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Need Help Assessing Refinish To Acoustic Soundboard Repair


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I'm about to repair a friends Seagull parlor guitar. I'm going to place a pickguard in the area of wear which has worn through the thin lacquer and into the bare wood. The pickguard will be just outside of the rosette circle.

It's a little dirty from finger oils around the wear area and there are a few dings to the sound board.

I'd like some advice to see if I'm on the right road to repairing this damage. I was considering Murphy's wood soap for cleaning up the dirty surface but I'm wondering if that product would leave a residue that could interfere with the nitro lacquer.

These are my ideas:

1. Clean the entire soundboard of all dirt and grime.

2. Fill any small dings

3. Build up the worn through area to the level of the surrounding sound board

4. Flat sand entire surface to ensure completely level.

5. Spray a few light coats of lacquer over the entire sound board.

Oh, and by the way, I do plan on masking off at the binding as well as fingerboard and bridge.

I don't plan on wet sanding since the whole guitar is a satin finish and the lacquer I'm using is also a satin version. I may wet sand the edges where there might be masking lines to blend in at the binding.

Please let me know if there's anything else that I'm forgetting or may need to add to my check list.


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2. Fill any small dings

3. Build up the worn through area to the level of the surrounding sound board

What would you use to fill and build up with? Its a tough job getting that to disappear. If the holes aren't very deep you might be able to surface sand the soundboard and minimize the need to fill. You need to try to bring back the uninterrupted grain pattern in that area. Unfortunately that would mean a slightly thinner top. But if you can manage to sand it part way and get the grain to look uniform, you can fill to the edge of the rosette with clear lacquer.

Edited by Southpa
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"What would you use to fill and build up with?"

Lacquer. I plan on lightly sanding the entire sound board first then spot fill the dings and wear area, level sand then top coat the entire sound board. It won't be perfect but it will be a great improvement. Luckily Seagull guitars uses lacquer for their guitars so the finishes should be compatible.

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My advice?

Do any cleaning with a damp (not wet) cloth. If that won't shift it, naptha will deal with most gunk and not leave any residue.

Small dings and the like, leave them alone. Trying to spot repair them is more trouble than it's worth, and you risk doing more harm than good. I'd seal the area around the rosette, and try for a halfway decent colour match, using either shellac or lacquer.

I'd avoid the full overspray of the top if possible, and aim to fix the worn area, and prevent it getting worn again by adding the pickguard. The rest can be left as is - it'll only get worn again after all. Finish repair is horribly fussy, so I avoid it as much as possible, especially when it's unnecessary.

I'd also throw this question up on the MIMF, they have far more experienced repair folks over there, including many who've been doing this longer than I've been alive.

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Um, having trouble cleaning the finger grime off of the soundboard. Any suggestions? I tried mineral spirits but nothing.

How different is naptha as far as a cleaning agent versus mineral spirits?

Naptha dries much faster. In my experience mineral spriits has more time and works better for heavy grime. Naptha is my first choice for most light cleaning and wiping.


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