After letting the lacquer cure and shrink back – the split I’ve been working on is much more disguised in terms of visibility. Instead of telegraphing through an apparent darker undercoat – the split now looks like a slight white scratch. With a new scratchplate in place – it’s all but undetectable.
The white primer has dried in the split, and it appears to have bonded well with oversprayed, clear lacquer. However, the lacquer clearcoat has now shrunk back, into the scratch. Since I’ll have to build up the clearcoat a little bit more in this area to allow for a final flat-sanding, before polishing – I might as well try and flow a little bit more lacquer into the scratch, and try to match up the colour a little better while I’m at it.
The best way I can find to match up the colour, is by using some Light Amber nitro to tint some white primer. This gives me a better, more opaque paint to flow into, and around the scratch. I mix up a little paint, and test the colour by painting a few blobs into the pickup cavities. Once the colour looks to match well, I flow a little paint into the scratch on the end of a pin. The nitro is then left to evaporate, and to shrink back.
A couple of days later – once the lacquer is fully dry – the excess colour is levelled, and the general area flat-sanded with some 320 grit over a small backing block. Working into the light – I’m trying to gaugue when I’ve sanded down to the level where the scratch is just filled, and the whole area looks consistent, with a dull sheen. Wet sanding with a little naptha helps – and once the sanding is complete, a good clean down with some more naptha helps prepare the area for more clearcoat lacquer.
Once again – clear lacquer is sprayed over the general area. The lacquer is built up with a succession of lighter passes, and is carefully feathered-in to the other areas on the face and edges of the guitar. The repair is now virtually invisible – although there is a slight, apparent lightening of the body colour in the general area of the scratch. This is likely to be caused by the different layers of the repair melting, and bonding together. Once a good, smooth, liquid coat of lacquer has been built up – the body is left to dry again for at least a week.
After 10 days, the lacquer has shrunk back again. The colour match is good, and in certain lights, (and with my poor vision), the split is all-but gone. But looking into the light, you can still see the line of the scratch as a slight indent in the surface, and the actual line of the scratch just shows as a slight, light line. One more levelling drop-fill should do it. I might as well make it another colour-matched one.
So the process is repeated. Some nitro is sprayed into a can lid, and mixed. White primer and Light Amber tint, as before. A little paint is flowed into the area of the scratch on the end of a pin. Then it’s all left to dry again.
That’s the way things are at the moment. 10 minutes work – once every few days. Then a week’s wait for paint to dry – then another 10 minutes sanding. Repeat. I’m trying to stage and phase tasks on different projects so I can keep busy – but it’s increasingly difficult with my cataract problems, the weather (not ideal for spraying lacquer), and difficulties with the Covid situation. However – that’s just the way it is, and it’s the only way little jobs like this get done successfully. You just can’t rush lacquer bodywork repairs.