So I'm trying to fill a couple of small areas on my cousin's 1933 Gibson L-3 and I used Super Glue, OK, so then I decide to hit it with the tinniest drop of accelerator with a pipette.  I picked up the pipette and without applying any more pressure than what it takes to gently carry it over the the instrument, it shoots a long broad stream all across the entire guitar top!!!!!!!  We are talking a four-five inch wide spray from the right shoulder to the lower left bout of an otherwise beautifully preserved finish - not even any lacquer checking!  

Have I just completely ruined his guitar?  Is there any salvaging the finish?  Should I just take some rope and find myself a good tree from which to hang myself?

Please advise.  Thank you.

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That superglue is dangerous stuff. I'd try novus or warm water and elbow grease, but you might be out of luck. No easy solution on this one.

But don't hang yourself. Stuff happens.
I've never hit lacquer with just accelerator... (superglue, yes. accelerator, no).... does it do the same damage as the CA itself? If the finish is eaten, it's done. Locate the best re-fin person you can find and pay him/her whatever they ask. Be right upfront with you cousin about the accident and beg forgiveness. He'll probably feel as badly for you as the guitar.

About 7 or so years ago, a guy brought me his treasured 80's strat for a refret. He was the local "young blues wizard" and to refret his guitar was quite a feather in my cap and made for good advertising with his peers and fans. To make a long story short, I dropped the body on the concrete floor and made a deep (and relatively wide) ding on the face. I'll never forget watching that guitar -in slow motion- fall and hit the deck.

The ding in the body was an easy-enough fix, but matching the special Fender color (a light metallic ice-blue) was impossible. I finally took the body to an auto-parts store that could computer-match the color, and they mixed me up a pint for a hefty fee. But not near as hefty as the auto body shop who sprayed the coats and clear-coated it with whatever high-tech acrylic they were using. The fret job was gratis and and I picked-up every nickel of the refin. My customer understood 100%, he loved the story and he's still a customer today. We laugh about it... sorta'.

Anyway, you're not the Lone Ranger and it's not the end of the world. Lessons learned the hard way are the best way. Good luck.
Thank you for your encouraging words. Indeed the accelerator ate into the finish - but the good news is that it evaporated so quickly that it did not eat all the way down to the wood.
From what I understand a stream of accelerator sprayed onto the top.
I've sprayed accelerator on lacquer and it has never damaged the finish. Are you sure it's damaged?

Oh yes, it's certainly damaged. Think fishing lure in a Styrofoam cup, but not all the way to the wood. I'm hoping it can be sanded and polished out.
I have had similar horror stories, and have paid the price to make things even. Live and learn, and knock on wood. Unfortunately, a 1933 finish has value. If you have to refinish the guitar it will still have lost a good portion of it's vintage market value. It would be fair to consider that as well. Take it to an expert restoration finish person. Get an evaluation and call your cousin with the news and all possible options before more action. I hope it works out. Tom
Thanks, I'll definitely contact him. I doubt he'll want a refinish for precisely the reason you've brought up.
FIrst thing to do is nothing at all. Let the area dry absolutely before trying any polishing. Now, without seeing it in person, there's no way I can estimate the drying time or even make any direct suggestions, but for sure the finish has to be as free from solvents as possible. If there's been appreciable "melting in" then the drying time can take weeks at least.

That said, if there's surface damage to the finish, chances are it will need to be block sanded with, say, 1200 grit before polishing. I've spilled lots of accelerator on lots of finishes and have yet to see the damage be too deep. However, with a splash this big, it's difficult to say.

Couldn't hurt to get some on-the-spot advice from a competent pro. . .
I'm confused. I've also never experienced a problem with accelerator alone on nitro. CA can make the nitro soft and accelerating the glue can cause issues but when no CA is involved why is there so much damage? Now if it was super glue remover splashed on the guitar, that would make sense to me.
I'm confused also. Sorry that this isn't very helpful. I thought there was thin superglue spilled on the guitar--must not have read the post carefully. Accelerator eats nitro? Is it some other finish?
Letting it fully cure makes sense. The splash appears pretty bad to me, but I'm also a little freaked out by the whole thing. It does not appear to have reached the wood and maybe not the stain either - which is good. However, I'm concerned that some of the little splashed craters may be deeper than the surrounding good finish and I'm concerned that once polished, their will be little smooth divots where the deeper splashes once were - unless I sand the finish down too thin. I don't yet know if this likely or unlikely, but I've attached some pictures. The first two are with both camera and light source at extreme angles to show the texture of the damage. The last one is a closeup of the second picture only with the camera pointed at about 30-35 degrees to the surface and the light source more top-lit. I hope this gives you some clarification on the matter at hand. Photos are of the worst portions.

I so appreciate everyone's help and encouraging words here! Thank you!


Its serious, but you got lucky in that the laquer didn't sink or shrink. But it looks quite brittle, don't polish it or block sand it! Try on 1 area 50/50 lacquer/lacquer thinner. Feed it in at 1 spot with an ultra fine point artists brush. Again, don't brush it on, feed it into the damaged area. You'll see it wick in. 3 applications, once every 30 minutes should melt the new lacquer with the old. do this for as many days as it takes to bring the new lacquer level to the existing. Let it sit for a week and decide whether or not to add more applications.


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