Board index » Rick restoration from part to finish




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1416
Location: SF CA
It's been awhile since I posted a project. Let's see...yep...about a month, so here's one of the guitars that's been getting my attention lately. It's almost finished. I'll post the assembled pics as soon as it's ready for its local owner, Gareth H., to pick up.

Gareth brought me his late '70s ('79 I think) 4001BT. It had been well-used, to put it mildly. (I don't know if the use is Gareth's or a previous owner's, but I suspect Gareth is a bit more careful.)

The paint and varnish had yellowed. The headstock had been redone in nitro, which had checked badly and yellowed more than the guitar. The fretboard had been revarnished at one point--with ordinary furniture varnish--and this had yellowed, checked and peeled. It had been adorned with stickers, some of which had been removed and left dirty residue.

Photos of the playable casualty:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ckhead.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... T/chip.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... tboard.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ticker.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... /inlay.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... kplate.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... /no-no.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... arnish.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ithead.jpg

Anyway, you get the idea...Gareth's orders were simple: restore the bass, but change it around a bit. He wanted it, post-resto, to have a nice FG finish and, instead of the black trim, could I please bind it in checkerboard with some white around the outside, like an early '70s bass? The fretboard inlays, we kept as-is. I would have to make a new pickguard in white. He already had a white TRC. Pickups were to be changed to vintage type. Oh, and a refret, too...

So, after a bit of a wait while I cleared my workbench of projects which had come in before his, I got cracking. First order of business was to strip the bass--of binding, paint, and parts, not necessarily in that order! Here are some shots. As you can see, pretty nice grain, though straight, and the walnut skunk stripe from head to toe, emphasizing its neck-through construction:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ipped1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ipped2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ipped3.jpg

Something to note for those of you with seriously checked finishes: Checking goes all the way through the finish and sealer, to bare wood. The cracks let moisture into the open-pored wood cells, and with the moisture come perspiration, salt, and dirt, and atmospheric contaminants. The result is that, every place that has a crack, shows a dirt "spider" after the finish has been stripped. You can see them in the end grain of the guitar in the shot below. End grain "spiders" run too deep to sand out, so they must be bleached, or they are going to show up in any kind of MG or burst finish like FG, MB, or AG. So these were bleached--repeatedly--to get them out.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... piders.jpg

Next, the whole bass was sanded. I defretted the neck in the usual manner:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... retted.jpg

Then the fretboard was carefully sanded and checked for straightness and correct radius all along its considerable length.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... rdsand.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... sandcu.jpg

Can't put it off--time to bind the body. I got out the router and also sharpened up a 1/4" chisel, in order to add the additional land for the checkerboard inner binding around the periphery. The channel can be routed all the way up to about 1" from the neck on either side. That final 1" must be chiselled by hand with great care and unerring accuracy. One slip and the guitar's body could be ruined...The two corners at the bottom of the guitar (at the neck-through) must be hand-chiselled, too. At the factory, these lands are cut with a router before the body wings are glued to the neck/fretboard assembly. Much easier that way!

Gluing the binding: I do the checkerboard first and the white as a separate, second operation. Each time it takes an overnight dry of the cement. I use a different cement formula than the factory. Whereas RIC uses celluloid binding scraps dissolved in acetone to make a bodied, translucent white cement, I use ethylene dichloride (EDC) with celluloid scraps dissolved in it. This formulation seems to grab better and harden much quicker. Below are some shots of the application of checkerboard binding. I use 3M premium blue tape in 1" and 1 1/2" widths to secure the binding, which is applied with a brush in a kind of sloppy manner; I haven't found a neat way to do this yet, but no matter--within minutes, the excess on the outside of the guitar or bass' body has set up semi-hard and so it doesn't get tracked anywhere.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... cksand.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... undcu2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... rbound.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... erglue.jpg

My heat gun is used in two places only: at the tip of each horn. The remainder of the binding is done cold. Each side needs to be uninterrupted, with the binding in one piece to avoid unsightly cracking later.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... eatgun.jpg

White binding is done next in a similar manner, after an overnight dry and peeling off all the blue tape securing the checkerboard. I also inspect the checkerboard to make sure it is seated and running perpendicular to the bass' face.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ndbody.jpg

Here you can see the horn in a closeup after the tape is pulled off the second layer of binding. Note the sloppy glue job (typical, acceptable, and easily removable in the sanding pperation which follows.) See how both bindings stand proud of the face of the bass. This is crucial to a perfect job, as these are sanded absolutely flush with the face. Incidentally, I use only genuine celluloid binding, which is getting to be hard to find these days. The DOT and insurance carriers have cracked down on places like StewMac, making it tough to keep in stock and ship. So most supply houses now only carry ABS plastic binding, which has the wrong "look"--it's too white and plasticky-looking.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... horncu.jpg

Here's the upper horn after the binding is sanded flush:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... sandcu.jpg

And the whole body post-sanding of the binding:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... eadycu.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... sanded.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ngsand.jpg

I make up a paste to fill any small gaps between bindings. This is simply the cement mixture, with a bit of whiting worked into it to make a white paste. We call it "mud".

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... udfill.jpg

I refretted the bass at this time, using a combination of a press (to accurately set them by "feel") and a few finish taps with a hammer to catch those ends and sometimes centers, that are not down completely tight to the fretboard.

Ready for sealer. I use vinyl sealer. RIC uses thinned conversion varnish. Either method is good for the painting operations that follow. I choose the vinyl because it dries quicker and sands absolutely flat in a jiffy.

I mask off the sides (the 1/4" face) of the white binding with a special 3M fine line tape. This is a polypropylene tape that gives an absolutely sharp definition line, unlike paper masking tapes, which leave a rough edge. The top of the binding, which is about 1/8" wide, is quicker and easier to paint over and scrape back later with a single-edged razor blade. This, too, is how it's done at the RIC plant in Santa Ana.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... ypaint.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... npaint.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... crape2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... rapecu.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... pethru.jpg

Last, the bass is ready for clearcoating. I mixed a bit of amber into the clearcoat's first two coats, because new white binding looks too new.

Here's a detail of one side right after the bass was clearcoated. You can see the perfect fit which is necessary between the binding and the body. Next, the clearcoat will be hand- and machine-sanded to #2000 grit, then hand and machine buffed to a glasslike finish before reinstalling the hardware and stringing it up to intonate, set up and play.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v693/ ... inding.jpg

Next, I'll show the sanding and buffing process and the assembled instrument. This is the third checkerboard bass that I've done this month!

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


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:02 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1194
Location: NE Ohio
Nice work! Every time I see you do something like this I look at my 4003FL and imagine checker binding on it. Along with walnut headstock wings.


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 738
Location: southeastern wisconsin
That is amazing! It feels good to see these instruments getting new lives. And I like how say you put amber in the first two clear coats; that's great because it seems that adding a bit of age makes it look real and authentic as opposed to unbelievable and obvious. Beautiful work, I can't wait to see the final product!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 4:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 497
Location: South Side of the Sky
Jingle Jangle may I ask how a customer can get contact info regarding your services on restoration or any form of repair regarding Rickenbacker instruments.
I really would like to know so I have the info if the situation arrises.
Thank's,
FISH


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 2592
Location: The Rickenroom
Quote:
Nice work! Every time I see you do something like this I look at my 4003FL and imagine checker binding on it. Along with walnut headstock wings.


Yeah, that's what I think about my '79 4001 also.

What Paul says about moisture, sweat, dirt,etc, getting into finish checking makes me wonder if I should have my '73 4001 refinished. It has some checking in the finish which happened before I owned it.

_________________
Throw that piece of firewood where it belongs and get yourself a Rickenbacker!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:55 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1416
Location: SF CA
Fish, I'm in SF, CA. My e-mail address is in my profile on this Forum.

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


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 10:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 235
Location: Hickory,NC
All I can say is WOW! Great job!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Chicago
My first post here!

I just had to respond to this thread. AMAZING work, Paul. To take a 4001 that looks THAT bad and make it look THAT good deserves many a high-five.

I'm very anxious to see the finished product.


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1848
Location: New York, NY
Welcome Rick addict. As a former Chicagoan, it's nice to see others from there are into Ricks. Another great job by Jingle Jangle of course.


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: '79 4001 RESURRECTION
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 4
Location: NJ
Mr Jangle,
What exactly goes into the bleaching process? Awesome work by the way!


Top 
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

Board index » Rick restoration from part to finish


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Register    Login    Forum    Search    FAQ
X