This LP had the worst water damage, Maple cap joint release and even began to let go of the mahogany. One more will receive the same treatment. Oxalic acid to bleach out stains. If the bleaching is unsuccessful then i have some interesting paint options i will run with.  Since i will lose the correct spacing for Hardware mounting screws I will use some complementary pieces of wood for a center strip and then use that same wood for the binding on the body and the FB.  

oh and who knows what the number 5 on the neck joint means? 

Tags: Les, Nashville, flood, pauls, reconstruction, survivors

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If you're keen on using a transparent finish, try the other methods we offered. Try spraying household bleach and neutralizing it with Sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate (sold under Anti-Chlor or such at a aquarium or pet store). You can buy high est Peroxide at the drug store. Lastly, the two-part sodium hydroxide/hydrogen peroxide product may give you what you want. It's worth experimenting. From what I remember, oxalic acid only removes the black part of the water stain.

Well Robbie...youre tempting me....REALLY tempting me...I am slightly concerned about how much sanding will be required after using some of the more aggressive treatments..but...Maybe i Spoke to soon. I will sleep on it and get back to you. Thanks for the nudge. They say "don't quit a minute before the miracle" Maybe this is one of those cases. 

Thanks again man! 

Perhaps you can try it on the one with the largest gap between the bookmatched maple halves?

Can you show us what it looks like now?

Please forgive my Cameras abilities here. Pretty weak...The one on the right is the worst it is darker hear because i just rinsed it with the bleach and water solution to pull of the last run of oxalic and the one on the left is almost dry from the same process. 

IF you can see on the right one in the lower right hand area there are stripes that are running diagonal to the grain. and by the selector switch hole and in between the pickup pockets. These areas are the most damaged and where the water stain re appears. The dark spot just below the bridge PU pocket is just a shadow in the image. It's not present as i look them. Just the camera.

On the left on the water damage is primarily on the left. Some of the darker spots just aren't quite dry yet but in the lighter bleached grain you can barely see the water stains " when dry" 

But whatcha think?

Getting there! I was re-reading George Franks book - he has a chapter called "Making Wood Colorless" - and he says that concentrated peroxide will make wood as white and featureless as paper. I wonder if this means it could wash the flame out since it really goes after the reds?

BTW, I hope you have excellent ventilation.

stripes that are running diagonal to the grain. and by the selector switch hole and in between the pickup pockets. These areas are the most damaged and where the water stain re appears. The dark spot just below the bridge PU pocket is just a shadow in the image.

I have never seen flame maple that didn't have stripes going diagonal to the grain.  The lines do look more emphasized when they do not have a finish on them, especially with liquids poured on them.  The earlier pictures looked nicer than the later 'processed' pictures.  Hell I have a few flame maple guitars around and these unfinished flood survivors look much better.

The selector switch is covered when the poker-chip-rhythm-treble-ring-thing is installed.  I wouldn't worry too much what's around where any of the hardware goes, it will likely get abused anyways in those areas, if these guitars see heavy use.

Please please please don't bleach the hell out of these!!!


I would worry more about what color to stain them, or just leave them natural!  59 pearly gates?  Anything will look incredible on those tops!

Both of these tops look AMAZING AS IS!! Please for the love of god stop here and just finish them!

 Bob, can I ask: Why are you not just re-capping them? Maple caps are readily available, and not all that hard to make yourself... 

Good question, Kerry. Bob...are your familiar with Tom Bartlett tops?

You could recycle the old tops by making smaller bodied LPs like the Zemaitis. I'm guessing that if the book-matched pieces were joined as is that they might be narrower in the waist like a Z.

Here are some contour drawings for you.


 Robbie,I was just looking at the Bartlett site, I did not see a single one that was book matched, BUT there were some amazing looking tops. Are they expensive?

And I LOVED the Contour maps! Man, This Forum Rocks sometimes! 

Kerry...The posted selection of tops on the Bartlett site has dwindled over the last couple of years. Maybe he's not updating it? The price is a drop-down under shipping...US and Canada $335.

I sent Tom Bartlett an email asking him to join the thread.

If you aren't familiar with the luthier section of the forum, check out his recreation of a '59 Les Paul:

Since you liked the contour maps, here are more LP drawings I've gathered.


I dunno... after all's said & done with the efforts to sand, wash, bleach and "de-flood" the tops, I'd be sorely tempted to make them look as nice as you can (bleached, sanded, etc) refinish them in the clear-coat of choice...and then leave them alone.

Sure, they'll bear the marks of being ravaged in the flood, but there's something cool about that!  They're real survivors with the all of the scars and marks to prove it.  

I agree, they earned those stains. Clear-coat them would be very cool.


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