Vintage guitars are beautiful pieces of history, but it is good to know how to refinish a vintage guitar because eventually the oil from your hands can have detrimental effects on it. Learning to refinish a vintage guitar sounds like a laborious task, but the process is actually quite simple and can be completed with just a few common tools. Plus, you’ll save money that you would have had to spend on a professional doing the job.
To refinish a vintage guitar, you will need:
- A guitar hardware kit
- Masking tape
- Protective goggles and mask
- Wooden rod
- Your choice of wood stain.
- High-quality spray paint
- Using tools in your hardware kit, start disassembling the guitar. Disassembling means de-stringing and removing the neck and all hardware and electronics from the guitar.
- Cover the fretboard in masking tape. Make sure that you don’t spiral around the neck, but rather you place one long strip running down the front of the board (so that the back of the neck and sides are all still exposed.)
- Remember to wear your protective goggles and mask. When you don’t wear these, you run the risk of inhaling large amounts of fumes and possibly getting wood shavings or chemicals in your eyes. You can’t refinish a vintage guitar from the hospital bed, so go ahead and put your protective gear on.
- Begin sanding the old finish down. Be sure to do this carefully and to also sand against the direction of the grain. Take your time throughout this process, as it will be lengthy, and work little by little. Use your wooden rod wrapped in sandpaper to reach hard places. Make sure that there aren’t any patchy spots so that you get the best result possible.
- Apply your choice of stain and sealant to the wood. Start by applying a coat of the stain to the wood, and make sure you are still going against the grain of the wood so that you get a nice smooth result. After allowing the stain to thoroughly dry, apply a coat of sealant. You’ll need to let the coat of sealant dry as well before moving on to the next step.
- You can now go on to applying the spray paint. This part is quite fun if you’re choosing a new color. Lay the newspapers below the guitar to protect whatever you are working on from getting paint on it.
- Apply a coat of lacquer. Now that your color has been painted on, you can apply a coat of lacquer to finish the job off. This will take several hours to dry, so it would probably be a good idea to leave the wood alone overnight.
- When ample time has passed, reassemble the vintage guitar. Start by installing the bridge, tuning keys, electronics, etc. After everything has been put back in place, put the neck and body back together, and you are ready to rock out!