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  1. #1
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 11:40 PM
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    Best Way To Relic?

    So I have this old Mighty Mite sunburst Strat body I think I want to do a relic thing with. It's clear-coated of course.

    What's the best method to relic it? Sand off all the clear coat I would assume? Then just keep sanding to the wood? Use a dremel? I don't know, enlighten me.
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    Eruption
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    12.06.17 @ 10:09 AM
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    Unfortunately, Brett, giving the relic treatment to a guitar with what is probably a thick polyurethane finish will ultimately never look realistic or convincing...
    Your best bet is to sand it down to the bare wood and either spray paint it with Krylon, Duplicolor, ReRanch etc. or send it out to someone who will paint it with thin coats of nitro or lacquer.

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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimi11580 View Post
    Unfortunately, Brett, giving the relic treatment to a guitar with what is probably a thick polyurethane finish will ultimately never look realistic or convincing...
    Your best bet is to sand it down to the bare wood and either spray paint it with Krylon, Duplicolor, ReRanch etc. or send it out to someone who will paint it with thin coats of nitro or lacquer.
    You're mostly right, but it can be done even with a thick finish.

    If you wanna attempt it, start beating it with stuff, and sanding down the spots where you normally touch it. You could do a test patch on the back and see how it turns out.

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    I've never done a relic. (Talk to me in 30 years--then I'll show you my "relics"!) But just off the top of my head, here's some ideas:

    *Ride your bike over it (the one with pedals--no Harleys).
    *Work "wear" spots with something that has non-consistent grains. Instead of sandpaper, use something like a rough stone to rub away the finish.
    *Throw shit at it--lots of shit. Knives, rocks, cans, your wife...
    *Attach it to the back of your car and drive with it trailing behind on various types of terrain.
    *Mimic dropping and impact "accidents." Where would it fall on stage? Where would the case close on it? Where would your bassist's headstock hit it?
    *Lightly sprinkle paint stripper on it in select places. Let it sit for several hours (in a well ventilated area).
    *Dump beer on it.

    Damn, this all sounds like fun. I might have to do a relic.

  5. #5
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    I would over-polish in the wear areas. Steel wool (0000) works well to remove the shine. Tom Murphy uses a large ball of keys and throws it at the body. If it is a poly-finished body, it wouldn't get down to bare wood in real life, so be careful. Use a wood dye to simulate years of smoke or do it with the real thing.

    Don't forget the hardware- this is where the men are separated from the boys. Pickguards, as well. Chrome gets a teeny bit pitted, but doesn't get over-the-top rusty. Nickle can be done with muriatic acid- just be careful. Over-polishing pickguards dulls them pretty well. The key is to NOT go over the top.

    Sandpaper relics get the piss taken from them in the ReRanch forum all of the time. Beware of the guitar looking like you wore a suit made of 80 grit sandpaper. Also, on the fingerboard- don't make it look like you wore steel-wool gloves soaked in used motor oil.
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    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyman View Post
    I would over-polish in the wear areas. Steel wool (0000) works well to remove the shine. Tom Murphy uses a large ball of keys and throws it at the body. If it is a poly-finished body, it wouldn't get down to bare wood in real life, so be careful. Use a wood dye to simulate years of smoke or do it with the real thing.

    Don't forget the hardware- this is where the men are separated from the boys. Pickguards, as well. Chrome gets a teeny bit pitted, but doesn't get over-the-top rusty. Nickle can be done with muriatic acid- just be careful. Over-polishing pickguards dulls them pretty well. The key is to NOT go over the top.

    Sandpaper relics get the piss taken from them in the ReRanch forum all of the time. Beware of the guitar looking like you wore a suit made of 80 grit sandpaper. Also, on the fingerboard- don't make it look like you wore steel-wool gloves soaked in used motor oil.
    These are all excellent points, bunnyman! I agree completely.

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    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimi11580 View Post
    These are all excellent points, bunnyman! I agree completely.
    Thanks!

    I have tried many times to match replacement parts with the older guitar, so I would say I have relic'd guitars for a long time. My first efforts in making a new guitar look old were frankly amateurish. My SRV #1 replica looked frightening!!!! It was a horror show, for certain; however much nicer than the belt-sander relics I see on e bay...

    But realising that it takes subtlety and restraint to make it look believable was what made me get a few gigs doing the relic thing on some parts. After all- you can make it look like you drug it behind your car pretty easily, but to make it look like it was gracefully beaten over years and years is the true test of your abilities.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

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    Brett...i can explain some different technics if you Use either MSN or ICQ. i've developped quite a frew techniques..

    send me a PM and i'll send ya my info

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    12.09.17 @ 09:22 AM
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    Just beat on it. I never took care of my ~1992 Strat and it had chips, dings, scratches... etc.. normal wear and tear and then some. One day, I accidentally swung it into, of all things, an exercise bike and put this huge gouge in it where my forearm rests. Because it bothered me, I took some sandpaper and steel wool and sanded it down. It didn't take much.

    With all the other blemishes, it looks sorta reliced - just not over the top, I suppose.
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    Tie it to a car and drag it a couple of miles.
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  11. #11
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 11:40 PM
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    Ok well I know it's poly but I'm going to do it anyway, it's not like I will care if it doesn't work or look good. So should I sand off the clear coat first, or just start beating the crap out of it? I want to get rid of the shine for sure.
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    Ok well I know it's poly but I'm going to do it anyway, it's not like I will care if it doesn't work or look good. So should I sand off the clear coat first, or just start beating the crap out of it? I want to get rid of the shine for sure.
    Whoever mentioned Steel Wool was right. That is a good way to put wear on things and dull them. I'd say leave the clear coat, but sand it with like 600-800 grit sand paper unevenly. Then take to it with steel wool to get rid of the fake look sandpaper gives. You can also take a buffing wheel attachment for like a grinder and use that to dull the paint. Overuse it and let the pad heat up like you're not supposed to, and don't use any polish. That will dull finishes REAL quick.

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    12.11.17 @ 10:06 AM
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    Brett, if it is a Poly finish, there really is nothing you could do to make it look authentic. All the 'cool' relic jobs are done to nitro finishes.

    If you have a nitro finish, a couple cool tricks are heating up sections of the body with a hair dryer, and then hitting it with compressed air (creates checking). Another trick employed by the Fender Custom Shop are throwing a keychain full of keys at the body for cool nicks and chips.

    I had a GMW Frankie replica that had a thick poly coat on it, and I tried and tried to relic that thing, but it just wasn't happening. The closest I got was using steel wool to rough up the gloss finish so it didn't look so pristine.
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  14. #14
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    I actually don't know what the paint on it is so I guess I'll find out when I start f-ing with it.
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    12.09.17 @ 09:46 PM
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    Hi Brett,

    One thing I wouldn't suggest with a thick laquer is using a dremel. My brother had an old Tele body that he wanted to relic...we used the sanding attachment on my dremel and tried it. By the time we got through the thick clear coat to create the illusion that the paint was rubbed off, it looked very obviously fake and kinda ruined the project...the other guys' ideas sound much better..especially using steel wool..I think the idea of throwing a bunch of keys is great...and good exercise too!! Anyways, good luck on your project.
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