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Applying veneer to a slab-top - anyone done this?


antwhi2001

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Just about to start my latest project. A year or 2 ago I bought a black Epi LP Special bolt-neck on e-bay for £50. It had 2 P90s and it's an "I" serial number, probably 7-8 years old. I bought it as a project and as a beginner guitar for my stepdaughter (she was 11 at the time).

 

At her request, I refinished it with a flourescent green paint job (discovered it's a plywood body while doing this). I replaced the bridge with an Epi humbucker but left a P90 on the neck. I'll post some pics later.

 

Now she's bored with it and hardly touches it, and she's let me have it back to do a project on it. I know people will tell me it's a cr*p guitar and not worth spending time and money on, but I enjoy doing this stuff. I'm going to use some parts I have lying around, and buy a few other bits. It'll never be a "great" guitar, but I want one to leave in open tuning and pick up occasionally for bottleneck playing. The plan for it is :

 

1. Fit one single Kent Armstrong 10k dogear P90 at the bridge. No neck pup.

2. Replace stock bridge with a Wilkinson one I have lying around.

3. CTS pots.

4. Push/pull active tone boost.

5. Strip / sand it back to wood.

6. Apply a sheet of walnut veneer to front and back faces. Spray a nitro 3 colour sunburst finish with solid colour around edges (to mask the plywood!) but leave as much grain as possible visible in the centre. No pickguard.

7. I'll only replace the tuners if I can pick up a set cheap; the stock green keys are flimsy but work ok.

 

So, has anyone ever re-faced a guitar with veneer and adhesive? Any problems arise?

 

I'll add the before and after pics as I work through this one.

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6. Apply a sheet of walnut veneer to front and back faces. Spray a nitro 3 colour sunburst finish with solid colour around edges (to mask the plywood!) but leave as much grain as possible visible in the centre. No pickguard.

7. I'll only replace the tuners if I can pick up a set cheap; the stock green keys are flimsy but work ok.

 

So' date=' has anyone ever re-faced a guitar with veneer and adhesive? Any problems arise? [/quote']

 

Well, I work a lot with wood and walnut in particular and have carved my own LP "spotlight special" type.

Most veneers come in very thin 0.025 thickness..and thats about the thickness of one layer of guitar

binding, so it is quite thin and you have to handle it carefully to avoid cracking it.

 

One thing in your favour is that the LP Special is a flat top rather than a carved top and that's going to

make the application of veneer a lot easier for you.

 

It's best to trace out the shape of the top of the guitar with a bristol board template that you have

traced from the guitar itself to minimize excess wood and make the veneer overlay easier to handle.

 

If you have prepared the surface of the guitar by sanding with fine sandpaper so that it is smooth.

 

Make sure that you have good masking tape, a some kind of small roller with a urethane surface, some

razor blades for trimming the excess on the edge.

 

Highly unlikely you are going to get walnut veneer the full width of a 13 inch wide guitar, if you manage

to find it, you're in luck, otherwise, you'll have to book match it..with a seam.

 

It IS possible to use a resin glue, if you are proficient with this kind of glue and can work fast,

but means the veneer will get damp and could wrinkle/buckle on you..and it dries too fast.

 

What I use is contact cement. Applied with a brush and let dry until tacky on both surfaces.

 

If you are going to book match, ensure that you have a straight line in the center of the guitar

and clamp a thin wooden guide bar (temporarily) to ensure a straight seam. The trueness of

the seam will also depend on whether it has a straight edge (lengthwise) on one side to use as

the center. If not, prepare the straight side first. What i do is overlap both sheets and cut

with them at the same time with a razor blade or a exacto knife to maintain trueness of the

edges..otherwise you may see a gap.

 

Once the straight edges are prepared, use some 1/4 inch dowel "rollers" to position the veneer in the

exact place you want it. then carefully remove the dowels and press down the veneer from the center towards

the outside. Roll it the same way so that any uneveness is rolled out before the glue sets and any expansion

"errors" or bubbles is forced to the outside.

 

Do the same with the other side, but now you have to line up your edges of against the glued down sheet.

 

Once the glue has dried overnight, sand the edges with #220 and "feather" it down to the rounded edge

of the guitar.

 

Others on this forum may have other suggestions or add to this.

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Thats' great, thanks....I'm lucky, I found some some 15" wide 0.6mm veneer and as long as I don't screw up I've got enough to do front and back. I don't think I'd dare attempt it on a contoured top. If it goes well I may do it to my Tele too eventually.

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Thats' great' date=' thanks....I'm lucky, I found some some 15" wide 0.6mm veneer and as long as I don't screw up I've got enough to do front and back. I don't think I'd dare attempt it on a contoured top. If it goes well I may do it to my Tele too eventually. [/quote']

 

Yes contoured tops are tricky and require a vacumn press, as the pressure has

to be applied uniformly all at once to prevent buckling of the veneer. The factories

have these and the veneer is preheated to make it more pliable. I don't know

what kind of glue they use..maybe hide glue or something specially made for this

purpose. 0.6mm = 0.023 inches, so you have the correct veneer thickness that I was

describing.

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Ok, so some luthiers may have the required skills...yes it can be done without

too many tools or tooling...as long as you know what you're doing.

 

"We're all luthiers on this bus"..

well actually, I'm not..but I would like to play one on TV someday.

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Wow...

It's basically sounds like you're making it a hot-rod junior, with a prettier wood, and better finish.

At 120-ish bucks you might wanna have just that, so you don't have to have any hollow space or filling in the old neck Pickup hole.

 

But it sounds like an excellent plan and I'd love to see how it turns out!

 

Anyone know where to find a maple veneer?

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