We had a customer bring in and older Gibson hollowbody whose previous owner had installed rhinestones in the headstock. He had already removed them, but wanted the holes filled and touched up.

We partially filled the holes, then went in with a layer of black lacquer, then filled to the top with clear lacquer. But in the course of leveling them we got these weird light colored areas that don't buff out where we didn't add any finish! We have done fill work and leveling before, but have never seen this particular scenario - what the heck happened, and how do we fix it! We don't do any spray finishing at this point, just minor touchups like this.

I noticed them as I was leveling, but had no idea that they weren't just scratches that would buff out....

Any help will be greatly appreciated, the customer is expecting to get it back this weekend - we thought all that was left was level and polish!


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Just looking at the pics, it looks like sand-through or buff-through the finish layer into some substrate.

Ditto to what Glen said. Hard to tell for sure from your pictures but it's likely an over lay made from a fiber material that has then been painted Black. The stuff is a lot like or may even be Black gasket material.

Your going to have to mask the inlay and spray it with an opaque Black, they follow with lacquer.

You've hit the fibre underlay.  Our schedule for this repair is:

1.  Spray a couple of coats of clear over everything to normalise the surface, particularly make a good flat coverage of the brand.   Sand the brand coverage to dead flat and make sure that you have a good intact coat over the brand area.

2.  Spray a coat of black pigmented lacquer (not dyed) over the lot including the brand.

3   Locally scrub back the new black "skinny" coat  (only) in the brand area with 0000 steel wool to reveal and blend-in the brand to the existing border of black lacquer that originally remained. (this is not difficult and doesn't leave lines like masking does).

4. Spray a slightly dyed (shader) coat(s)  of clear and black to even out the complete headstock face appearance over everything, including the brand.  This won't obscure the brand at all if the black shader is applied lightly and with some finess.

5. Clear coat with a half a dozen skinny clearcoats - wrap around the sides of the peghead to even up the appearance if you wish.

6. Flatten and buff.

That our propriety fix and the only problem is it looks better than the original Gibson effort.  To achieve a genuine look, blindfold yourself, put on a baseball mitt and spray the lacquer to give an orange peel effect and then locally heat and freeze the brand area to crack the edges along with overtightening the tuners to depress and crack the areas around the washers. I'm sort of joking there - don't try this at home. A light scuff with 0000 steel wool should help vintage and blend in the finish



Many thanks for the info!


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