Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

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John Eisenhower
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 12, 2020 5:32 pm
Location: UK

Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by John Eisenhower »

Hello guys.

I have acquired the neck and fingerboard of a 3/4 double bass. The instrument was made about 120 years ago by someone called, Emile ??? - I cannot read the second name.

The bass had been trashed, repaired with MDF, painted white and used as an ornament in someone’s home.

The plan is to strip the neck of its white paint and previous coating so as to get back to bare wood.Having done that I plan to make a 4th bass instrument (I’m an amateur musician) along the lines of an EUB. The instrument will then be finished in some kind of varnish.

My issue is:
1) That I cannot find out what sort of finish was originally applied so I don’t know how to get back to the bare wood. Scraping so far works, but a chemical will be needed to fully remove the remaining white paint and original finish.

2) That I do not know what type of finish I should apply to it (and the instrument as a whole, of course).

Can anyone help, please?

Thanks.

John

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Barry Daniels
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Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by Barry Daniels »

Why not just scrape away what you can and then use sandpaper to get down to fresh wood?
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Carl Dickinson
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:38 pm
Location: Forest Ranch, California

Re: Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by Carl Dickinson »

I'm just now approaching the end of refinishing a double bass. To remove the old lacquer finish I used the hard Carruth scrapers from StewMac both flat and rounded then finished up with 120 grit sandpaper. That worked great.
I usually spray nitro lacquer on guitars but the bass was too big to fit in the spray booth so I used General Finishes EnduroVar, a polyurethane type of finish which is not explosive like nitro. Used Transtint dye stains to enhance the grain and tint the finish for sunbursting. It's working out so far and it can be brushed if spraying isn't feasible.

John Eisenhower
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 12, 2020 5:32 pm
Location: UK

Re: Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by John Eisenhower »

Thanks, Carl.

David King
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by David King »

At David Gage's bass shop in NYC back in the 1980s I noticed that they used a regular sheet of 1/8" glass and broke off little pieces to make scrapers.

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Karl Wicklund
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:42 am
Location: NW Wisconsin
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Re: Double bass neck - restoration and refinish.

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I’ve done that with glass. Works fine, although you go through a lot of glass. And of course don’t cut yourself. And it can be difficult to break the scraper blade exactly in the right dimension.

I still use it often, in honor of my old mentor Frank who showed me the trick.
Kaptain Karl

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