With the primer dry, I re-apply masking tape to protect the areas where the black paint has completely worn away on the original plate. This should give me the approximate three-tone plate as seen on the original. I’ll be able to feather and scratch the paint from there – reproducing the general areas, and direction of wear. Again, I’m not spraying multiple, or too thick coats here. I want to be able to rub things back fairly easily. With a single, consistent coat – I can get a decent approximation of the general application of paint left on Joe’s pickguard. Once I’ve approximated the wear by rubbing back the finish – the plate should, hopefully, wear a bit more naturally, as the guitar is played over time.
After a few days, and once the plate is fully dry and cured, I test a light grit paper to gauge just how durable the sprayed paint is. It is possible to scratch and sand off the paint as I’d hoped, but it doesn’t come off that easily. It also stands up to feathering with fine grit and micromesh too. That’s good. It means I don’t have to be too tentative as I rub the finish back.
I do notice, however, that the black coat could perhaps do with a little more fine detail, and could cover a little bit more area, towards the bottom of the plate. Comparison with some photos of the original shows a more complex wear pattern than I could likely achieve with what I have so far – so I decide to re-mask the plate, and run another pass with the black paint only.
Again, I mask over areas which will remain white or primer grey, and cover the plate with a single, consistent coat of black. This time, I add a little more overall detail to the black layer and this now looks to be a good starting point for the ageing work to the scratchplate.
Now – I just need to get the body up to the same point.