the neck. I will try to get some better pictures tomorrow when, hopefully, it isn't raining. But until then...

    image3 (5).JPG
     
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  11. tourmalet

    tourmalet Member

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    Yup, something good happening here. I thinking of stripping my Mex tele and spraying some nitro, so I'm following the method in this thread. Lots more photos please !
     

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