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Sanding Plastic..
Dee Taylor

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Total Posts: 4
Hello everyone! I'm Dee in Alabama: this is my first post. Also the first acoustic guitar I've built and I'll have some questions...I got a D-18 kit from Bluescreek (hi John).
Well I installed the end wedge:

I was pleased but it took like 3 hours.
Well my questions are:
1) How does one deal with all the nasty plastic particles from sanding getting into the surrounding wood grain? Maybe there's an easier way than what I did which was to basically mask off the wedge and do some 80 grit sanding to the wood, and use naphtha.
2) What should be the final surface prep of the wedge and other plastic before finishing? Or is it that critical when using lacquer finish...

Mar 13, 10 | 1:03 pm
Dee Taylor

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Total Posts: 4
PS: I did mostly use a scraper..

Mar 13, 10 | 1:06 pm
Bill Cory

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Total Posts: 3584
Welcome Dee -- glad to have you here!

That looks pretty clean to me, in the photo. I've found that vacuuming, and pressing masking tape (blue, green, vanilla) down repeatedly will pull plastic shards out of the grain pretty well. Forced air helps too.

The plastic, especially the light and white, will take on any stain you use. If you are not staining, that's useless information, but if you are, it's important to know. A coat of clear shellac or lacquer on the plastic will keep the stain from staining it in that case.

Using a natural finish, I've not found a problem with plastic; it just takes the finish right along with everything else. But, others wil reply, and they're better at finishing that I am ... 'way better.


Mar 13, 10 | 4:53 pm
Dee Taylor

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Total Posts: 4
Hi Bill, and thanks :))

I appreciate the tips. Ahh - air compressor - I wish I had one... hehe yes that would probably do it.

My concern isn't so much how the finish will adhere to the plastic, rather how it will look. As a test I wet some plastic with water and you can still kind of see the scraping marks even though it's wet. Of course that's water... I suppose I may have to just test some vinyl or lacquer on a piece. The thing is though, sanding with very fine grit is almost like a stain to the surrounding wood.

Mar 13, 10 | 9:02 pm

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Welcome to the forum Dee! I never used plastic, so I cant help you, but I did want to say hi and welcome.

Mar 14, 10 | 9:54 am

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Total Posts: 257
My 1st from Stewmac had a black plastic tail piece, and a mahogany set of sides. I sanded the plastic exactly as I did the rest of the body with no problem whatsoever with plastic bits getting into the wood. Also, the binding was black plastic. It took to the sanding well, and is just as shiny as the rest of the body. There was no problem with it at all for me.
Welcome to the forum also.

Mar 14, 10 | 2:05 pm
Ken Hundley

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Total Posts: 2169
Hey D, and welcome! Once you get the wood and plastic sanded, do try the suggestions above. Once it is clean, it might not be a bad idea to use some sanding sealer on the wood. You will have to do some other sanding later, and it may be easier to clean if the wood is sealed.

Mar 14, 10 | 2:41 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

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Total Posts: 981
Welcome Dee. I too have not used plastic. I probably never will, I like wood too much.
By the way, nice job on the end wedge, it looks great!


Mar 14, 10 | 6:26 pm
Dee Taylor

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Total Posts: 4
Thank you everyone! :))

Mar 15, 10 | 5:10 am

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Total Posts: 668
Looks good to me, Dee

I've pretty much quit using plastic binding and have gone over to wood, but instead of sanding I mostly scraped. And I'm going to disagree with Bill about plastic absorbing stain (wood binding does it badly) - most of the time you simply scrape it back after staining. Here is the plastic binding on my F5 - on the right is before scraping with all the stains from the burst, on the left it is scraped down with a razor blade.

Mar 15, 10 | 1:05 pm

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