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Finishing/Refinishing.... Click here for finishing/refinishing prices

Finish Choices

Finish Repair and Restoration

  • Finish degradation due to aging 
  • Accidental damage
  • Water damage
  • Artifical aging

Read Interview of Steve in MelBay's Mandolin Sessions

Please read the FAQ Page for information on finish preparation, shipping, and payment.


Original Finish Repair (hover over image)

Lacquer as Finish

Lacquer is a solvent based finish similar to shellac with the added ability to resist damage by alcohol and moisture.  It’s glasslike transparency is unsurpassed by any other type of finish.   Lacquer artifacts were made as early as 5000 BC and techniques were developed for it’s use as an artistic medium circa 1600 BC in the Shang Dynasty.  Although the original resin was extracted from certain species of trees or insects, nitrocellulose based lacquer consists of cellulose nitrate (a resin made by mixing cotton, nitric and sulfuric acids) and various solvents.  Instrument grade nitrocellulose lacquer is specially formulated for acoustic instruments.  Another lacquer used in the automotive and musical instrument industries is made with an acrylic resin.   Acrylic and nitrocellulose lacquers cannot be mixed but can be layered on top of each other.

Applying a lacquer finish involves spraying or brushing no more than 4 coats in a day with at least 24 hours drying time before scuffing the surface with 400 grit abrasive paper to give it tooth for the next four coats.  It takes ten coats to build up enough of a film thickness to sufficiently protect the wood against abrasion and moisture without also being excessively thick.  After all the coats are on, it is usually left to stand for at least 2 weeks to allow solvents to gas-off, reaching sufficient hardness so it can be machine buffed to a high gloss.  Because of this lengthy process it usually takes about 3 weeks to finish an instrument.

Unlike urethanes and other cross-linked coatings which are predominantly used  by manufacturers today, a lacquer finish can be repaired without leaving any ‘witness lines’ between the old and new finish.  This is particularly advantageous in vintage restoration as most stringed instruments were finished with lacquer prior to the 1970’s.   The automotive industry provided a variety of colored lacquers such as Sea Foam Green and Fiesta Red which were used as custom colors by Fender, Gibson, and Gretsch to name a few.  

FINISHING PRICES
Builder/dealer and quantity discounts available

Solid Body

  • Stock colors/natural...........................$265.
    Custom colors...................................$290.
  • Special finishes.................................$315
    (3-tone, tobacco, iced tea sunburst,
    Candy apple, vintage blonde)

Neck

  • All maple .......................................$105.
  • Maple w/rosewood/ebony fingerboard..$95.

Neck-thru-body

  • Solid stock colors/natural..................$425.
  • Custom color..................................$465.
  • Sunbursts/metallic/candy apple.........$530.

Acoustic Guitar

Clear nitrocellulose lacquer

  • gloss finish....................................$450.
  • gloss body w/satin neck................. $380.
    (neck and body unattached)
  • tinting..........................................inquire

 

Miscellaneous

Pore filling (for open pore woods such as mahogany, rosewood, ash)

Body

thin body......$50.
deep body.....$70.

Neck....................$30.

Stripping (non catalyzed finishes)

Body....................$45.

Neck....................$35.

Polyester, Fullerplast.......inquire


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Email Steve RyderTelephone 207 329-1023 • Mailing address 280 1R Lincoln St. South Portland, ME 04106
Shop and shipping address
278A Lincoln St. So. Portland, ME 04106