I'm going to restore my first guitar (1970's Alvarez). It was all I had for many years, has been played, gigged, travelled and is somewhat worse for wear. I realize that it's not worth much but it has great sentimental value to me and I'd like to see it looking good and playing well again.
A few issues for which I would welcome some suggestions:
Much thanks in advance to the forum for sharing your thoughts.
Do a complete refret if you're going to spend that much time w/it !! Just a suggestion.....
Ditto for Tim's suggestion. I've been charging more & more over time for "partial refrets" because they end-up being just as much work (if not more) than just doing the whole refret job at once.
Regarding the finish, I defer to the experts but it seems that sanding would be more controllable than whatever chemical stripper might work. For poly, though, the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover (not their regular "paint stripper") works well.
If sanding, just tape-off the binding & work around it. If using a stripper, I'd remove it as it's too easy for most chemical strippers to sneak-under a taped line.
Headstock? Just cover and seal it up with tape 'til you're done stripping and ready to top-coat. Rosette? if it's thick-enough, it should stand-up to a light sanding and still be intact.
I just have one thing to add .Make sure that you put some paper or what ever over thr head piece and don,t let the masking tape touch the decal or you will likely remove it . .Don,t ask how I know that.Bill.............
I'd like to suggest that you not refinish this guitar. Unless you have more finishing experience than I think you have, the result will be an ugly, amateurish finish. Possibly you have gobs of experience and you wind up with a beautiful new-looking guitar. Either way, it's not going to look like your guitar any more. Aren't the battle scars it has accumulated over the years part of its sentimental value to you?
See to the frets and other structural issues.
Actually - I have quite a bit of experience finishing with most common materials used on furniture, Guitars and Cars. Started building guitars in the '80's. I just don't have a lot of experience refinishing acoustic guitars, hence the post.
Thank you for the encouraging words. Just trying to learn.
Thanks for the decal suggestion and encouragement Andrew. I have time (recently retired) and patience to work on this project.
Actually, I'm more concerned about the inlay in the headstock (MOP) than the Rosette (decal). The "wood grain" is painted on the neck, back and sides. I have no intent to replicate. Current plan is to use dark tinted lacquer (translucent black) on those surfaces - medium amber tint on the top. Finish approach is subject to revision based on what I find under the original finish as I'm a big fan of featuring wood grain as opposed to covering it. I have few illusions of restoring it to original appearance but I DO want it to look good and play well when I'm finished.
Headstock is rough due to a botched tuner upgrade (not my work - long story). I may have to veneer the headstock to hide the damage. There are a few dings in the top that will probably have to stay due to their depth. I'll post a few pics tomorrow.
Awesome. Will put the inlay under the microscope (literally) and see what I have to work with. Any suggestions to remove the original inlay or should I attempt this? Not an inlay guy (on my list of things to learn).
Poly can mean polyester or polyurethane. The former needs a heat gun or aircraft paint remover while the latter responds to conventional strippers. That's been my experience but I could stand some further enlightenment.
My correspondence with St. Louis Music from 2005 indicated that a Polyester finish was used. Sorry, I should have been more specific.
I've stripped a lot of Polyurethane coated wood and the finish on this guitar is definitely different when abraded so I tend to believe that it is Polyester.
J. R., most of these are plywood so be careful of sanding too much. As I remember the top layer is fairly thin.