Have a puzzle-- the lacquer finish is starting to stick to the insides of the case as some spots.  It's almost like something is plasticizing the lacquer.  I have not had this happen on ANY other instruments, including other mandos that are in identical cases. We're looking at the idea of touching up/topcoating those areas and see what happens.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I am stumped, the owner is stumped, another well-known and highly-regarded luthier is also stumped.  We need some help here.........




Dave Fox

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I feel like I'm missing some information Dave. Is this a new instrument or finish? What areas are softening- places where the instrument is handled?

 The vera first thing I would do is switch cases. If you haven't done this yet... 

I built this for a customer about 5 years ago.  I don't know if he uses any kind of polish.  The instrument in question happens to be the one that is my avatar, not that it makes any difference.  I talked with the luthier that he took it to, earlier today and we're both kind of stumped on this and that's why I brought the question here.


We have not tried switching cases yet. 


The locations that seem to be the most the upper and lower points where the case is somewhat snug; the back of the neck where it lays on the neck support; starting to show up on the back.


The finish is Deft spray lacquer, semi-gloss.The stain was alcohol-based Fiebing dye.  After buffing, Johnson's paste wax is applied.


This is the same finish that goes on ALL my instruments, is the same finish on my own mando, and my mando is in the same make/model case - Bobelock.


I have had NO other problems that I know of.  This is the only one.


We're tentatively wondering if it could be personal chemical makeup of his skin that would cause this?


In the meantime, we're looking at doing some touch-up and shooting new lacquer over the spots, and either modifying or changing cases.


Hope that helps fill in the gaps.  If I missed a gap, ask and I'll fill it in.  :)




Dave Fox

 Dave, I heard of a story like this years ago, and it turned out that the owners wife had decided to get the cigarette smell out of the case (it was a used guitar) by using some kind of chemical cleaner/shampoo on the interior of the case.  I am still thinking that if that case is replaced, the problem will be gone. 

I'm with Kerry. Based on your description of the areas involved, it sounds case-related rather than skin-contact-related.

I'm with Kerry too. Sounds more like a case 'problem'. Was any 'perfume' sprayed in the case, other deodorizer?  Glue fumes? 

Ask the owner these questions.

I don't know if they used any sprays in the case or not.....will ask on that, and I don't know as there are any smokers in the house, but I will ask on that, too. I do know that he has a water weenie/humidifier in the case but I don't believe that would cause it.

The case was a brand new case. I ordered and supplied that, so I know the original condiiton was new when delivered.

I don't know if he used any polishes, but.....since someone asked if he uses any guitar polishes, are there problems with some?

Thanks all,

Dave Fox

I meant are there issues with specific polishes?  Yeah, I want to find the cause, if possible, before doing anything.  No, I'm not going to rape



Sounds like the glue used on the case lining is evaporating/vaporizing and softening up the lacquer.

Which leads us back too getting another case.

  Dave, just because the case was great when it was new (uncontaminated) certainly doesnt mean something has not happened to it.

The earlier bug spray comment really got me thinking too, and I hope that you have asked the owner about possible contamination..

   It's not hard to imagine the case open on the ground at a festival, and someone stepping aside right beside the case to spray OFF all over themselves and totally dosing the case is it?

Ask him what was last time he was at a festival... 


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