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 Post subject: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 2:35 am 
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Location: Saratoga NY/Apopka Fl
I'm looking for any suggestions or tips on what finish to use and the best way to apply it on my natural 73 4001. Thanks Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:45 am 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Tom- If you'll scroll down to "Finish Touch-up?" in this section of the forum, John Hall has a link to the Sherwin-Williams info pages for conversion varnish. According to John, Rick's proprietary finish formulation is in the same ballpark as this product. There are some good discussions here about the difficulty of applying this finish properly. BTW, does your 4001 have the checkered or plain binding? What month was it built in? Good luck! -Dr.Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:10 am 
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Location: SF CA
I should note that this sort of stuff is easy to talk about, but somewhere akin to repairing one's own automatic transmission, in terms of the average newbie being to put together the facilities and experience to be able to do it first time out of the gate.

Conversion varnishes are polyester or polyurethane based. They require specialized spray equipment, respiratory protection, and a good deal of practice in order to be applied successfully. The instrument must be stripped down completely, and I could write about 10 pages on proper technique in refinishing of a Rickenbacker fretboard, alone.

The toxicity of the materials means it should be sprayed in a properly-vented location. The vapors are explosive, so shooting it in your garage next to the gas water heater isn't advised.

I believe that Sherwin Williams does not sell this material in quantities of less than 5 gallons. At about 80 bucks a gallon this gets pricey. Special reducers are required. The materials are temperature-sensitive...

There are other conversion varnishes which are available for automotive use, in quart and gallon quantities, at around $60.00 a quart or $220 per gallon.

It takes about 6 ounces to properly coat a Rickenbacker, fretboard included.

This is not to discourage, but to inform.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:49 pm 
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Location: Saratoga NY/Apopka Fl
My Ric was built in Jan. 72and has the checkerboard binding. I really appreciate the enlightenment on refinishing. Not quite as simple as as I thought. Now I have a dilema. If I can find someone in the Orlando area that is respected, how much should I expect to pay to have the bass refinished? Thanks for your help. Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:29 pm 
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If you find someone in the Orlando area who can properly refinish a Rickenbacker bass or guitar, using OEM-type methods and materials, with a track record of some sort, I'd sure like to know about him/her!

I'm afraid that there is not a lot of good news on this front.

I've said this before (many times!) and I'll say it again here. 80 out of 100 luthiers are not finishers, and (as John Hall mentioned awhile back) 98 of 100 don't have a clue about finishing Rickenbacker instruments.

It's like asking a Jiffy Lube guy to repaint your valuable antique car.

A lot of luthiers will shoot a coat of nitro lacquer on a guitar, and no doubt whoever you find in your area who says they can finish a guitar for you, will try to talk you into this.

If a proper Rickenbacker OEM finish is important to you, nitro will not even come close. Nitro is easy to spray and rub out to a nice gloss. There's some nonsense floating around that nitro guitars sound better. Untrue, unless you're talking about a hollowbodied guitar with VERY thin top, sides, and back. So forget about that.

Rickenbacker has not used nitro in 47 years! Sometime in 1959, Rickenbacker started using conversion varnish, and although the formula has changed over the years, the concept and practice remains the same--use a catalyzing clearcoat to provide a surface with the gloss of a piano with the best protection available. So why would a Rickenbacker owner who respects his instrument, use anything but this system to refinish it? Why go back to nitro, which is nearly fifty years out of date?

Very, very few luthiers in this country (or most countries, for that matter) know or care about conversion varnish or how to apply it.

You can get a nitro refinish for as low as $75.00 from the kind of guy who also installs gutters and recoats your driveway. Average is about $250.00.

A proper conversion varnish refin will cost you between $450.00 and $550.00, depending upon instrument and color. although some go higher.

I know, because that that's the range in which Dale and I operate, and we do Rickenbacker OEM-type finishing. Newbies think "My God, that's pricey!", but Rick collectors and old-timers won't settle for less, and both Dale and I have lots of work to occupy us.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:01 am 
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Location: Aloha, OR
Sherwin Williams sells the C.V. by the single gallon, you will also need the Catalyst. Together they are approx. $58.00. It takes about a quart, including the toulene reducer(thinner) to totally refin a Bass. This type of C.V. can only be sprayed in controlled conditions such as: spray booth and temp. at minimum 70 degrees F. You will also need a spray gun (stainless H.V.)and a compressor. If you need the part numbers I will be glad to E-mail them to you off line. I am not promoting their product or advertizing for them in any way, this just happens to be the C.V. that I use and it will replicate the Rick finish very close. You will also want to use a compatable sealer finish.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:02 am 
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I think I'll stay away from the Jiffy Lube. Thank you for taking the time to explain. Now I'll start saving my lunch money. Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 1:24 am 
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Thanks for the correction on the Sherwin Williams quantities, Dale.

I use a different brand (PPG), and buy it in gallons, too. When I called the S-W distributor, I was told "5 gallon and 55 gallon packaging".

Anyway, it's good to keep the distinction between CV and nitro in our minds. Over on the Fender and Les Paul Forums, it's nitro, nitro, nitro. CV is confusing Black Magic to them. even though most Fenders and Gibbies are coated with it, too, these days.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:16 am 
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Paul, in 1976 I was a Gibson Factory Repair as well as many other top brand guitars factories and except for Martin they all used C.V. for their clear top coats. Gibson sucked it right out of heated 55 gallon drums and in 15 minutes it was dry enough to sand with 320. Some of the other factories like Ovation used a Polyester Gel coat that went on like boat resin. 1 coat and sand flat, buff out and it's done. Only thing is it was so brittle it would crack badly. California air quality regulations stopped production companies from spraying Nitrocelulose Lacquer long ago, I don't think you can even buy it in Calif. anymore. It is still available in Oregon although.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinising
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:00 am 
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Sure wish I had that heating equipment, Dale...but doing a guitar or two a week, no chance.

Polyester has come a long way. The Koreans and Mexicans are using it on every darned thing with strings, and it seems to be holding up much better. It is quite bulletproof, but has to go on so darned thick...

But you do make a good point--it is very brittle, and I think that the thickness plays a part in keeping it from checking too much these days.

I stripped a recent MIM Fender and found almost .025 of polyester on it from the factory. Of course, they don't have SCAQMD to worry about.

A Korean Gretsch I stripped had .015 of PE. That's twice the thickness of a Rickenbacker's CV. Again, less stringent air quality regs.

You can get nitro in CA, but I'm not sure about the restrictions. I buy it for furniture in gallon quantities from a factory in Oakland, and places like StewMac and ReRanch also sell it in small quantities and will ship it to California...

But you know I'm not a big fan of nitro, except for historical accuracy, anyway.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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