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I have a very nice banjo around 3 years old, it has very fine ring cracks in the lacquer around the back of the neck right from the edge of the finger board to the other edge. There are about 12 of these very fine cracks and can only be seen in direct sunlight. Where the crack in the lacquer goes over the top of the neck binding it is clearly visible because it soaks up the sweat from my hands. Result is a dirty mark as if I drew a pencil mark on top of the binding. What would be the best method to treat this. The banjo is a Recording King Elight 75. I haave noticed that the Resonators lacquer is a lot thicker than the neck. Could that be the reason for all of thoes ring cracks around the neck? Ken

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The reason the lacquer cracked on the neck and not the resonator is probably that there is more wood movement in the neck, and the lacquer used isn't flexible enough to withstand it, or is too thick (a thick finish will check more easily than a thin finish). Of course this assumes there are no unseen wood or joint problems and that the storage temp and rh are favourable.

A friend of mine Russ Wooton built me a guitar in 98. He had a workshop on a housing estate, so at the time he hand brushed them with Rutins Clear Coat Plasic Floor coating as he did not want to upset the neighbours with the smell of thinners in the back gardens. He used this product for many years and only changed to Nitro when he moved house. The guitar has not suffered in any way over the years apart from some buckle marks on the back from a band member I lent it to at practice times. The coat was thick enough so I just cut it back. A very forgiving finish no cracks no nothing. Has any body else used this product?

Russ Wooton builds very fine guitars.

What do you mean by 'cut it back'? Were you able to get the dirty mark over the binding out?

Btw we share two thirds of a name, which was the original reason for my interest in the thread. I was afraid I'd been hacked lol.

Cut it back? The guitars back was damaged from belt buckles as a lady friend played it at practices. So I used Tee Cut and cut it back about Thousands of an inch - Could have been more and just polished it up. The guitar has a plastic finish.

The banjo's Nitro so I'm going to tackle it a different way. Do some research first.

Personally I don't usually fuss much over checked lacquer (it does irk my anal retentive side, but 'fixing' them isn't often justifiable in my mind, so I take a pill and leave it be) but if that one over the binding that gets dirty bug you that much, Im not aware of any treatments to remove such dirt effectively other than mechanical removal and subsequent lacquer touchup - which should be easy since it's nitro. I would fashion a little tool like a dental pick to have a pointed shape with sharp scraping edges to scrape away the offending dirt carefully. Bonus points if you don't have to go right through the lacquer or colour that may be present. Then drop fill as necessary, let dry, level and polish.

Thank's Andrew, the sight of a ugly dirty mark affends me, every time I look at it. It is at the 20th fret and it bugs me. There are other ones that may open up and let the dirt in. Well that's life.

If there are other cracks in 'high traffic areas, you can seal them with some very thin nitro applied with a teensy brush. If you're careful with application you may get away with just a quick buffing of the area after it's well dried. Otherwise you might have some levelling to do. Dont get too carried away, you could spend a lot of time chasing down finish checks this way.
Hi Kenneth,
Small world - I also own a Wootton and have known Russ for over 40 years! Considering how few guitars he builds, this is such a coincidence. Mine also dates from '98, fantastic guitar, though I had thought mine was nitro finish. It does have a few finish issues, but I put that down to the hostle environment here. Good to meet another Wootton enthusiast!

Hi Ian,

Very small world. I use't to sing with Russ in the late 60's, maybe early 70's. We went to the same folk club together in Stourport worcestershire Uk. My guitar is also a 98 and is number 26. I had a Martin D35 before and the differance is like chalk and cheese. I have not met a Martin that can compete with the tone and volume of mine. I am just putting some Waverlys on as I find the neck heavy. I remember Russ when started to make guitars. He once told me it took him 120 hours to complete one. I wonder if he is any faster now. One things for sure you won't need a neck reset, as it goes through the body on to a block. No dove tail. Be interesting to know you guitar number.

 "One things for sure you won't need a neck reset, as it goes through the body on to a block. No dove tail"

That only guarantees that you won't be able to do a neck reset, not that you won't need one.

Big difference.

Yup.

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