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Getting rid of the "dings"


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I was wondering what the best way to repair "dings" on a guitar body is.

I am working re-finishing a friend's PRS body & there are some VERY deep dents in the wood (think in therms of a Phillips head screwdriver being stabbed into the wood).

I was planning on using wood putty to fill it, sand it smooth & paint it since I wll be painting a solid color anyway.

Any other ideas?

This body has definately seen better days!

Thanks in advance for any input


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Here's been my experience so far:

Try to stay away from:

Borden products, they can easily be rejuvenated with moisture and will shrink on you in a heartbeat. The filler is only good for extremely thin fill's where shrinkage wouldn't matter. Thicker applications will crack.

Putty and wood fill sticks are a different story, I've tried the cover up sticks and they very highly from brand to brand for scratches. Some of the cheaper one's are better then the expensive ones and when they harden they usually don't shrink that much.

High end wood fillers on the market today, that are like a putty can be the worst nightmare you run up against. I recently purchased a pint of "Famowood" which is advertised on their can as "#1 Professional Wood Filler" even say's made from real wood on the side. What a waste of $7, for the purpose we would use it for. Might be excellent on furniture but for something that is handled like a neck or guitar body I would stay away. They flake and are to easy to crumble or peal right off without a rough enough surface to hold on to. Even worse it shrinks enough to make a difference.

I pretty much haven't found a filler that blends well enough to stain but I keep trying when it comes to being able to stain a translucent finish. Usually I end up using something lighter and then blend it with either paint or a marker before doing the finish over the top.

For really big dent's and also heavy long grooves I use epoxy based fillers. They can be expensive at anywhere from $9-14.95 a pop depending on the brand but they sand easily and harden quickly. These are two part mix and come in tube's or double end canisters where one end is part A and the other is Part B.

For an example on the body in the Tremolo to Hardtail tutorial I used PC Woody in the grooves I cut out, here's a picture of what it looks like


But what you don't see in that tutorial is the repair I had to do on the upper horn which looked like this when I recieved the body


For that I used "Loctite Good for Wood" which is basically the same type of product but I know it could handle the size of the fill and shape easily afterwards. I don't have any pictures but you can ask Simon that hugh chunk is no longer missing and the stuff attaches and holds to wood like nothing else. Dries completely rock hard in 4-15 (depending on the thickness) minutes, so work fast once you have it mixed.

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I had a custom furniture biz and did antiques and refinishing. For small dings, I'd heat up a clothes iron (a flat blade low watt soldering iron would work) and put a drop of water into the ding. Put a small damp cloth (a little bigger than the ding) over the ding, and touch the hot itp to the cloth. It will steam up...keep checking and add another drop of water if it did'nt 'rise' enough. The steam swells the wood and pushes itself out of the dip. Too much and you will get a 'bump'. If done right, after it dries, rub some furiniture oil on and you can't tell. This is for 'wood' finishes, never tried it on a painted surface. For those, I'd use Bondo (if deep) or, if shallow, 2 part glazing putty. Standard auto body filler. I just finished a Tele body where I filled a gap on the neck humbucker route and all the pickguard screw holes with the new 'sun-cure' Bondo. No catalyst, just scoop from the can, and dry it in the sun. Worked good, different consistency than regular Bondo. Also, dished out the screwholes with a countersink to keep the Bondo from popping out...sands flatter too. I did cut a piece of wood to fill the HB gap first. Also, before painting, if I come across a small ding (these pop out of nowhere when random orbit sanding the paint) a real instant fix is a drop of super glue and one of those instant spray hardners sold in hobby shops. It turns the glue rock hard in seconds. I hit it with the sander and the ding is filled...good to go. Permanant and fast. :D Good luck...can't believe someone would bash up a PRS...hey Brian, some wild animal mauled that horn, that's no ding...it's an amputation!

Pic of patch before Bondo...

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i had a similar concern yesterday, some of u may have spotted this hole in the guitar i posted a pic for in the poll section.


well.. i was worried that little routing accident would affect the strength of the neck pocket, so i decided to fill it with some regular 5 minute 2 part epoxy, i sanded the inside of the hole with 60 grit, and used a chisel to hack it up a bit so there was lots to grip too, but was regular epoxy the best thing to use :D ?

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I try to stay away from Stew Mac as much as possible. The different epoxy mixtures can be seen usually. The clear one's such as 5 minute will set up to so hard that if it is a thin amount it can be brittle in a stressful situation. For just filling a hole or a ding though it really wouldn't matter.

Guess what I'm trying to say is go with a two part synthetic made specifically for the particular situation your working with such as wood, plastic or metal. In the end your statement is right though not all are created equal some of the generic one's work in any situation but not as stong or easy to shape for the particular jobs I end up using them for.

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