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Thread: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent?

  1. #1
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent?

    Greetings!

    Long time lurker, first time poster here!

    I've come into possession of a lovely glossy Weber Yellowstone A mandolin. It came to me in unbelievably pristine condition. The action was a bit high and intonation was off, so I changed the strings, lowered the action and then adjusted the bridge to set the intonation. That whole operation went fine but in lifting and resetting the bridge (I did not slide it) I noticed there were "scuff marks" where the bridge previously came in contact with the soundboard. Given how lovely the finish was when I received the instrument, these scuff marks are a crying shame.

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    I was wondering what folks' experience is with having a professional buff out such scuffs from a high gloss finish? Can it really be done? Will the instrument actually look better? Or will the finish look even worse? Also - if I did want to have this work done - does it matter if I do it sooner rather than later?

    Thanks in advance!

    -JK

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan K View Post
    Can it really be done?
    It can if the damage is light and only at the surface and the finish is thick enough that there is no danger of buffing through.

    Will the instrument actually look better?
    It will if the damage is light and only at the surface and the finish is thick enough that there is no danger of buffing through.

    does it matter if I do it sooner rather than later?
    It doesn't really matter.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    Did you buy it new? If so, I'd contact Weber.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    Weber finishes are quite thin and the risk of burning through too great. I would recommend leaving it alone. Marks like this are not uncommon and go with the territory.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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  7. #5
    (not my heart rate!) 40bpm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    You're in good company with that mark. Learn to see past it. Sorry it happened, though.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    I never recommend buffing/polishing under the bridge area for fear of the bridge slipping and sliding during picking/strumming. (which is worse than a scuff, IMHO) If you have the bridge set correctly, I suppose you could tape its position with blue painter's tape and try to polish/buff the offending scuff without bothering the area that actually makes contact with the bottom of the bridge. That might improve things. Which brings me to the other obvious question, if the bridge was properly setup to follow the contour of the top, it should be smooth on the bottom and not have any burr that would scuff the finish in the first place. Something to check.

  9. #7
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    When a mandolin is strung up and tuned to pitch, there is about 50 lbs of force (more or less, depending upon string gauge, break-over angle and such) pressing downward on the bridge holding it against the top. Under that much pressure, the bridge will impress into the finish, so the mark in the finish is more an impression than a scuff. Wood is porous and cannot be made to have a perfectly smooth surface, and that includes the bottom of a wooden mandolin bridge. It doesn't matter how slick and shiny we get the finish on the top of the mandolin, the bridge is not going to slide around on there when we play. In fact, all mandolins with high gloss finishes starts out with the bridge sitting on a polished finish. When we remove a bridge for any reason, we will see the impression of that bridge in the finish. Any time the bridge is moved to a different position on the top for whatever reason (usually to improve intonation), it will leave part of that impression showing, and that is what the OP has.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    I've had more than one mando with really glossy (nitro lacquer?) finish that I thought impeded the sound so I de-glossed it with #000 steel wool, highly oiled up with Danish oil. It leaves a matte finish. Didn't notice a lot of tonal difference though, but they were low-end instruments (I wouldn't try it with a high-end mandolin as I'm not that comfortable with my skills.) It did take off some surface blemishes, but did not remove deep scuff marks. I'm not sure if that's the same sort of finish you have on your Weber, however.

  11. #9
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    You could try a method that i've used with some success in the past. I used Silver Polishing wadding,well squeezed out to remove the excess white spirit that carries the polishing media (Jeweller's Rouge), which is an ultra-fine reddish powder. Squeeze the wadding out as much as you can - even if it's almost dry,there'll be enough polish in it to do the job. Very lightly polish the areas a few rubs at a time,wipe the polish off with a soft cloth & examine the areas being polished. As soon as they looks 'good enough' - that's it !. Wipe off the polish completely & polish the top with a good silicone free furniture polish. I used that method on a couple of instruments (inc.my own Weber "Fern") & because the polishing media is ultra-fine,only grossly overdoing it will cause any damage. You could try it out on a small area,say on the top rear of the headstock to test the result you'd get,
    Ivan
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    I embrace the bridge scuff because it let me buy a fabulous instrument for pennies.

    AFAIK finishes on imports and boutique builders can be quite different. The mass manufacturers put on several layers of clear, a thin layer of color followed by a thin sealer. It doesn't take much to work through to the clear, which then becomes impossible to fix short of a refinish.
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  13. #11
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    And if you get the scuff polished out, be sure to put the mandolin in a glass case and never touch it.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  14. #12
    Registered User Wilbur Tabacsko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    Good point Phil!

  15. #13
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    Hi everyone!

    Thank you all for your comments. Even the snarky ones.

    I wanted to let y'all know that three years later, after accumulating a few more bumps here and there, the mark at the bridge was still bothering me. AND my bridge re-positioning was STILL incorrect so intonation remained off. A couple of weeks ago, I broke down and took my baby to a really good luthier and he nearly eliminated the mark and set the intonation correctly.

    So, the answer to my question: it can be pretty quick (and easy?) for a qualified luthier to remove such a mark from a Weber Yellowstone high gloss finish! Of course, it isn't perfect (nothing ever is) but now the residual mark is very minor and fits in with other marks evincing three-years of mando playing enjoyment!

    Thanks again!

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  17. #14
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    If you still have the mandolin after three years and think enough of it to finally get that work done, that means you probably love your Yellowstone A at as much as I love my Yellowstone 2-pt.

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    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

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  18. #15

    Default Re: Is Buffing Out High Gloss Finish Scuff Possible And/Or Urgent

    I love to buy used but not abused old instruments. I have a Martin guitar that was a pro's gigging instrument for the first twenty years of it's life. My other old guitars are a 65 Epiphone Texan and a 70 Guild D 35. All these are beyond worrying about a minor ding. My 1913 A 1 is actually in much better shape, and my Silverangel came distressed.

    I wonder how I'd feel with a new Collings. If anyone wants to give me one, I'll give it a go. Merlot F 5 Deluxe would do.
    Silverangel A
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