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 Post subject: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:59 am 
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Posts: 90
Location: North London,UK
Hi Guys,

I thought I would share with you all my restoration of a 1990 Ric 610, which I picked up earlier this year.

Having bought it without viewing (never a good thing), I was very disappointed to see that the seller hadn't really described it as honestly as I felt they should. Sure there was paint missing on the body etc, but he had failed to inform me that he'd (inexplicably) given the guitar a thorough wiping over with nail varnish polish!!!

His reasoning? "I wanted to make it nice and shiney for you!!"

I wasn't amused when it arrived. It came from Portugal and I am based in the UK, so viewing wasn't an option.

I was furious when it arrived, as it had cost me close to £1000 to buy the guitar and have it shipped.

Upon inspection, lots of work needed to be done, including restringing it back to a lefty (as he'd had it set up for a right hander. Why do people do that eh?)

That meant reprofiling of the bridge saddles, and a new lefty nut being put in. He'd also changed the original tuners for Schaller M6 locking tuners. They were way too heavy, so I needed to get some new tuners.

I gave it a good clean, and guess what? The paint started coming off.

There was no option. I needed to attempt to refinish it.

Armed with no knowledge whatsover on the subject, I scoured this forum and the Rickresource forum for advice. Gradually building up my knowledge I set to work , having sourced the nitro paint and gloss here in the UK.

Over my next few posts I will show you what I had to do to get the job done.I'm very happy with the results and would appreciate you comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:16 am 
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Location: North London,UK
So the first job was to strip the finish. Hmm, as I was doing this indoors as I don't have a garden or a shed, this could prove tricky.

I felt the best way was with a hand held sander, using 320 grit paper.

Boy, this was hard work. It must have taken a couple of days, but I'd done my research and although hand held sanders weren't recommended I decided to risk it.

Having taken the top layers off, I was able to use finer grit sandpaper upto 600 grit to get the remaining layers off.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:43 am 
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Location: North London,UK
Sanding with the grain of the wood, it was important to keep it level, so I used a sanding block. On the edges I used my fingers, and sanded in an upwards motion to keeps the curves of the guitar in tact.

Once I was happy that the guitar was flat, with no bad spots I was able to clean the guitar down with lighter fuel, to remove any oil etc from my hands.

I decided to mask of the fretboard with some blue painters tape and set about spraying the primer/sanding sealer coat.

There is a guy in the UK who sells some really good nitro primer which also doubles as a sanding sealer, and it's white. A couple of coats of that, letting it dry for a day or two followed by a light rub down to make the surface smooth.

Once the surface is perfect the paint can then be sprayed.

I had fun here, and had an excellent use for my coat stand-It could double as a guitar hanger!!

Here's a pic, spraying two coats of nitro black lacquer.

Obviously it's important to spray on a good day weather wise, which means no high humidity or rain, and being in England this is a tough balancing act!


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:10 am 
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Location: North London,UK
Here it is after a couple of colour coats.One thing to remember is to plug the screw holes so that when wetsanding begins water doesn't get into them causing the wood to swell. I used vaseline in each of the holes.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:11 am 
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Posts: 90
Location: North London,UK
Having left the guitar to dry overnight, check that the surface is nice and even and there are no runs/dust/animals trapped in there.

I was lucky. The coats looked pretty good, but I gave it a light rub with 1000 grit dry sandpaper to 'rough' it up a bit before applying the clear. This would allow the clear to stick better.

I followed the technique on the Reranch site, which states 3 coat of clear, 3 hours apart, over 3 days, making 9 coats of clear. Enough to protect the finish and allow for wetsanding to be done without any sand throughs.

The trick with the clear was to spray lightly to begin with, and build up 'wetter' coats as more lacquer was on the guitar.

Then it was onto the hard bit. Letting it sit for 4 days.Some people say 30 days, but I'm impatient and wanted to see what it looked like, but I would recommend you do let it sit for 30 days to allow it to harder and gas off properly.

By the way, the techniques used by me here are by no means the definitive way of doing things.Just a way I found good for myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:16 am 
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Location: North London,UK
Whilst I let the guitar dry in the house, hanging from a spare shelf in the hallway, I was able to begin work on the saddle, and repair the pickup which had a loose wire.

I have some Stewmac radius gaugues, and used the number 10 to shape the top of the saddle. Using some rather expensive needle files I was able to shave the tops of the saddles to match the curve of the radius.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:24 am 
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Location: North London,UK
After 4 days, I began wetsanding.Starting with 800 grit wet, soaked overnight with a little bit of washing up liquid I began nervously to wetsand to level the clear coats.

The aim is obviously to make it nice and smooth, and remove any orange peel or shiny spots. Something I found a very big challenge, as I didn't know how hard I should apply pressure to the sanding block.

I was scared of sanding through the clear and into the bare wood, but I took my time, sanding in small random circles up through the grits until the surface was a dull and matt as possible.

This is the aim here I believe, to remove any low spots, which if left would show up in the buffing/polishing stages.

Overall I did this over 2 days, through 800-1000-1200-1500-2000 grit wet.

Don't use too much water, and take your time. Good advice I received from various sites on the t'internet.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:59 pm
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Location: North London,UK
once I was happy that the surface was level, and there were no shiny spots I left the guitar to dry thoroughly before the buffing process.

I used a power drill with a lambswool polishing bonnet and some well know 'ultimate compound' to buff.

This was again a worrying time, as I was convinced the finish might be broken and I would have to respray any damage.

I took my time and I was astounded to see a lovely glowing finish after just a brief time with the power tool. Don't get the lacquer too hot and take frequent breaks.

Once the compound was on, I took off the excess with a microfibre towel and polished by hand over the edges, as I didn't want these thinner areas to become a casualty.

After maybe an hour I had a guitar which I was very pleased with.

Again letting dry I polished her up with some Turtle wax mixed with water, using some handheld polishing sponges, and I was really excited by what I had achieved.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:59 pm
Posts: 90
Location: North London,UK
Be careful with the buffing.Even applying a touch too much pressure can see all your hard work go down the pan.

Anyway,I left the guitar for a week before reassembling, as I didn't want the hardware to imprint itself into the still (relatively) soft finish.

And here are the final results.

I would appreciate any comments here, and hope I haven't bored anyone with my ramblings.Special thanks to jingle jangle for his tips on various sites, and to forum member Uffingdon for cutting the nut for me. Cheers dudes.

It was a hugely rewarding experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Full Restoration of A 1990 Rickenbacker 610 Lefty
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:39 am 
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Posts: 90
Location: North London,UK
And a couple more....


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