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BanjoOnMyKnee

5 posts
since 11/7/14

04/21/2017 07:09:39 View BanjoOnMyKnee's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Hello

I have an Vega Soloist neck circa 1930 that has yellowing and flaking finish on the peghead.  I would like to carefully scrape this away and refill the engraving on the pearl inlays.  I very carefully removed a very small area about 1/16" in diameter with my fingernail and it seems to remove fairly well. What can I use to fill the engraving lines with after removing the finish.  Any advice would be appreciated.  See pic below.

Thanks

 

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Edited by - BanjoOnMyKnee on 04/21/2017 07:12:59

mr roper

United States
40 posts since 3/11/11

04/21/2017 13:24:02 View mr roper's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I'm no expert but I'll give my opinion. Leave it alone. At almost 100yrs old its better that it show its age.

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BANJO TONY

United States
3411 posts since 9/24/03

04/21/2017 13:29:11 View BANJO TONY's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I agree with Ed leave it alone. but if your head strong on doing something, talk to someone who would know like Eric Sullivan. he will steer you right with no BS.

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tombones

United States
201 posts since 4/13/14

04/21/2017 14:03:17View tombones's MP3 Archive View tombones's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

As far as filler to use, there are special crayons made specifically for inlay filler, they are cheap and easy to use. just draw all over the inlay until the engraving lines are filled, and then rub/wipe off with a paper towel. But as far as whether you should or should not take the finish off, I am not in a position to offer my advice, as I most certainly would give advice contrary to other's opinions on the matter. Since it is an esthetics thing, I would just do what you think looks best. if it's a preservation of originality thing, I would ask an expert.

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Dan DrabekPlayers Union Member

United States
5842 posts since 1/7/05

04/21/2017 15:27:56View Dan Drabek's MP3 Archive View Dan Drabek's Photo Albums View Dan Drabek's Blog Reply with Quote

You didn't ask for opinions on whether it should be refinished or not, so I won't offer one. 

I believe the traditional inlay fill was engravers' wax. 

http://www.priorypolishes.co.uk/shop/front/black-engravers-wax.html

I've never used it personally, so you'll have to do an internet search to find out exactly how to apply it. It's basically a rub on--rub off thing. 

On my own engraving, I have had good luck with gloss black Krylon spray enamel. I spray a little into a paper cup, dip a thin, pointed wooden skewer into the paint and dab in onto the engraving lines. When nearly dry but still semi-soft ( a few minutes later) I clean the excess off the surface with 0000 steel wool. 

This will be tricky to do, however, if working around a chipped finish. But with care, it could be done without damaging the original finish. 

Glen Carson, on this forum, is a master engraver and may weigh in on this topic. Any suggestions he offers will be good as gold.

DD


Edited by - Dan Drabek on 04/21/2017 15:30:52

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Bill H

United States
936 posts since 11/7/10

04/21/2017 15:40:53View Bill H's MP3 Archive View Bill H's Classified Ads View Bill H's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

If the finish is flaking off it may indicate that some incompatible material was applied over the original finish. Or some extreme condition such as moisture or heat. Could be someone applied wax. I know that none of my Vega wood parts have peeled or flaked.

I believe that Vegas have a French polish-shellac based finish--at least my 1930 Vegaphone does.  As others have mentioned, I would take care with how I might approach such an undertaking--once started, it gets to be all or nothing. I would not like to see my instrument fall into poor or deteriorating condition, but likewise, many well intentioned beginnings can lead to unwanted outcomes. 

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rcc56

United States
433 posts since 2/20/16

04/21/2017 16:10:29 View rcc56's Classified Ads Reply with Quote

Stew-Mac sells a product called Laskin's Engraving Filler.  I have not tried it, but they have carried it for several years.

I also would like to hear from some experienced engravers about what they use.

Your 1930 neck could have either a french polish finish or an early nitrocellulose lacquer finish-- the industry was making the transition to nitro gradually at that time.  If you're going to touch up or refinish the peghead face, french polish might be easier to use.

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Dan DrabekPlayers Union Member

United States
5842 posts since 1/7/05

04/21/2017 17:57:24View Dan Drabek's MP3 Archive View Dan Drabek's Photo Albums View Dan Drabek's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Bill H
 

If the finish is flaking off it may indicate that some incompatible material was applied over the original finish. Or some extreme condition such as moisture or heat. Could be someone applied wax. I know that none of my Vega wood parts have peeled or flaked.

I believe that Vegas have a French polish-shellac based finish--at least my 1930 Vegaphone does.  As others have mentioned, I would take care with how I might approach such an undertaking--once started, it gets to be all or nothing. I would not like to see my instrument fall into poor or deteriorating condition, but likewise, many well intentioned beginnings can lead to unwanted outcomes. 

I don't believe that a shellac finish yellows like that. I would think lacquer or varnish. Of that vintage, I would think most likely lacquer. 

DD

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mikehalloranPlayers Union Member

United States
8902 posts since 10/27/06

04/22/2017 07:57:11 View mikehalloran's Classified Ads Reply with Quote

Vega head stocks are well known for the finish not sticking to the pearl. The only '20s Vega that I still have shows a little of it. I'm certain that, if I lived in a harsher climate, it would look worse.

In addition, the dyed mystery wood (pear? maple?) often cracks. What's weird is that on Senators and the like, the unfinished fretboards do not and they're the same wood. I would expect the opposite. 

Anyway, Vega advertised a French polish in their catalogs, a varnish. Looking at mine, I see no reason to doubt that.

Most refins look terrible — way too nice and screams "reproduction" even when it's not. A vintage Vega is expected to have a yellowed, lumpy finish over the inlay that isn't adhering all that well. I imagine that there are those who can try to match it...


Edited by - mikehalloran on 04/22/2017 08:06:32

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