• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Headstock veneer/overlay template?

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Hi there! I have a problem with my '98 Gibson 'The Paul 2' which I kept in a less than ideal location for a few years (conservatory with wild temperature swings). This has caused a big cosmetic problem with the headstock where the veneer (or sometimes it seems to be called the overlay) has warped and is peeling away from the headstock.. The lacquer on the veneer has also had it and is crazed and flaking off.

So it would seem that a good virus lockdown project would be to replace the veneer, but immediately came across a stumbling block - none of the suppliers online seem to have a headstock overlay that is the same size as my guitar: it is different to a Standard or a Studio headstock.. I have found one supplier who could possibly supply a customised shape, but I would have to provide that shape for them to use.

So the question is, does anyone have or know where I could find a template for my headstock? Failing that I'll take the old one off and draw around it, but digitising that accurately could be fraught with difficulty!
I have also fired off an email to Gibson asking if they have spares or a template so we'll see.

Thanks, Martin
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Ok, so an update here. I couldn't find an off-the-shelf overlay supplier for my guitar, so had no option other than to either get a custom one made or make my own. First I'm trying the former option and decided to go with these guys in Portugal as they said they can do a custom overlay if I supplied the shape:

https://guitarsandwoods.com/materials-and-supplies/veneers-1490462386


First I took off the old headstock veneer/overlay with a household iron providing some background heat (having removed truss-rod cover, strings & tuners).

Next I drew around it and scanned it into a computer as a jpeg image. Then imported the jpeg image into Autocad and drew around it with lines and curves - this meant I could save the headstock shape as a .dxf format file.
Then the file was printed out to check it really was the correct size & shape, which it was!

Interestingly at this point it became clear that the headstock of my Gibson The Paul 2 guitar was neither completely centred nor symmetrical - no wonder no one supplies a 'standard' off shelf version!
Emailed the dxf to guitarsandwoods and placed the order and requested the same material as their Les Paul 59 overlay.

In the meantime, I ordered a replacement decal from here, old looking website but the decal turned up quickly as they're also in the UK:

http://www.croxguitars.com/GDecals.htm

This was the only place that seemed to do the exact same decal as my guitar has originally - the first one on the list with the 'i' touching the 'G' of the Gibson.

Nitro-cellulose lacquer also ordered from local Uk supplier and arrived quickly from here:

https://www.manchesterguitartech.co.uk/nitrocellulose-lacquer/

When the overlay arrives from Portugal, then the real fun will start - black lacquer coats >> decal >> clear lacquer coats + lots of wet sanding/buffing!

(next update in 2 weeks or so!)
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
So far so reasonable.

The veneer went on ok with wood glue - single clamp with two small hardback books either side of the headstock - ideally would have had two or three clamps for more even pressure.

Then black nitro-cellulose spray - many coats + sanding. If I was to do this again I would seal the grain of the headstock as I had to do more coats than planned to take out bumps caused by gaps in the grain.

Then the decal went on (after several days of drying). At this stage, the only feedback to give is that the gold is very delicate - made some very small scratches in it while flattening it out. Not bad enough to scrap and start again, but visible if you know where to look. Matches the slightly 'used' look of the rest of the guitar I suppose!

Now I'm onto coats of clear lacquer and gradually flattening the finish as the coats build up (P1200 grade paper at the moment, will get finer grades for the final coats).
 

fred dons

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2001
Messages
269
would have not been easier to buy a piece of holy veneer, trace the headstock shape and cut it out your self ? . also the holy veneer is quite dense but you need to sand it flat first and then you would not need filler (been there done that)
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,713
I have to say that I am impressed at your guts and nerve to tackle a project like this and commend you and compliment you on a fine and well done job . Bravo !
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Fred, yes I did consider cutting it myself as it might have been cheaper. But, when I consider my lack of luthier/woodworking tools, lack of experience with said tools and the relatively complex shape - curves, tuning-peg holes and so on - I decided against this option.

I was recommended this supplier of veneer material (Uk) for anyone thinking of going this route: http://www.luthierssupplies.co.uk/Veneers.htm
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Got pics?

Yes I have many pictures, but my ability to add attachments to forum posts is 'disabled' so I can't add them as yet (maybe as a I'm a new poster here?) - they aren't uploaded to any internet cloud service so I can't link to them either :(
 

fred dons

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2001
Messages
269
nicely done ! and thanks for the link of luthiersupplies, need to order before brexit ;)
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Final stage (hopefully) after waiting a week will be to try an polish the nitro finish a bit - I've got some car polish that seems to be recommended by many people that have worked on guitars - Meguiars Scratch X 2 - so will see how that goes. (might even try that stuff on the rest of the body to give it a spruce up to reduce buckle & plectrum scratches)

After that, it all goes back together!
 

Bruce R

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
941
....the headstock where the veneer (or sometimes it seems to be called the overlay) has warped and is peeling away from the headstock..


Can you tell me what kind of material your original veneer was made of? From the way it was curling up it almost looked plastic, but was it wood?

Great thread, Martin, and thanks for the photographs of the process.
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Can you tell me what kind of material your original veneer was made of? From the way it was curling up it almost looked plastic, but was it wood?

Great thread, Martin, and thanks for the photographs of the process.

Hi and thanks for the kind words in your reply!

The original headstock (I still have it!) is some form of thin fibreboard material - ie. it is neither wood nor plastic. The replacement from Portugal was wood, dyed black so I'm hoping it will be a bit more durable.
 

JIMI55LP

Active member
Joined
Jun 28, 2005
Messages
1,543
Will you be able to polish the finish smooth with the GIBSON logo installed?
 

MartinT

New member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
9
Will you be able to polish the finish smooth with the GIBSON logo installed?
Yes, think I answered that on June 1st above! You have to just keep adding coats of clear nitro-cellulose lacquer and use fine sand paper after each coat. Eventually the bumps caused by the logo (and veneer wood grain) gradually disappear as the lacquer on the headstock gets thicker after every coat. The last two coats were smoothed with a car polish: Meguiars Scratch X 2.
 
Top