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Jun 16, 2024 - 5:50:04 AM
983 posts since 2/19/2012

I've posted an ad in the WTB section in search of a few inches of binding material suitable for replacing a missing section on a Vega Little Wonder neck. I would appreciate any leads or tips on "antiquing" new binding material to match if I have to go that route. What I've found online about that involves spray equipment, which I no longer use. Thank you.

I guess I should add that I've read what's available here on BHO, with a couple of ideas not involving spraying.  My preference would still be to find a junk neck or a few inches of original material used by Vega.

Edited by - Parker135 on 06/16/2024 05:58:20

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:29:30 AM

rcc56

USA

5150 posts since 2/20/2016

Antique binding that is not decomposing is not easy to find.
A best bet is some new ivoroid binding.

I've gotten a good finish match using French polished shellac and yellow and/or amber aniline dyes.
After the binding has been installed and levelled, give it a coat or two of clear shellac. Let it dry for 2 days.

Then, mix some dye with some of your shellac. Use less color than you think you need. The color will deepen as you build the finish.

Use long, light strokes with a damp pad. If the pad is wet, you will mess up your finish and have to start over again. Make only 2 or 3 strokes at a time, wait a few minutes, and repeat. Don't try to build too much in a day, or you will mess it up.

Let sit overnight, repeat if necessary. Then let sit 2 or 3 days, and finish it off with a light coat of clear.

You'll have to practice on scrap first. There are several tutorials on French polishing. One is on frets.com.
The biggest mistakes are trying to build too much finish at one time, and not letting it dry long enough before you re-coat. It's easy once you get the hang of it.

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:33:03 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

Antique binding that is not decomposing is not easy to find.
A best bet is some new ivoroid binding.

I've gotten a good finish match using French polished shellac and yellow and/or amber aniline dyes.
After the binding has been installed and levelled, give it a coat or two of clear shellac. Let it dry for 2 days.

Then, mix some dye with some of your shellac. Use less color than you think you need. The color will deepen as you build the finish.

Use long, light strokes with a damp pad. If the pad is wet, you will mess up your finish and have to start over again. Make only 2 or 3 strokes at a time, wait a few minutes, and repeat. Don't try to build too much in a day, or you will mess it up.

Let sit overnight, repeat if necessary. Then let sit 2 or 3 days, and finish it off with a light coat of clear.

You'll have to practice on scrap first. There are several tutorials on French polishing. One is on frets.com.
The biggest mistakes are trying to build too much finish at one time, and not letting it dry long enough before you re-coat. It's easy once you get the hang of it.


That sounds very doable and matches the methods I have to work with.  Thanks, Bob.

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:46:25 AM

rcc56

USA

5150 posts since 2/20/2016

Something I forgot to mention--
If you're new to French polishing, make sure you use pure grain alcohol such as Everclear or Golden Grain from the liquor store to mix your shellac and dyes. Denatured alcohol is no good. It can cause drying and color problems.

Shellac flakes and alcohol soluble dyes are available from International Violin Company.

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:57:31 AM

hbick2

USA

747 posts since 6/26/2004

Please post a picture of the binding you want. I may have some.

Jun 16, 2024 - 10:16:32 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

Something I forgot to mention--
If you're new to French polishing, make sure you use pure grain alcohol such as Everclear or Golden Grain from the liquor store to mix your shellac and dyes. Denatured alcohol is no good. It can cause drying and color problems.

Shellac flakes and alcohol soluble dyes are available from International Violin Company.


I should probably spend some time learning to French polish.  I've been using Peter Coombe's water borne varnish process which starts with de-waxed shellac (Zinzer makes a dewaxed product) so I've never had occasion to French polish.  I've read about it long enough though!  Thanks for you additional comments.

Jun 16, 2024 - 10:24:38 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by hbick2

Please post a picture of the binding you want. I may have some.


Will do.  I won't have the banjo until next week, but here's a photo from the sale ad.  I'll get a better photo when I have it in hand.  I appreciate you offer!


 

Jun 16, 2024 - 11:20:42 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

Found another photo from the ad.


 

Jun 16, 2024 - 11:29:53 AM

2968 posts since 9/18/2010

I have old binding scraps stored for purposes such as this, but there is no way I can pick a matching piece without having the banjo to compare it to. Color differences can be pretty subtle.

Jun 16, 2024 - 12:24:10 PM
likes this

821 posts since 5/29/2015

The missing binding may be an omen of what will happen to the rest of the binding on the neck. Some times it is crumbling and sometimes it just comes loose and gets snapped off and lost. I tend toward just replacing the entire strip.

Jun 16, 2024 - 12:47:15 PM
like this

rcc56

USA

5150 posts since 2/20/2016

And it's easier to replace it than it is to splice in a piece and get both a perfect color match and an invisible splice.

If it was a pre-war Mastertone, a lot of folks would complain about originality, but I wouldn't worry about it on a Little Wonder. And if you do a good job on the replacement, most folks won't be able to tell the difference anyway.

Jun 16, 2024 - 1:59:36 PM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

If I were to replace it entirely (which I've considered) would I be better off going for ivoroid, with the attendant hazardous material shipping costs or just go with plastic? As you say, it's a Little Wonder.

Jun 16, 2024 - 4:19:18 PM

rcc56

USA

5150 posts since 2/20/2016

I would match what was there to begin with.
If it's ivoroid, maybe you can beg a strip from someone.

If you order, you might want to see if you can split the order with someone else who needs celluloid and order a lot of it.

The hazmat fee irks me. Yes, celluloid is flammable. It's no more and no less flammable than it was 100 years ago, but . . .

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:04:28 PM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

You'd think small quantities could be shipped if declared the same way batteries are.

I have a very kind offer from another BHO member to send me some from a guitar neck. I'll wait to see if there are any other issues before troubling him, but....BHO is a great group.

Jun 17, 2024 - 6:10:04 AM

Brett

USA

2651 posts since 11/29/2005

The story of how Leo Fender made their mother of toilet seat lap steels and little tube amps with celluloid cases, was heating the celluloid over a vat of something flammable, I can’t recall. Might’ve been acetone or lacquer thinner. It’s an amazing story in that no one got killed doing it.

Jun 17, 2024 - 7:02:29 AM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I have found old binding at my local luthier who's been in business for over 50 years.
When old,darkened binding is scraped to fit it gets bright,again.

Jun 17, 2024 - 8:04:24 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

Yeah, I need to find a nearby luthier like that. There are a couple of non-chain music shops in the area that would have someone like that on board or at least available.

Jun 17, 2024 - 9:56:11 AM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

It's a good thing to develop a healthy relationship with a nearby Luther.

Jun 25, 2024 - 6:05:13 AM

983 posts since 2/19/2012

I just got a piece of old binding from Bob Smakula. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and offers to help.

Parker

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