View Full Version : Can this be fixed?
I need some advice on what could be done to fix a badly executed finish repair. Its a friends Summit F that suffered top damage when loaned to someone at a jam. The person's fingernails dug through the finish right to bare wood. It made my friend just sick. He had a friend just getting into instrument building & repair say, "Hey, I can fix that". So, with the best of intentions, his friend re-stained the damaged area and applied some finish. Problem is the stain was the wrong color and the repair looks pretty bad. You can see it below.
My friend would like it fixed right, but isn't sure what to do. He's been living with it the way it is, but its a major aggravation to him every time he gets it out. He's considered having the instrument stripped and re-finished, but that seems drastic to me and would probably be quite costly.
So, is this fix-able? The finish is lacquer. It seems you'd need to mask off the the area, strip the finish, match and blend the stain(which is a sunburst), and drop-fill or brush lacquer, etc... I'm probably over-simplifying, but I'd like to help him out, and this is beyond my experience. What do ya'll think?
Yes, it can be fixed, but not very easy. A good finish person can almost work miracles on the worst case scenario. For me, the main issue with spot finish repairs is time. Color matching and surface luster are fairly easy to match and have look great on the day you pickup your mandolin from the repair person. The real question that I always struggle with is how will it look down the road- 6 months, 3 years, 5, 10, 25 years down the road? Two different basecoats, two different stains, and two different formulas of topcoats will all age, darken, and fade very differently over time. What looks great today may look horrible in a few years.
There is a book, The Beauty of the Burst, that focuses on a three year production period of one model of Gibson electric guitars- the Les Paul, all photographed and detailed after many decades of hard use. Their factory setup is probably about as good as you'll find for finish work, and yet the resulting finishes several decades later is amazing what variability that shows over time based upon a number of of things.
This mandolin doesn't look that bad right now. I'd suggest you either learn to live with it or sell it and move on. Like I said in another erecent thread about a small finish issue, whaddya think old man Monroe would say you if you told him you were all worked up about this???
Did anyone think to ask the maker what -he- would suggest be done?
As mentioned above, it can be fixed, but not by just a spot touch up. Matching an existing burst is difficult. Once you think you have the color perfect and then you put lacquer on top of it the color changes on you. It is also hard to get it to blend with the surrounding colors so it is a seamless repair. That being said, it can be done but it is not a quick fix.
As said above, it is far better to get used to it, consider it a "character mark" and love it as it. If not, there are several of us on the cafe that can do it. How much would have to be done is never possible to tell until it is in the hands of the person who is going to do the repair. The worst case would be to refinish the top. That is easiest way to guarantee a flawless repair. However, I hate recommending a refinish job for a spot like that.
I can't add much to what has been said except if you refinish the top, chances are it won't match the back and sides exactly either. As has been said matching colors is a hit and miss kinda thing, mostly miss.
Just another example of why folks use pickguards...
Thanks everyone, for sharing your thoughts and collective wisdom. What you've all said makes perfect sense. Some things I'd already guessed at, but some I hadn't considered, so I learned something.
As I think I mentioned, this is a friends instrument, so the final decision will be his. I just want to help him make the best informed decision possible. You've given me what I need. I truly appreciate the Cafe and its members who share so freely.
man dough nollij
Just another example of why folks use pickguards...
+1. A tasteful custom pickguard would be a huge improvement, unless your friend really hates pickguards. If it's ever sold, I would be sure to disclose all the details.
I your friend really wants if fixed I'd have it sent to Paul Schneider. He built the mandolin (and did the finish originally) and would have the easiest chance at matching the color. Someone else might well be able to match it, but I think the match would be much harder to do. Also, if it needed to have the top completely re-done, he'd have the easiest time matching the back and sides.
Your suggestions are good ones. Calling Paul was something we'd actually talked about, but with the idea of a complete re-finish. As mentioned by others before, a top-only re-finish or even touch-up is a possibility. However, having it done by Paul himself hadn't occurred to me.
I personally like the idea of a pick-guard, though I don't know if my friend likes them. I'll be calling him later today or tomorrow to discuss all the options and we'll see where it goes.