Modifying a Private Stock Headstock Inlay & Refinish.

Smack

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I have two blue Private stock PRS's. One I left in a case and forgot about, and the other so nice I left it on a stand by a open window for a few years. As you can imagine that guitar is no longer blue, and now more of a light grey. I really don't like it, and I really want a Scarlet Red guitar after selling my first guitar (a red SE model).

I've also never really loved the eagle headstock inlay on the Private stocks.


Now to get a custom inlay red PRS Custom 24 guitar, I would need a PS custom order which would cost a portion of my house. Getting a new Core scarlet red Custom 24 on the other hand sounds good as it has less resale value to lose, but I'd still have to scrounge up another few grand before modifying it and I don't know if I could find one with as nice of a wood grain.

So I've decided to modify what I already have and don't use by:
  • Re-finishing the face side of the faded guitar red, probably next summer with Covid going on right now.
  • Cutting off the headstock inlay and sticking a new inlay on at the same time.

Am I crazy for wanting to do this, or is there a better way to go about getting the same result?
Would I just be turning a PS guitar into a Core by refinishing, or removing the headstock inlay?
I can't imagine that eagle inlay makes up the entire value of a private stock but let me know what you think below.




To actually do this I have a luthier who can help me through the refinishing process (Here's hoping all goes well).
I also have access to a CNC router to cut the headstock veneer holes and inlay shapes out of Abalone shell.
The headstock inlay idea I have made to match the theme of the PRS birds, however is of my favourite bird, the Kingfisher. Rough Sketch Below:

61w3StZ.jpg

a47haF6


Smaller Sketch: https://imgur.com/61w3StZ

If this all works out I might eventually end up cracking off the fretboard and headstock on the blue one, and changing it all to marine inlays as well.
 
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veinbuster

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The refinish of the top seems quite reasonable to me.

Replacement of the head stock inlay is quite a bit more daunting. I would only consider it if I had an accomplished inlay artist to do the work. Not so bad if you are going to keep it, but resale value will go down significantly if the new inlay isn’t top shelf.
 

Smack

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The refinish of the top seems quite reasonable to me.

Replacement of the head stock inlay is quite a bit more daunting. I would only consider it if I had an accomplished inlay artist to do the work. Not so bad if you are going to keep it, but resale value will go down significantly if the new inlay isn’t top shelf.

That sounds promising, I thought it would've been the other way around. So if it's a professional job the guitars' still going to be a PS and worth a PS at heart?


The workshop has a new CNC mill. That gives me a heck of an advantage to start so long as I have the patience to learn to use it. I've spent the past 2 months learning to use 3D software and should be ready to start drawing at this point. The plan is to do it exactly how PRS do it and test fit on scrap as I go; Draw it out in 3D, CNC the abalone, pry off the veneer, CNC the outline, and stick the inlay inside before gluing it back on. That's literally what they do in the shop.



My main unknown are details on the material PRS uses for inlays (I know it's an abalone laminate but what thickness is it and it on a fabric? Most are super thin (0.08mm) and can't be sanded down, so I need to know how the heck they get them flush with the rest of the wood. I was thinking to recess slightly and put superglue over the top and sand down till I cut away all the glue, but I should probably try PRS support first).


Like I said, I'm waiting until the workshop opens up again. We've just been put in a second lockdown here so your follow-along thread could even be past summer next year.
 

Rhythmisking

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Am I crazy for wanting to do this, or is there a better way to go about getting the same result?
Would I just be turning a PS guitar into a Core by refinishing, or removing the headstock inlay?
I can't imagine that eagle inlay makes up the entire value of a private stock but let me know what you think below.

The idea is totally cool. It surprises me that you're giving any consideration whatsoever given to the "value" of the guitar. The value -as in resale value- of a Private Stock guitar is in it's being an unmolested Private Stock guitar. Personal value to you and you alone is a totally different thing. The mod your considering is taking a guitar you love and making it completely yours; and if your intention is to be buried with it I'd totally go for it. If you're also giving consideration to maintaining it's resale value...

If you had PTC do the work it might retain it's value, because then it's legitimately a custom 'factory' modification, but if you 'do it yourself' (even having the work done by a talented luthier to PRS standards), future buyers may see those mods as butchery to a top of the line PRS and reasons to get the guitar super cheap...like you've turned a PS into a Core in terms of resale value.

Unless they also really love Kingfishers.

Just my .02¢
 

Smack

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No intention of selling, ever. Thing is I've just bought a house, and I didn't have any intention of selling my les pauls', Fenders' and SE before that point. But even now the telecaster is still up for sale.

From my point of view, I wouldn't be smart to not even consider value. That said, what I'll end up with is a guitar that I may actually never end up selling, but I won't rip the headstock off if it is not to the standard that PRS would release.

If it's done professionally, and matches the theme, I don't see why it would suddenly be worth pennies. It's not like PRS don't do custom inlays from time to time.
 

docteurseb

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If you are worried about resale vale, I would sell the guitar now.
Even with a badly faded top I'm fairly certain current resale value is much higher than it will with these mods completed (even assuming they turn out professional looking, and even before taking into account the money you'll spend with these).
If the top were refinished by the Private Stock team that would be a different story, I don't think they do it at this time and last time I checked the cost was prohibitive enough.

Note: typed this before seeing your recently posted reply.
In that case I would use the best luthier available in your area for the veneer's replacement (and the refinish too).
 

DISTORT6

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Go for it.
They’re both your guitars and if it’ll make you want to play them, do it.
I have a similar problem with t-shirts. I forget about one, it gets shuffled down the pile, and then I’m surprised when I dig to the bottom and it pops up. :D
 
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bodia

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That sounds promising, I thought it would've been the other way around. So if it's a professional job the guitars' still going to be a PS and worth a PS at heart?


The workshop has a new CNC mill. That gives me a heck of an advantage to start so long as I have the patience to learn to use it. I've spent the past 2 months learning to use 3D software and should be ready to start drawing at this point. The plan is to do it exactly how PRS do it and test fit on scrap as I go; Draw it out in 3D, CNC the abalone, pry off the veneer, CNC the outline, and stick the inlay inside before gluing it back on. That's literally what they do in the shop.



My main unknown are details on the material PRS uses for inlays (I know it's an abalone laminate but what thickness is it and it on a fabric? Most are super thin (0.08mm) and can't be sanded down, so I need to know how the heck they get them flush with the rest of the wood. I was thinking to recess slightly and put superglue over the top and sand down till I cut away all the glue, but I should probably try PRS support first).


Like I said, I'm waiting until the workshop opens up again. We've just been put in a second lockdown here so your follow-along thread could even be past summer next year.
Not on a fabric. Watch a couple of these

https://youtu.be/ry65eD5KrKQ
https://youtu.be/ry65eD5KrKQ
https://youtu.be/ry65eD5KrKQ


I’ve got a few of the leftover cut out sheets from a tour a couple of years ago. I just measured one; they are 2mm thick. The veneer cut out is 1mm thick.
 

veinbuster

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That sounds promising, I thought it would've been the other way around. So if it's a professional job the guitars' still going to be a PS and worth a PS at heart?


The workshop has a new CNC mill. That gives me a heck of an advantage to start so long as I have the patience to learn to use it. I've spent the past 2 months learning to use 3D software and should be ready to start drawing at this point. The plan is to do it exactly how PRS do it and test fit on scrap as I go; Draw it out in 3D, CNC the abalone, pry off the veneer, CNC the outline, and stick the inlay inside before gluing it back on. That's literally what they do in the shop.



My main unknown are details on the material PRS uses for inlays (I know it's an abalone laminate but what thickness is it and it on a fabric? Most are super thin (0.08mm) and can't be sanded down, so I need to know how the heck they get them flush with the rest of the wood. I was thinking to recess slightly and put superglue over the top and sand down till I cut away all the glue, but I should probably try PRS support first).


Like I said, I'm waiting until the workshop opens up again. We've just been put in a second lockdown here so your follow-along thread could even be past summer next year.
A couple of thoughts.

I think once you replace the inlay, the resale value of your guitar will go down, but not by nearly as much if the job looks professional. Doesn’t matter though given you plan to keep it.

If you are using a CNC to remove the inlay, I would be prepared for a change in behaviour when crossing the boundary between materials. If I was going to teach myself to use the CNC in this way I would probably practice in these stages.
1) put an inlay into disposable wood
2) remove the inlay in the disposable wood and replace it with something of a different shape: maybe PS eagle(ish) with the part of your sketch that will go over the eagle location
3) when I’m confident, repeat on the headstock. I might not be patient enough to get here, but wish you the best.

I don’t think the depth of the original inlay matters that much. Your new inlay just has to match the depth you cut to.
 
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Smack

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I’ve got a few of the leftover cut out sheets from a tour a couple of years ago. I just measured one; they are 2mm thick. The veneer cut out is 1mm thick.

You mean the Abalone/Abalam Sheet is 2m thick? and the wood veneer 1mm?

Is that Abalam solid shell sheets stacked up to 2mm or laminated onto a surface?


Here's the sort of stuff I find:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/329...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_


But even these are just laminates of cheap shell, with one thin layer of abalone layered ontop. It means that if you sand into them, they will show the white shell underneath. I'm not too concerned about the headstock because that is flat, but the freatboard being radiused means I need to sand the edges down to match the radius, and that's what concerns me.
 

bodia

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You mean the Abalone/Abalam Sheet is 2m thick? and the wood veneer 1mm?

Is that Abalam solid shell sheets stacked up to 2mm or laminated onto a surface?


Here's the sort of stuff I find:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/329...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_


But even these are just laminates of cheap shell, with one thin layer of abalone layered ontop. It means that if you sand into them, they will show the white shell underneath. I'm not too concerned about the headstock because that is flat, but the freatboard being radiused means I need to sand the edges down to match the radius, and that's what concerns me.
Yes, the sheet is 2mm and the veneer is 1mm. It is stacked, not laminated onto a surface. You can see is this video that they radius the fretboard after the birds have been inserted. Looks like some super glue is applied in between sanding passes.

 
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