I have a Gibson J-200 vintage in for repair. The original owner glued double wooden pickguards on each side and the new owner asked me to remove them and replace the original tortoise pickguard. I removed the pickguards, loosened most of the remaining glue with a damp cloth, and scraped off the residual with a single-edged razor blade using FF's cellophane tape method to narrow the exposed scraper edge. Finally, I drop-filled scratches and tiny divots using nitro and an artist's brush. After 5-6 sessions I let it dry for a week before leveling and wet sanding up to p1500. I only touched up the area to the left of the soundhole.

Now I need to polish it up. I will be using a portable drill with foam polishing pads and Turtle Wax Premium Grade Rubbing and Polishing Compounds.  I plan to use rubbing compound only on the area sanded then polish the whole top.

These compounds are semi-liquid and the drill splatters the stuff everywhere. I'm worried about getting it into the soundhole. I thought about the balloon method, but suspect a balloon would burst from friction. Perhaps a balloon used to hold a flat, flexible piece of plastic larger than the soundhole with circles of tape to stick it to the underside?

All thoughts appreciated.

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yeah, that sounds like it'd work...

Just stuff the hole with some rages.

Hi Robbie,

Just blow up the balloon like you would to cover the sound hole, then insert a chip dip lid into the hole and the balloon will keep it in place till you take it out. No need for tape.


Thanks, I did something like that...I used a piece of .018 flat polyethylene cut a bit larger than the hole. Worked fine.

Hey Cal

Thanks for the balloon/chip dip lid idea. Never heard that one. This site is absolutely the best!!

 Robbie, you really got me scared talking about razor blades to get the glue off. Why did you not just use Naptha to dissolve it? 

The pickguards seemed to have been reglued at least once and probably twice. A warm, damp rag loosened and removed 90%. Naptha another 5% but there were some blobs that were very hard and impervious to those methods. So, I very carefully shaved the blobs down until they were level with the finish. I didn't do any additional damage. The surface was pitted and scratched I assume from previous attempts to reglue.

I have used the old toilet-roll holder and piece of card . You probly need to trim the roll holder for length tho.

I like that idea!

Just finished up...turned out swell. I used a balloon and a plastic card without tape. Lots of splatter but none in the sound hole. Thanks for all your suggestions.  Here's some photos of before and after:

The pickguard is a little misaligned but I placed it over the tan line exactly.

A nice 'save' of an iconic instrument. Good & nice work, Robbie :)

Can only imagine how bad it looked in-between , thats an amazing turn-around , well done.


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