Behind the scenes 29/05/20

I thought the second part of my blog would be easier than the first. You know, given that I had already done some research on how to approach a blog. But when you’re sitting in front of a blank laptop screen after an absolutely hectic week I can assure you that these weary eyes are struggling. However, the show must go on….

The main focus of this week has been our spray/prep room. It involved removing everything, re-fitting the entire space and putting all the equipment, paint and stock back in. I have pictures and while it might make for some good viewing I think I shall leave it for another post.

Something that was interesting to see finished this week was a 1964 Fender Esquire body sent in by Kevin Bourque of Stairway to Kevin Repairs ( ).

If you’re not looking at the amusing Fender CS neck in the background (don’t worry… it’s been freed from its Grey stain shackles) then you should see a player’s grade body in the foreground. Kevin was delighted to lay his hands on this guitar and rightfully so. Someone had routed the neck for a humbucker at some point but Kevin managed to patch the cavity in tastefully match the grain pattern to that on the body. Yes, ive done that “thing” by the way. When you get shown a mediocre snapshot of the item before the work has been carried out followed with a nice glossy picture once it’s all done and dusted. Interestingly, we found the original finish on the ferrules when they were removed from the body. Under that evil Red paint lay a coat of Grey primer. Once it was stripped down and grain filled I cracked on with the spraying. To cut a long story short, it took a while. As do most things I do. Its not because I enjoy keeping you guys waiting, it’s because everything requires so much attention, care and detail. I actually thought at one point “that’s the colour sorted… onto clear coat!”. But it wasn’t to be and so I took a little more time to get it right.

I think it came out beautifully and taking my time on it means I was able to constantly evaluate my progress and decisions.

I usually make jokes like “nope, I didn’t use a template”, “no razor blades required” and “no, I don’t own a belt sander”. But i’m being serious….. you can’t get this natural ageing effect if you sit down and plan it based on the closest power tool you have at your disposal. Impartial advice – don’t use a Dremel for “ageing”.

Now, it’s a part of the job that all finishers would agree sucks – wet sanding. Having said that, you can always tell prior to the wet sanding part of the process how easy its going to be to cut back. Last Sunday I decided to get some peace and quiet early morning to make a start on a Lake Placid Blue offset body. It was already like glass but everything gets wet sanded and buffed regardless.

The idea here is to wet sand the clear coat until it is matte with no shiny spots at all. The image above shows the left part pretty much done with the right part looking patchy and shinier. The part on the right still needs some work. Below is the back of the body, first shown as it was prior to wetsanding and the second picture was taken after wetsanding.

It’s always great to watch a body start as bare wood and leave here with such a nice finish. I’m somewhat partial to this colour anyway but still… every colour we stock gets the same treatment.

Once the whole body has been wetsanded it’s off to the buffer. I use a few different compounds and wheels to achieve the shine. It can take a surprising amount of time to get that level of shine and depth of gloss. Of course, you have to be careful not to burn through that thin and fragile clear coat.

I’ve used this body as an example, but as I said we do this to all of our bodies. So, once it’s done it’s onto the next one. And there are many, many, many more to finish.