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Thread: Stained wood, then clear Lacquer, or just tinted lacquer ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Stained wood, then clear Lacquer, or just tinted lacquer ?

    I have a 30s Gibson banjo uke that I am doing some repairs on. The maple neck has an area that needs refinishing- a gouge and missing finish. The neck is maple and the finish dark, so there is a striking difference in color.

    My problem is, I cannot tell if the maple was stained dark, then a clear finish applied, or if the lacquer finish had the color tint in it.

    I'd like to do a "faithful to the original" repair, but I can't find any notes on how Gibson finished these, or if there is a known general process they followed back then. Or what process I could use to determine.

    Anyone have any insight on this?
    Rodney Paul Adams

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default

    I would leave it as is if it were mine. Gibson used Nitrocellulose lacquer. If you use it, do use a respirator, because that is some pretty nasty stuff, which is why it isn't used much anymore. The Nitrocellulose lacquer does darken with age, and takes on an amber, or dark amber color. Very rich color that only comes with time though. Hard to duplicate.
    Mahalo Ke Akua
    ------------------
    Ohana SK-35 a.k.a. "IZ"
    Ohana SK-21 a.k.a. "Ku'u poki'i <Kapookie>"
    Lanikai LU-21 a.k.a. "Cinderella"
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert Uke "Lil' Lester"
    Harmony Banjo Uke a.k.a. "Bango"
    Gibson Les Paul a.k.a. "Hobo Ted"
    Epiphone Les Paul Studio a.k.a. "Barnabas"
    Epiphone Les Paul a.k.a. "Blaze"
    Gretsch Tenor Banjo a.k.a. "Jed"
    Supertone 406, 5 string Banjo a.k.a. "GrandPa Jones"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
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    Default

    BTW:Post some pictures of that thing. I've always wanted one, but would love to see pictures of it.
    Mahalo Ke Akua
    ------------------
    Ohana SK-35 a.k.a. "IZ"
    Ohana SK-21 a.k.a. "Ku'u poki'i <Kapookie>"
    Lanikai LU-21 a.k.a. "Cinderella"
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert Uke "Lil' Lester"
    Harmony Banjo Uke a.k.a. "Bango"
    Gibson Les Paul a.k.a. "Hobo Ted"
    Epiphone Les Paul Studio a.k.a. "Barnabas"
    Epiphone Les Paul a.k.a. "Blaze"
    Gretsch Tenor Banjo a.k.a. "Jed"
    Supertone 406, 5 string Banjo a.k.a. "GrandPa Jones"
    Fernendes Telecaster "Suemeh"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    2,448

    Default

    Gibson also used opaque 'paint' colours too, not stains....usually below the clear. ie as close to the wood as possible. But i wouldn't stain the actual wood though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Yakima, WA
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    Default

    Every vintage Gibson instrument that I have worked on over the years, has the color in the lacquer, not stained into the wood. After the sealer, the color coats were applied, then
    clear coated with several coats of nitro.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Virginia USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackBearUkes View Post
    Every vintage Gibson instrument that I have worked on over the years, has the color in the lacquer, not stained into the wood. After the sealer, the color coats were applied, then
    clear coated with several coats of nitro.
    Thanks Duane, close inspection pointed to colored lacquer, but I wanted to be certain.
    Rodney Paul Adams

  7. #7
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    Wales, UK
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    Just about to advise you wait for Duane to pitch in - if anyone would know, he's da man!

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