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Lacquer repair

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I should have taken before pictures, but I never think about it until I've already finished. My project was to fill a pretty good dent about half an inch at it's widest and about 1/16th deep. Considering the finish thickness is measured in mils, 1/16 was deep. That being said, it was just a cosmetic thing. I've had the guitar 8 years and play it often, but pretty much exclusively in my home and it has few deep dents or scratches. Just that big one on the face.

I drop filled it. The guitar's finish is nitro cellulose lacquer, a solvent based finish. When you put a drop of new lacquer it softens the original finish and they just melt together. This dent took 4 drops to slightly overfill the dent. One drop at a time letting the drops dry at least to the touch, between drops.

There are many opinions on how long you should let the lacquer cure before scraping it flat with the top. I like to go at least 2 weeks before I want to vanish those drops with my magic scraper, a single edge razor blade and some scotch tape. Put the tape across the blade at each end, leaving some blade between the pieces of tape. Then I scrape, all while riding on about 1 mil of tape (replace frequently). So I scape until the new lacquer is higher than the surrounding by a one mil, the thickness of the tape. Then wet sand with 2000 grit on a cork block. It doesn't have to be a cork block, I just like them for more delicate sanding. Sand until there is no lacquer higher than the surrounding finish. Now it is repaired, but not shiny yet. If I had a big, commercial buffing wheel, that would polish to a mirror like gloss. I rubbed by hand and used Novus plastic polish #3, then #2, and then #1.

I think my job worked pretty well. You can barely see a slight color difference between the old and new lacquer. That will blend in with the rest in time. I have pictures of the after.





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Here's my favorites for nitro cellulose buffers and cleaners. Do you have a dull spot where your arm lays on your guitar? Try number 2 and it will shine like new.


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