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First Project: Peavey T-40


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Hi everyone,

I've been reading around this forum for a couple days now, planning my first restoration project. I am the type of guy who takes up these kinds of projects, and goes full force into them without planning a lot and/or trying to do WAY beyond my skill level and budget. You know the type, I'm sure some of you are the same. However, this time I really want to do something correctly and that's a refinish of my Peavey T-40.

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Here's the deal: Bought it on eBay and was shipped to me with a neck that had a broken truss rod. The dealer told me it had been "re finished" but I did not know to what quality. Got it and there are parts where I can literally take my finger and chip off the black paint that was applied. It also came with a cracked pickguard. Kinda got screwed on the deal, so I really want to get this thing working and looking good. I have a newer maple neck on its way and here's what I want to do:

1. New neck

2. New pickguard

3. New finish

I've been planning this out and reading around around places like PG the past few weeks to plan things out, and I must say it's a bit overwhelming. The different products and techniques in wood finishing are kind of confusing. So, I am leaning towards the easiest finish for a beginner to up his skills. I don't need anything super glossy or unique just something durable and idiot proof. Here is what I'm looking at doing:

1. Chemical strip

2. Sanding

3. Grain filler (if needed for an ash body?)

5. Oil Based Finish (Tru-Oil something like that)

I was reading an article on how to do a Tru-Oil finish and it seems pretty simple if I get the sanding and sealing done correctly. Any advice?

Edited by ZenFleshZenBone
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1. Chemical strip

2. Sanding

3. Grain filler (if needed for an ash body?)

4. Sand sealer

5. Oil Based stain (Minwax, Tru-Oil something like that)

6. Polyurethane finish

I was reading an article on how to do a Tru-Oil finish and it seems pretty simple if I get the sanding and sealing done correctly.

Are you finishing it with tru oil or polyurethane? Tru oil is a finish, not a stain. With tru oil you want to prepare the wood to the highest standard possible and keep the coats even and level. But if you do everything correctly, yes, tru oil is pretty simple. You don't have to put a sealer under tru oil either.

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Something else to consider: a lot of times when a body is finished a solid color, no effort is made for grain matching, etc. which can look very bad with a natural finish. You will have to inspect that after stripping the body. Tru-oil is pretty easy to do, it just takes patience and care, but I would suggest against it if the grain is ugly. If the grain is such that you need to paint it again, you can use something like an acrylic paint and put poly over it as a clear coat. LGM has a really good tutorial on painting and also one on painting with spray cans.

As far as getting in over your head, I have a chronic case of it, so I know what you mean. As far as this project is concerned, I think you should be able to do it well as long as you make sure to study your stuff and ask for help when you don't know something as opposed to just trying something out. Good luck.

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Are you finishing it with tru oil or polyurethane? Tru oil is a finish, not a stain. With tru oil you want to prepare the wood to the highest standard possible and keep the coats even and level. But if you do everything correctly, yes, tru oil is pretty simple. You don't have to put a sealer under tru oil either.

Nice! As you can tell I'm new to this. So, if I do Tru-Oil (since it is a finish in and of itself) I won't have to put down poly, and I wont have to sealer? That sounds like the way to go to me. How bad are the fumes with Tru-Oil? Just want to know what kind of ventilation I will need. Also is there any issue as far as temperature goes. It's starting to cool down here and I will probably be doing it in an attic.

Something else to consider: a lot of times when a body is finished a solid color, no effort is made for grain matching, etc. which can look very bad with a natural finish. You will have to inspect that after stripping the body. Tru-oil is pretty easy to do, it just takes patience and care, but I would suggest against it if the grain is ugly. If the grain is such that you need to paint it again, you can use something like an acrylic paint and put poly over it as a clear coat. LGM has a really good tutorial on painting and also one on painting with spray cans.

I believe the guy i bought it from told me this was a natural T-40 to before it was refinished. Which is kind of what I am hoping for.

gotta love a T-40 though.... whats the weight like?

Just under 12lbs.. Yeah the T-40 is a beast! But, I love the tone I get with it.

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Hi ZenFleshZenBone...nice nick, by the way! I have to start saying I haven´t done any projects as of yet, but I´ve spent a lot of time reading here and I remembered this thread.. My guess is that probably you don´t have a mahogany body under that paint, and as others have pointed out, you´ll have to see first what it looks like stripped. However, the thread has a lot of information on Tru-Oil and some veeery nice pics. It´s cheap, easy to apply, and in my opinion can look very nice...but, I´ve read it´s a finish not as durable as others, so that might be a factor as well. Remember, I´ve just done reading, I´m not speaking from my own experience...but when I get the chance, I´ll probably give it a try myself. :D

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Hi ZenFleshZenBone...nice nick, by the way! I have to start saying I haven´t done any projects as of yet, but I´ve spent a lot of time reading here and I remembered this thread.. My guess is that probably you don´t have a mahogany body under that paint, and as others have pointed out, you´ll have to see first what it looks like stripped. However, the thread has a lot of information on Tru-Oil and some veeery nice pics. It´s cheap, easy to apply, and in my opinion can look very nice...but, I´ve read it´s a finish not as durable as others, so that might be a factor as well. Remember, I´ve just done reading, I´m not speaking from my own experience...but when I get the chance, I´ll probably give it a try myself. wink.gif

Thanks man. Im going to check that out and you're right the body is Ash. I too have read that TO is not as durable but I'm still not sure what exactly that means. Does it ding easier, is it prone to scratching. I'm not TOO concerned with it as long is it doesn't straight up chip off like the paint that the last guy put on this thing.

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Tru-oil is a very low fume finish. You can even apply it with your bare fingers (the directions suggest that). I would also recommend not using if you strip it and find ugly wood. Tru-oil will bring out ALL the grain. I replaced a broken grip on a sword I bought at a gun show with hop-hornbeam and finished it with tru-oil. I saw grain I didn't know was there until I finished it.

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With the tru-oil, I have done two projects with it and you an do it indoors no problem. By not as durable it means that tru-oil does not protect against dings and scratches like a thick poly or nitro finish. The thing is that if you get a scratch in it, you can just apply more and fix it easy. It is capable of producing a very nice finish, though not as high gloss as nitro. It can still get a rather high gloss, however, but you will want to make sure you take your time to ensure that it comes out right. Surface prep is a major part of making tru-oil look great. Best of luck.

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Nice! As you can tell I'm new to this. So, if I do Tru-Oil (since it is a finish in and of itself) I won't have to put down poly, and I wont have to sealer? That sounds like the way to go to me. How bad are the fumes with Tru-Oil? Just want to know what kind of ventilation I will need. Also is there any issue as far as temperature goes. It's starting to cool down here and I will probably be doing it in an attic.

The fumes aren't bad. Just don't go sniffing the bottle on purpose! :D

It'll probably take longer to dry in a cooler temperature. You should probably use thin coats too... maybe add a little turpentine in each coat? :D I'm just guessing here.

You can even apply it with your bare fingers

It gets really sticky on your skin really fast... I wouldn't suggest that. I try to keep it off my hands because I find it irritating.

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Thanks a lot guys. I feel much better about starting this now.. I will probably start stripping and prepping it tomorrow. I found this great tutorial on LMI (http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/TruOil.htm) and will probably be using this as a guide (unless yall know some better ones.) I will post pics of the stripped wood once its done. I take it the durability of a Tru-Oil finish really depends on how many coats I do correct?

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Hi everyone. So I have been stripping this Peavey all weekend and I've gotten down to the grain and it looks pretty damn good (to me). I have started sanding it (with 150 grit) to get the remainder of the finish off but there are still some dark spots in the wood. I guess this is where the paint is farther down in the grain. I would like to get these out before I start moving up to 220, but this 150 just isn't getting them out. I saw on a tutorial that giving the piece an acetone bath could get the remainder of that out. Should I do that or just keep sanding it out? If i should keep sanding, would it be okay to drop down to 120 to strip the reminding and then go to 220 or would that cause problems?

I'll try and post some pics of the body tonight for opinions.

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You could keep sanding if you want, but just remember that you can never put more wood back on, you can always take more off. I would probably go chemical, personally, just for the sake of not taking off more material than necessary. Of course, I haven't seen the pics, so this is me just speculating.

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You could keep sanding if you want, but just remember that you can never put more wood back on, you can always take more off. I would probably go chemical, personally, just for the sake of not taking off more material than necessary. Of course, I haven't seen the pics, so this is me just speculating.

Here are some pics of my progress:

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and if you look these areas still have some discoloration:

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Edited by ZenFleshZenBone
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It looks to me like those places with coloration still have a little sealer left on there. I had a similar problem with a refin I did a few weeks ago, the sealer was laid on so thick that it took a good while to sand it off. You could still definitely try chemicals though.

As far as the grain matching goes, I personally don't think it is that great, but not terrible. You could clear it if you want, but I personally would probably do an opaque finish. I just did on a solid maple guitar that I have been refinishing. I love the look of maple, but the grain matching was an abomination, so I painted it. Just my opinion, however.

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It looks to me like those places with coloration still have a little sealer left on there. I had a similar problem with a refin I did a few weeks ago, the sealer was laid on so thick that it took a good while to sand it off. You could still definitely try chemicals though.

As far as the grain matching goes, I personally don't think it is that great, but not terrible. You could clear it if you want, but I personally would probably do an opaque finish. I just did on a solid maple guitar that I have been refinishing. I love the look of maple, but the grain matching was an abomination, so I painted it. Just my opinion, however.

Hmm.. I will take that into consideration. I will be doing some more work on the T-40 this weekend. Any one else have any opinions on whether I should do Tru-Oil vs Color? I am not totally against going all out and doing it black again.

Maybe try taking the string ferules out for that spot?

Or... just leave the discoloration for a "worn" look.

I have tried a bunch of times to get these out during dis assembly to no avail. Any tips on doing this?

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I think they actually make bushing removal tools. The only way I have ever gotten them out (I'm too cheap to get the tool) is to take a flathead screwdriver and put it through the opposite end of the hole, put the tip on the end of bushing (it makes a little "ledge" inside) and tap with a hammer. Sometimes it requires a little more than a tap, but those ferrules are made to stay in well.

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For removing the ferrels, a long thin punch, drill bit, small bolt, etc can be used.

If a couple moderate whacks don't get them moving, heat them up with a soldering iron to soften any glue or finish binding them.

As far as using a Tru Oil finish, I'd say give it a coat or two and see if you like it. If not, its easy to sand down and go solid color if you want.

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Thanks guys.. Here's my update from this weekend. I found some other imperfections in the wood and decided that an opaque finish might do the piece more justice then some Tru-Oil. I've decided to put this thing back in black. With a lacquer finish.

Got the metal bushings out by taking a soldering iron to it and they came right out with some help from my screwdriver.

DSC01877.jpg

I also had my first run in with grain filler this weekend which was definitely a learning experience. Got it in there the best I could though and sanded up to 320.

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Then today I have been spraying sanding sealer to give the paint a more level surface. Ive sprayed 3 coats today: 1 a light mist that I let dry for an hour then a 2nd which I let dry for about 4 hours, and one just now that I'm going to let cure over night. Here's some pics of the body after the last coat of sealer:

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As you can see from the last pic that the grain filler kind of ran off the sides and discolored it during clean up. No worries though since black will be going over top of it.

Now, as I understand it. Once the sealer has cured I can lightly sand it flat and start shooting the color. Right? Any more tips before I press on?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys don't want you to think I gave up on this project. Been spraying color last weekend, and clear coats this weekend. Its got about 18 coats on it now and I must say, it may not be perfect but I am pretty pleased with the results!

Photo55.jpg

Sorry, for the crappy webcam pic. I still need to charge up my camera :/

Going to let this last coat cure over the week and then it will need some final sanding to get that orange peel out and some polish. I have also ordered a new pick guard, input jack, and shielding for the electronics cavity. I was considering completely changing the electronics for new pots and switches, but after looking at them I have decided against it. The electronics are still in good condition and I don't want to replace stuff if its not needed especially if it will effect the original tone.

I CANT WAIT TO PLAY THIS BASS! I will post pics of the final stretch as it gets completed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone, I have kind of hit a snag with this project and I'm not sure what to do. I let this body cure for about two weeks or so and started wet sanding the "orange peel" out yesterday. I followed what most people said about final sanding i started with a 600 grit and ended at 2000 grit letting the sandpaper soak over night. But, instead of ending up with with a even polished finish I ended up with this:

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It's a big mess there are areas that are smooth but they are very dull looking not glossy at all is this what I am looking for? I'm just not sure if this means I have sanded too much or not enough. Anyone else had a project come out like this during the wet sanding process? Any help would be appreciated I just got this, buffing and assembly and I'm done..

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It looks like you may have had a little too much unevenness when you put on the final coats. You want to make sure that you level everything nice and even before putting on two or so final coats of lacquer. Then you need to sand it so that there are no glossy low spots. The grit depends on how level it was when you put the final coats on. The good guys can spray lacquer and start at 1500. If you are looking for super glossy, I would probably level what you have with 600, then put on another two coats and let that cure. After the cure, the grit will be determined by how level it is. 600 or 800 is probably a decent guess, but don't go any rougher than you need. Make sure to work thoroughly through each grit, but be careful not to sand too deep. It's a pain, but probably the only way you will get a really glossy finish. The finishing experts may correct me, though.

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It looks like you may have had a little too much unevenness when you put on the final coats. You want to make sure that you level everything nice and even before putting on two or so final coats of lacquer. Then you need to sand it so that there are no glossy low spots. The grit depends on how level it was when you put the final coats on. The good guys can spray lacquer and start at 1500. If you are looking for super glossy, I would probably level what you have with 600, then put on another two coats and let that cure. After the cure, the grit will be determined by how level it is. 600 or 800 is probably a decent guess, but don't go any rougher than you need. Make sure to work thoroughly through each grit, but be careful not to sand too deep. It's a pain, but probably the only way you will get a really glossy finish. The finishing experts may correct me, though.

Thanks for the advice, man. As I was doing the final sanding I noticed that it was taking me a lot more sanding then I would've thought to get the glossy low spots out and I definitely didn't want to sand through, so I thought I would just stop and ask. I'm not looking for anything super glossy, I just want it level and to look like a stock finish. I will be working on it more this week and any input would be great! I cant tell you how much I've been learning through this process and you guys have really been helpful when it comes to learning this stuff.

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