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Refinishing An Inlayed Headstock


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Hi, I have a gibson project guitar that I am currently working on. The finish was stripped before I purchased it, and the Gibson headstock inlay remains on it. What is the best way to paint the top of the headstock black without covering over the gibson inlay with paint until the clear coat?

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You are going to have to mask it. that's the only way.

Not sure how old the instrument is. I know for really old restorations you can get the inlay out.. maybe with heat and steam (unless it's epoxied in there) do you finish.. clean up the inlay bed and put it back in.. It might ride a little below the surface but you could always bump it up a level with some filler.. Then clear the whole thing. The diehard restoration guys will just redo the inlay but i don't kow what your inclination is on that..

Otherwise, check out airbrush frisket film. You could lay it on and cut out the shape.. and just try to shoot a minimal amount of black for the headstock, pull the frisket off once dried and shoot your clear, masking it like mentioned above. That kind of detailed masking though is what frisket is meant for..

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Do you have to paint it or can you use a stain? If you can get by with stain or ink on the headstock it would be pretty easy. Shell won't take most stains, it may darken it a little bit, which you could either leave, or go back with a fine sandpaper over the inlay to remove the darkened surface. If the shell does absorb anything it will be very shallow, and the wood will absorb it a lot. Hit it with 800, 1000, 1500, then 2000 grit wet or dry paper, the wood will be pitch black and the inlay will gleam.

Don't redo it, it's worth more if you keep it as original as possible.

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