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View Full Version : chipped varnish / clearcoat - rapairable?



stanpeter
11-15-2011, 10:10 AM
I was offered this Ovation/Applause uke secondhand for little dough, with a small chip on top of the headstock. My question would be: can this be repaired or fixed in a way that it is less noticeable?

29987

I was allready looking into these ukes long before I spotted this with no success. Even though they do not get the greatest of reviews (played acoustically). That's why I wouldn't buy one new (I know, I'm a cheapskate). There probably is no objective reason to have one, just UAS - it would be a nice addition. I just happen to like the looks of these.

And I know that bruises are badges of honour, but I like to add those myself.

Thanks allready for any help on this.

hoosierhiver
11-15-2011, 10:43 AM
Hard to tell, but from the pic it almost looks like it bumped into something with gold paint. I'd first try buffing it off what looks like the paint. Stew-Mac sells touch up markers though they aren't cheap, the red mahogany might match it pretty well. It doesn't seem to have much of a finish on it, a flat finish would probably be the best option. Personally, I'd ignore it and just get used to it being my beater.

stanpeter
11-15-2011, 11:03 AM
I'll try to clarify: the white spot on the rim of the headstock is the point of impact, I guess a small, sharp something. Around that, mostly to the left, you can see that the varnish has come off, with a flake still hanging on underneath the white spot. To the left, the moonshape, that's a piece where the finish has cracked off but still is in place. The more yellowish line more to the left looks to me as a slight discoloration of the wood.

It's a shame that it's right at the headstock, which for these ukes is a part of the signature look. Which makes it more of an issue to me.

olgoat52
11-15-2011, 11:09 AM
Ovation has used a polyurethane finish and 2 part systems for ages and they are not very repairable. Not like a lacquer finish. Lacquer will melt into itself on a repair making it much more repairable. My guess is that you will only succeed in making it worse. At the very most, you could dab some brushing lacquer on to seal the area where the poly is fractured but you will still see the fracture. It is pretty much a "plastic" finish.

tonewood
11-15-2011, 07:25 PM
You could strip the whole neck. Not that big a deal, uke necks are small. But be careful of rolling over any of the edges with your sandpaper and be careful around your headstock laminate. Other wise you will own a no name brand.I would leave it.

Liam Ryan
11-15-2011, 11:50 PM
I played an applause brand guitar once...............I'll never that 20 seconds back.

Rick Turner
11-16-2011, 02:27 AM
What you're seeing is probably a bit of delamination of the finish in addition to the missing material. It can be repaired with thin superglue followed with thick superglue...if you know what you're doing. There is absolutely no need to strip the neck and refinish. However, finish touch-up and repair is a pro-level thing. Amateurs almost always make a fix look worse than the original damage. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

BTW, nitrocellulose lacquer is "a plastic finish", and does not repair nearly as well as too many luthiers claim it does. Sure, you can touch up and over-spray and it may go out of the shop looking good, but in six months, the "repair" usually sticks out like a sore thumb as the fresh lacquer shrinks. Modern catalyzed finishes, done properly, are likely to look much better down the road than the sure-to-crack'n'check nitro lacquer of the past 75 years. Nitro is inherently unstable. And I'm getting tired of all that "but I like the look of crazed lacquer" stuff. Yeah, your wrinkled face is going to look really good in 75 years, too... (BTW, I use 75 as an approximate beginning of the use of nitro on guitars and ukes...and it happens to be one of the time periods stated as the lifetime for nitro by DuPont chemists...)

ksquine
11-16-2011, 08:35 AM
Wow....You guys are so kind. On the guitar forums, an Ovation would be the target of scorn and ridicule....people would suggest a wood chipper as the best fix for an Ovation :p

olgoat52
11-16-2011, 08:42 AM
It's been 29 years since I was an apprentice luthier so that gives me 46 more years before my work comes back to haunt me. That's a bit of a relief. :)


What you're seeing is probably a bit of delamination of the finish in addition to the missing material. It can be repaired with thin superglue followed with thick superglue...if you know what you're doing. There is absolutely no need to strip the neck and refinish. However, finish touch-up and repair is a pro-level thing. Amateurs almost always make a fix look worse than the original damage. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

BTW, nitrocellulose lacquer is "a plastic finish", and does not repair nearly as well as too many luthiers claim it does. Sure, you can touch up and over-spray and it may go out of the shop looking good, but in six months, the "repair" usually sticks out like a sore thumb as the fresh lacquer shrinks. Modern catalyzed finishes, done properly, are likely to look much better down the road than the sure-to-crack'n'check nitro lacquer of the past 75 years. Nitro is inherently unstable. And I'm getting tired of all that "but I like the look of crazed lacquer" stuff. Yeah, your wrinkled face is going to look really good in 75 years, too... (BTW, I use 75 as an approximate beginning of the use of nitro on guitars and ukes...and it happens to be one of the time periods stated as the lifetime for nitro by DuPont chemists...)

stanpeter
11-17-2011, 11:02 AM
I played an applause brand guitar once...............I'll never that 20 seconds back.
I don't fully get that, but I guess it's not a very positive note ;)

But, as I did some reading up:
Ovation uses catalysed polyester on their necks to give it that thick glassy satin finish. Problem with these catalysed finishes is that, after applied and hardened, they cannot be softened again so that spot-repairs can blend in. So, most repairs will probably show the edges between the fill and the gap.

As many suggest CA glue to do the filling (I looked up the 'tips on glue' on the 'Tube) it would be a long way job in building up the layers. This may work for cracks, but in my opinion is not the way to tackle this one.
Then I remembered that I once saw repairs done in marble and Corian using acrylic epoxy, and I use the stuff to stick things together.
Like the poly(filler) uses a hardening agent, this epoxy is a mixture of resin and hardener. Shrinking and hardness can be altered in changing the amount of hardener. My guess is that this would be the stuff to use.
Only problem that I'm stuck with now is in getting the repair blend in with the existing finish. I guess that I will try chipping of the loose bits (as little as possible), sand a small area around the spot and taking away the sharp edge, generously fill in with the epoxy (maybe in layers) and then try to sand or scrape it down, maybe lightly buff it with my polishing wheel. For the matte finish I have some rubbing compound that takes the gloss out of paints so that could get me there (ever seen an accident between a matte black Beemer and a burger?), or I could stop on the first stage of buffing and polishing.

I'm a handy man so I can get things done. But I'm not a luthier.

I'll get the damn thing and just try it. Heck, for the little this one costs to sooth my UAS for a couple of weeks :)

Rick Turner
11-17-2011, 01:52 PM
I would use thin CA glue to seal and help adhesion, and then thick CA to fill. It's not that big of a deal...if you know the techniques. If you try this DO NOT use superglue accelerator which can cause the glue to foam. Let the glue harden in its own time.

Rick Turner
11-17-2011, 01:55 PM
You're kind of overthinking this, too. Forget catalyzed stuff unless you want to try some of the UV cured dental repair tricks. CA will do what you want. No, you won't get perfect "burn in", but you can do a pretty decent job with it.

Philstix
11-17-2011, 03:28 PM
I have done this exact repair to an Ovation guitar. Do what Rick says. Don't rush it. It will look fine.

coolproof
11-22-2011, 02:42 PM
Superglue works for small dings and cracks in those thick lacquered finishes and if medium thick it can be built up, but as said it needs some skill in sanding and filing down then polishing with metal polish. Avoid rubbing the original finish too much as it will show lighter shade.
You could use clear nail varnish thinned with acetone to get penetration, then build up with normal strength straight from the bottle. The advantage with this is it can easily be removed with acetone if you want to redo it by another method in future.
Ordinary shellac with or without added colour is often used for touching up violins or fine furniture. Its quick and cheap and removes easily with alcohol on a swab or cotton bud.
C