Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

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Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

I'm considering refinishing my LP Standard 50's myself using powdered stains/dyes (either Keda, Briwax, or aniline from somewhere if I can find it), then spraying it in a flash coat of nitro from Timberly Woodturning. I am planning to strip the existing finish using acetone. Will I need to grain fill once the finish is stripped?

Has anybody taken on this kind of work that can offer advice? Does anyone know where to get aniline dye powder from?

Thanks!

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by werdna »

Maple tops don’t need grain filler.
I’d sand, in case the acetone melts the binding, or dribbles down onto the sides and back.
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

werdna wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 2:53 pm Maple tops don’t need grain filler.
I’d sand, in case the acetone melts the binding, or dribbles down onto the sides and back.
The maple doesn't, but the mahogany has grain filler from factory. I'm thinking of doing the entire body, not just the top

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by robthemac »

Will.R wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 3:29 pm
werdna wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 2:53 pm Maple tops don’t need grain filler.
I’d sand, in case the acetone melts the binding, or dribbles down onto the sides and back.
The maple doesn't, but the mahogany has grain filler from factory. I'm thinking of doing the entire body, not just the top
Acetone will almost certainly melt the binding. I think they use it to melt the ends of the binding so they can fuse it together. Acetone will also turn the nitro into a sludgy mess, and I doubt it will remove it cleanly.

I'd 100% sand.

Actually, scratch that. I wouldn't have the cajones to refinish a LP at all.
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by GrantB »

Heat guns work well on LPs and SGs.

Vintage LPs did not have stained wood. Only the clear was tinted (cherry for back etc, and the burst colors red, brown etc).

I used a dark brown wood filler on my Jnr. Added water to make it squeeze-able!
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

robthemac wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:41 pm
Will.R wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 3:29 pm
werdna wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 2:53 pm Maple tops don’t need grain filler.
I’d sand, in case the acetone melts the binding, or dribbles down onto the sides and back.
The maple doesn't, but the mahogany has grain filler from factory. I'm thinking of doing the entire body, not just the top
Acetone will almost certainly melt the binding. I think they use it to melt the ends of the binding so they can fuse it together. Acetone will also turn the nitro into a sludgy mess, and I doubt it will remove it cleanly.

I'd 100% sand.

Actually, scratch that. I wouldn't have the cajones to refinish a LP at all.
Ahh ok, maybe I'll steer clear of the acetone then haha.

I'm wanting to stain the top in an amber/butterscotch colour, maybe I'll just do the top for now. Hopefully I don't butcher it :lol:

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

GrantB wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 5:41 pm Heat guns work well on LPs and SGs.

Vintage LPs did not have stained wood. Only the clear was tinted (cherry for back etc, and the burst colors red, brown etc).

I used a dark brown wood filler on my Jnr. Added water to make it squeeze-able!
Cheers Grant. I've seen a few people use heat guns but wasn't sure if I wanted to do that myself. I don't have a spray gun and want to change the colour to a honey/butterscotch so was considering stains and then sealing with clear nitro top coat. I might leave the back so I don't have to use grain filler!

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by GrantB »

Heat guns are the best way (don't melt the binding!), but sanding is also good (but labour intensive, messy etc). Acetone will f#ck things up, ultimately. Paint stripper works too, but requires a really good rinse in meths afterwards, which is logistically challenging.

Hmmm, when you stain wood, and it doesn't work out, you're kinda limited in how it can be corrected. If you're doing one single colour over the top then it's easier than trying to create blended colours (like a sunbust). But still, you should think real hard about staining a 50's Standard top.

If you haven't got a spray gun, I would look towards rattle cans from some of the shops that can mix to your requirement. Some guys here know who does that. Get a light amber tone in nitro and a clear. Get the colour you want with the tinted, then build finish in clear.
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by murky »

Wairau Paint Centre will tint nitro and put it in a rattle can. Sit the can in a bowl of warm water before spraying.

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by werdna »

If you're in a garage, wait for a sunny day with lower humidity before spraying, unless you can wait until better weather later in the year. This avoids nitro discolouring. I've sprayed nitro in a garage in winter without problems.
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

GrantB wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:12 pm Heat guns are the best way (don't melt the binding!), but sanding is also good (but labour intensive, messy etc). Acetone will f#ck things up, ultimately. Paint stripper works too, but requires a really good rinse in meths afterwards, which is logistically challenging.

Hmmm, when you stain wood, and it doesn't work out, you're kinda limited in how it can be corrected. If you're doing one single colour over the top then it's easier than trying to create blended colours (like a sunbust). But still, you should think real hard about staining a 50's Standard top.

If you haven't got a spray gun, I would look towards rattle cans from some of the shops that can mix to your requirement. Some guys here know who does that. Get a light amber tone in nitro and a clear. Get the colour you want with the tinted, then build finish in clear.
Thanks very much for the advice Grant! That's a fair point about not being able to correct the stain if I mess it up. I recall seeing on your '68 Strat resurrection post that you got nitro from a crowd in Hamilton? Do they make up aerosol/rattle cans?

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

murky wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 4:54 pm Wairau Paint Centre will tint nitro and put it in a rattle can. Sit the can in a bowl of warm water before spraying.
Fantastic! Do you by chance know what a can goes for?

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

werdna wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 5:03 pm If you're in a garage, wait for a sunny day with lower humidity before spraying, unless you can wait until better weather later in the year. This avoids nitro discolouring. I've sprayed nitro in a garage in winter without problems.
Thanks for the tip Werdna! I'm not in a rush so can always wait until spring or if there's a fine warm day

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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by GrantB »

Will.R wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:04 am
murky wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 4:54 pm Wairau Paint Centre will tint nitro and put it in a rattle can. Sit the can in a bowl of warm water before spraying.
Fantastic! Do you by chance know what a can goes for?
A lot of car paint dealers (LinkUp Paint for eg) will do this. But often, they wont have nitro.

I purchase nitro from Versatile Products - they have stores around BOP & Waikato. Mirotone. I like it - done right it ages just like vintage nitro.
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Re: Les Paul Refinish Advice Please

Post by Will.R »

GrantB wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:18 am
Will.R wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 9:04 am
murky wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 4:54 pm Wairau Paint Centre will tint nitro and put it in a rattle can. Sit the can in a bowl of warm water before spraying.
Fantastic! Do you by chance know what a can goes for?
A lot of car paint dealers (LinkUp Paint for eg) will do this. But often, they wont have nitro.

I purchase nitro from Versatile Products - they have stores around BOP & Waikato. Mirotone. I like it - done right it ages just like vintage nitro.
Thanks Grant, that's good to know. Do you get your Mirotone made up in rattle cans, or spray it yourself? I'll be calling Wairau Paint Centre to see what they do as they're the closest to me (live in North Auckland). If the Mirotone stuff ages like good vintage nitro I'd prefer that, but just would want it in a rattle can as I don't have spraying equipment.

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