Finish Dent on Neck

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by Chris fulenwider, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Chris fulenwider

    Chris fulenwider New Member

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    The corner of a straight edge just caught the neck on my McCarty 594 which resulted in a small finish dent. Are there any safe tips to smoothing out this dent? I keep seeing articles on steaming out dents in wood but I'm not sure if that is safe because this seems to just be in the finish. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    I personally would shy away from trying to steam out dents in a finished guitar. I'd worry about moisture getting underneath, swelling the wood too much, and cracking the finish even worse.

    The master at work:
     
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  3. Axis39

    Axis39 New Member

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    As a cabinet maker and installer, I can tell you that steaming out a dent works like a champ. It is a very temporary swelling fo the wood. Wood moisture content is a long term thing, not a quick change bit. Of course, if you dowse the guitar in water, that's something else entirely. When steaming out a dent, it only takes a tiny bit of moisture to get the fibers to swell and return to the normal state.

    But, it sounds like this is just a finish dent. Steam won't help that. Doing a little drop fill like Dan does in that video @garrett posted works great.
     
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  4. Dead&Co

    Dead&Co New Member

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    This method?



    What if you just leave it untouched, any chance the wood will return to normal state?

    And does time matter? As in when dent occurs and if not treated immediately, does that affect it long term i.e. permanently dented?
     
  5. docteurseb

    docteurseb New Member

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    Do not use the iron/steam method on finished wood. It works wonders on unfinished wood, but won’t do anything if it’s already clear coated and more likely than not will damage the finish.
    If it’s a very shallow dent you could sand it out with very fine grit sandpaper (1500-2000) and polish it. If it’s moderately deep then drop fill (stewmac has a touch up pencil with clear finish, superglue can work too), sand, and polish; it will not be an invisible touch up but it’ll be close.
     
  6. Dead&Co

    Dead&Co New Member

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    Got it. So if it's a small shallow dent on finished painted wood (located in the front, upper bout), what would be best way to go?
     
  7. docteurseb

    docteurseb New Member

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    Do you happen to have a picture of it ?
     
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  8. Dead&Co

    Dead&Co New Member

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    Looks like this

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Axis39

    Axis39 New Member

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    I respectfully disagree about steaming finished wood. I have done it many times with perfect results and no damage to the finish... Short term or long term. I am also always one to err on the side of caution and go light first. Less water, less heat, and then sneak up on it.

    However, drop filling and polishing itself can be the correct answer as well. However, I do not believe drop filling will help the OP. If we look at the picture he just posted, the dent is too deep for drop filling and having it look perfect again. There would always be a bit fo a shadow, because the dent is so 'deep'.

    I would try steam... But, do it gently and don't expect it to be perfect.


    As for the question of age and dents...

    Will the wood return to it's normal state on it's own? Nope. It's probably already spring back as much as it would normally. newly dented is gonna be easier on a couple of fronts.

    But, an old dent steams out just as well as a new one, as far as the wood itself goes. An older dent might show slight wear at the lip, where the finish might be slightly worn? Maybe?

    I would say this dent is a perfect opportunity to use steam to get it back close to flush, then a drop fill of finish.
     
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