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Jehle's Logo Method --evolution?


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Believe it or not, it was from reading Bill Jehle's tutorial for making his Jellycaster logo that I got inspired to build my own guitar...all of a sudden I just knew what I had to do...

Right now I'm working on the headstock for the future Bocaster Thinline. I've left most of the finish on the headstock, there's just a small area where I want to apply my logo.

And I have my heart set on a silver colored logo (see the Bocaster thread for my design, takes off on the Fender logo). So that means decal paper is out --my only other option would be to have it professionally done.

Problem with using transparency paper though is you can still see the edge, even when it's done (sorry Bill, but it's there). And I read someone else's post complaining that the transparency logos still didn't look right...and that worried me.

So I started playing around with the idea--last night I glued down some logos on a test piece of wood. I used this glue/varnish stuff that you're supposed to use for 'napkin technique' decorating. That's what was available to me at 3 am...

But I could already tell it wouldn't look right...paper was too shiny and too thick, it'd take 20 coats to cover that...

But what if, I thought this morning, I took sandpaper to the transparency paper?

So I started in...the sandpaper takes off the gloss of the transparency paper, so it looks much better right away. But I kept going, making the paper thinner and thinner...then cleaned it up using finer grades, then the little finishing pad I picked up the other day when I should have been buyng 000 steel wool.

And I'd worked more on the edges of the paper, so they now slope into the wood... even without finish, it's hard to see the edges.

I haven't put on any finish yet (I'm actually going to use a water-color varnish temporarily), but I have to believe that by the time I get a couple of coats of clear on there, you won't see the edges of the logo at all...

Only difficulty I had was getting all the air bubbles out from under the glue--maybe I didn't use enough glue? (The glue screws with the ink though...maybe I'll just try gluing with the varnish...

What do you all think? Like to hear BEFORE I do this to the guitar ...

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I've been playing around with this all day...here are two 'improvements'

1) : It's possible to sand the transparency before it's glued --that way you can control how thin the paper gets, and if you screw it up, it's no big deal. I ended up cutting the logo out in a long strip, using an end to hold it down while I sanded. I probably should find some kind of temporary backing to protect the inkjet/silver pen logo while I'm doing that , but it doesn't appear to have suffered. I sanded the paper until it was literally tissue thin.

2) : I used neoprene glue to glue it down to my test wood (pine, if that matters). Neoprene doesn't appear to make the ink run at all --and it's possible to slide the decal into place if it doesn't go on perfectly straight...

3) : I trimmed the logo as close to the lettering as possible. Don't know if this will cause problems later --for the moment, I'm using a water color varnish on top of these...I'm hoping that will provide the necessary protection if and when I use a rattle can on there...

Tomorrow I'll see what happens when I sand the varnish a bit...


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I'm still playing around with this...so far so good.

One issue of course is that when you sand the transparency paper, it turns white from the scratches...don't know if there's any way around that...

It definitely looks better though, lies much flatter than the unsanded paper, so it's a lot less obvious what's been done. You really have to angle it to see the edges --maybe by the time there's a good amount of finish build up it'll disappear completely.

Today I'm going to try coloring the sanded paper a bit...a little touch of tan in the shade of the maple should do it...I'm going to have a look at the kids' markers...going to try printing the logo with the color added in too...it won't need much to blend in completely...

If I didn't insist on silver in the logo though, I'd definitely stick with decal printer paper...

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I've tried 3 different waterslide decal papers for laser printers, and they all looked cloudy when they came off the backing. If it weren't for the edge effect, I'd go with the much-more-transparent transparency stock. Post some pics when you get a chance, I'll be interested in how it comes out.

BTW, not to hijack, but does anyone know of decal paper (laserprinter) that comes off as clear as transparencies?

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Okay, I'm making progress


For one thing, I decided I don't like the sanding method. It works pretty well--you can get the paper pretty thin. But it's messy, difficult to control how much you're taking off, takes a long time, and leaves the transparency kind of white, which shows through the finish.

But then I started thinking...

I'm assuming transparency paper is made of two layers--the top transparent part, and the substrate on which one prints. It has to be possible to separate the two layers--leaving just a thin, printed image.

Well, one idea I had: I took out the little mini plane from my exacto kit and started shaving. It works pretty well. It's much easier to control what's coming off, and it leaves the surface more transparent than sanding.

But there must be a way to simply LIFT the transparency layer off the printed layer!

I'm going to try heat this afternoon...though I'm not convinced that will work.

Maybe chemicals? It would have to be something that evaporates completely so it doesn't smell and doesn't affect the adherence of the finish....

Any chemists here?

(Later the same day...)

Using a razor blade I was able to separate the print surface substrate from the plastic...it's a superthin 'skin'...very difficult to manipulate...seems to me it would have to be glued to the headstock first and then the plastic should be LIFTED away ....

One possibility would be to adapt a tool that gets a razor blade in a just the right angle--you could conceivably take away most of the plastic that way....

Still later that same day...

I ditched the hand plane --it works but there's still not as much control...and I just took a razor blade and started shaving with that...it takes a while but it definitely works...you have to be pretty careful, the blade easily sinks through and cuts holes...

:D :D

After the piece is glued down, you can work on the edges a bit more, since that's what's going to show the most...

I'm going to try spraying clear coat over it in the next couple of days and then try it out my guitars.... B)

Edited by idch
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And then the next morning... (luckily for me, I don't need much sleep)...I'm adding a new reply here rather than continuing the last one, that's getting too long)

Okay, this was my last 'experiment' before I test the clear coats...This time I used an exacto knife with a oblique edge (not the full slanted one, a smaller one)...this works much better than the razor blade, the smaller surface makes it easier to control. On this one I got it shaved down pretty far...

Although I have to say, the thinnest version I got was with sandpaper--but getting it that thin risks tearing.

Instead, I glued the thinned out logo down to my test wood, then I continued working on the edges just a bit (or course, now you have to be careful not to nick the wood).

So far so good. I then decided to apply some sealer around the edges. I'll do a couple layers of that. We'll see what that gives...

Once again, I need to point out that I'm only doing this because I REALLY want that metallic silver in the logo...otherwise I'd buy waterslide paper (I might end up doing that anyway!) It takes a long time to scrape away the plastic...

And if all I wanted to do was fake a Fender logo, I'd just buy one of the fakes off ebay...

Here an alert:

There are TWO types of silver pens! They're both made by Pilot

One is called "Super Color" --it's got a thicker nib, flows really nicely. But you MUST seal it somehow before applying adhesive. Even after drying all night, it still runs as soon as the glue touches.

The other is the "G-1" --this one is a much finer nib (0.7). It doesn't flow as nicely, and you have to go back over it a couple of times to make sure everything is filled in. But you can smear neoprene glue (is that rubber cement?) right over it and it doesn't budge. And the neoprene seals the edges so the clear coat can't get under it.

I use an extremely thin coat of neoprene, applied with and wiped off with a credit card. Neoprene lets you reposition the logo if you screw that up the first time.

Okay, that's enough...I'll come back in a few days after I've test out the clear coats...those who don't care about this project, sorry about the long and multiple posts...

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Right, this is going to be my second to last post on this thread.

Here's a closeup of what one of the logos I finished looks like WITHOUT CLEAR COAT (I'll start that tomorrow if it doesn't rain):


Here are more photos of the project:

Bocaster album

Here's the method I ended up with:

1. Print out logo on transparent paper

2. Cut out logo --cut as close to the lines/image as you can

3. Use an exacto knife with a ROUNDED edge --(this seems to be easier to control than straight edges)

4. Take it down as far as you can without tearing the plastic --this might take some practice. Tiny pushing strokes work best for me

5. Use your silver or gold pen to fill in your letters. Use dots instead of strokes. Let the ink dry a bit. *

6. Using a very small, short-fiber paintbrush (an artist's brush, not one of those fluffy watercolor brushes) 'paint" a thin coat of NEOPRENE glue over the backside of the logo. You only need very very little glue for this. Neoprene glue does not seem to 'melt' the lettering. I used the gel version, since that was available. The liquid version might be even better.

7. Stick the logo in place. Let dry. (You can easily peel this off if you don't like it)

8. Spray with clear coat--the first coat or two should be VERY light. The neoprene glue seems to help keep the lettering from getting infiltrated by the clear coat, and the first light coat of that seals the lettering in.

*The silver and gold pens I used are Pilot G-1 pens...they have a fine 0.7 nib...the thicker nib pens just SMEAR with the neoprene glue, even after drying all night.

Now I have to do a full finish on the logos to see if it really works. By cutting it very close to the letters themselves, the edges become less of a problem. In fact, you can even use this to an advantage ---create your own EMBOSSED letters (in which case, leave out the scraping with the exacto knife)>

I'll post the final results when I have them.

UPDATE: After shooting the first couple of clear coats, I discovered that there wasn't enough glue under a bit of one letter on the thinline bocaster (it has the cutaway on the headstock) --the clear coat got under there and wiped out part of the black line of the edge of a letter....bummer...but I found a way to fix it. I have some old rub off letters here, I took a line from that, rubbed it over the missing line. Tomorrow I'll dust that with clear coat, let it dry, then finish the clear coats...I'm going to try laying it on thick tomorrow, see what happens!


Edited by idch
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  • 1 month later...

Okay I'm going to wrap up this thread. I finally finished the Bocaster, I posted a couple of pics in the projects section.

I'm going to add a shot of the headstock and logo here:


I think all in all the results were pretty successful. I'm not sure how big a difference shaving the transparency paper down gives --although I was able to go with a lot less clear coat that I would have otherwise. (Note: I didn't buff the headstock, I decided to keep a satin look for the headstock.)

On the other hand, the big thing I discovered if you ask me is that it's important to cut as close to your lettering as you can --the neater the better. With a neoprene/rubber cement, you can glue down the logo AND seal the edges so the clear coat doesn't leak through. You have to make sure the glue really covers everything.

That's why the F3nd3r logo looks pretty good --has a subtle 3D effect. But the word "Bocaster" is less successful --because I didn't trim it around the letters, and I should have.

Anyway, from a foot away, the illusion is pretty convincing. And from three feet away, you wouldn't ever guess that there's no such thing as a Bocaster...

So in conclusion --if you're looking for an EMBOSSED look for your logos, use transparency paper and neoprene glue/rubber cement. If you really want it to look exactly like a waterslide decal --buy decal paper!

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