White Spots on Spruce Top

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Claude Marino
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White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

Hi, I'm rebuilding a 12 string. 1970's Westminster Made in Japan. Sanded the top, it's Laminate. Then I got these white spots. Any idea what they are or how to fix? Thanks! (New member and first post).
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Top of Body.JPEG
Below Soundhole.JPEG
Above Soundhole.JPEG

Bob Orr
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Bob Orr »

The two darker spots look like you sanded through the top layer of spruce in the laminate. Also looks like the top has been coloured with stain or more likely tinted lacquer and the white areas are where you have sanded through the stain/lacquer to the bare wood. They could be touched up by re staining to match but that is not easy. Don't know any way to repair the sand through to the darker layer other that a top replacement.

Bob Orr
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Bob Orr »

Another thought, why did you sand the top in the first place?

Claude Marino
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

Hi Bob, Thanks for your reply. This is mostly parts. Not in very good shape either. I'm rebuilding these parts into a travel guitar. The neck is still attached to the top and is in very good shape. There were some very deep dings in the lacquer, scratches and even a gouge so I wet sanded with 800, 1200 and 1500 grit. Not sure I can match the stain but I can give it a shot and see. Much appreciate your answer, thanks.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Barry Daniels »

Stain is not going to help.
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David King
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by David King »

I'd hit them with some thin CA and see what you get. It won't get any worse. Cheap CA tends to yellow which you don't want so try an upper shelf variety like BSI, loctite, Satellite City.

Claude Marino
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

Barry Daniels wrote:Stain is not going to help.
Hi Barry,
What would help? Is there a way to color those spots so the guitar will look nice?
Thanks!

Claude Marino
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

David King wrote:I'd hit them with some thin CA and see what you get. It won't get any worse. Cheap CA tends to yellow which you don't want so try an upper shelf variety like BSI, loctite, Satellite City.
Thanks David, going to see what happens on a small piece of top.
Thanks!

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Peter Wilcox »

You might want to dry sand those areas, as it looks like the wet sanding has raised the grain. There might not be any stain on the finish - just the lacquer (or whatever is on there), which also might have aged. If you have any naphtha (or Ronsonol lighter fluid which is naphtha) you could wipe some on (it will evaporate off) to see how well new finish will match before you apply something permanent.

I don't think there's anything you can do to hide where you sanded through the laminate - just fill with epoxy if they are pits, and call them age spots. :)
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Claude Marino
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

Hi Peter,
I took your advice, dry sanded and cleaned with Naphtha. Am going to take it to the store and see if I can sorta match the color of stain. I like your idea about the "age" spots. Heck, this guitar is almost as old as some of my socks.
Thanks so much!

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Barry Daniels
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Barry Daniels »

Again, you should not put stain on this. The color of the top is from natural aging of a CLEAR finish. You cannot achieve this with stain. What you need is a toner, which is typically not even available in paint stores. The closest you can get with an off the shelf item is shellac. Adding a drop or two of dye to the shellac would get you close, but the dye is also not a typical off the shelf item except at specialty wood working stores.
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David King
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by David King »

Mohawk makes nice magic markers that come in a large array of wood tones. You do have to experiment with them on a wood sample to get the right color but once you know the color you could buy just the one you need.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Bob Gramann »

If you start with shellac on the wood before you refinish it, over the years the light spots will blend with the older, untouched surface. If you dye it, over the years the colors will move apart as the dye ages differently than the natural wood.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

To me it looks like the top has "suntanned" (UV) and you have sanded through that. You could try some potassium permanganate (oxidizer) to color it some. Start with a wash of a dilute solution and repeat to bring the color in gradually. Another thing that could work is a Powder stain rubbed on the surface and set with a mist of finish. Mohawk makes them in a number of hues that can be blended to fine tune the color.
As David mentioned, Mohawk makes magic markers also, as do others which are available at your local hardware store. It may be difficult to find a perfect match but you might get close.
Often with a beat up finish the best course of action is to just clean it up and accept the war wounds. Sometimes you can retouch areas to make things less conspicuous, but it is hard to make things go away completely.

Carl Dickinson
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Carl Dickinson »

Or tape it off and spray it black. I had to do that once. :oops:

Eric Baack
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Eric Baack »

Carl Dickinson wrote:Or tape it off and spray it black. I had to do that once. :oops:

Yeah, the Rolling Stones philosophy might be best here....

Claude Marino
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Claude Marino »

You all gave me lots of good advice and it's much appreciated. You were all very positive and that was too cool.
Here's why, on another forum the advice was:

There's another forum where people do a lot of this..... maybe you can find a kindred soul or two there.
we deduce that you need to take a few steps back.
What you are proposing is not realistic.
One doesn't "straighten the side boards
connecting the pieces WILL have to be done right
Learn how guitars are built and THEN figure out how to do what you want to do.
I think it is time for some tough love.
This project is a mistake, and you don't know what you are doing.

Well, I went ahead and did it anyway.
It could be called, “Ugly.” I’m going to call it, “Battle Scarred.” Peter suggested "age spots," Battle Scarred" sounds cooler.
After all it is 50 years old and my rebuild put plenty of scars on it.
battlescarred.png
How’s it play? With my $11 pickup, good, really good. It’s got some buzz on the A strings, but lots of people on this forum have written they have buzz on their guitar strings.
I am very proud of how I built this. Measure twice then measure again. Draw it out. Go slow, take your time, patience. Let the glue dry. Let the lacquer dry. Look at the mistake, think about it, then fix it. I made some mistakes, let’s say 10 and the finish is not great but then it’s the first time I did this. I’m proud of this guitar and can’t wait to make another one, it will be better, learning from mistakes.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Wow. there's a surprise! Do you have pics of tearing the body apart and putting it back together?

Also, if the A strings buzz, you should fix that - we never leave buzzes on our strings. :)
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

jw stapleton
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Re: White Spots on Spruce Top

Post by jw stapleton »

I call them character marks! It doesn't matter what problems that I run into or what I manage to repair or fqil to repair, I sure do have a lot of fun doing it!

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