Saturday, July 11, 2015

Guitar Sanctuary: Washburn® MG-70 (Pt.2 Repair and Refinish)

Hey everyone!

So in the LAST POST we were introduced to the old Washburn®.

The plan we had with this was to strip everything, refinish in Sherwood Green and convert it from a HSS with volume and tone pots to a simple single humbucker and volume pot layout.

First port of call was to start stripping all the hardware and pickups and give them all a good clean up. We decided to chuck the existing pickups in the spares bin and instead stick a nice new Axesrus® Gold Hex Pole Laudanum in the bridge.

Everything was in need of some cleaning when it came off the guitar.

A quick before and after comparison...With gold hardware it's difficult to really give a deep clean as you run the risk of taking the gold plating off entirely.

The previous owner changed the pots for the bigger CTS version of the micro pots the Washburn® comes with as standard. While this is a decent upgrade, it resulted in two problems. Firstly, the CTS pots have a larger body, this meant that when the pot shaft was put through the hole the body hit up against the side of the control cavity wall. The way they got around this was to cut the pot shaft holes into oval shapes. Effective but not pretty.

The second problem was they used long shaft pots instead of short shaft. The body of the guitar had quite a thin cavity top so the pots would have poked through a long way. They countered this but spacing the shaft with random washers and ferrules.

This is the amount of spacers one pot had. We have the machinehead ferrule on the far left. I can understand making the best of what you have but it's always best to buy parts that fit correctly as the end result will far better.

Started sanding all the matte black off. The previous owner didn't apply any kind of varnish or lacquer to the top or sides so this didn't take too long.

The back was a different story and took a fair amount longer to strip down, as it had a thick layer of lacquer.

After the paint had come off we found the slot for the selector switch had been repaired with some cheap filler. Our sanding had dislodged it and we were left with a jagged hole to try to repair.

The previous chap had super glued some tin foil in the control cavity as a make shift insulator but this doesn't work especially well so we'll rid of it and replace with some EMR paint instead.

First job after sanding was to give the body a light coat of grain filler. This just makes the wood a bit smoother come painting time and helps smooth out any lumps and bumps caused by the sanding.

Next job was to figure out how we could fill those single coil cavities. We decided the best route would be to make up a couple of single coil shaped wooden blanks and glue them inside the cavities.

This was one of single coil blanks we made from an off cut of Maple.

Test fit looked good, so we made a copy for the other cavity and glued them both in!
With both blanks glued we gave it a layer of wood filler to make sure we'd covered any gaps or cracks left from the blanks. We took this opportunity to fill in the switch and pot holes too.

We decided to re-drill the volume pot hole to get rid of the oval one it had before and give the pots a bit more room in the cavity.

After sanding the filler off we were left with a nice smooth surface.

We then took to cleaning up the rest of the cavities with a router as there was a lot of paint, lacquer and built up crud.

We removed the tin foil and super glue from the control cavity.

With the body nearly done we gave it another quick progressive sand to make sure we'd eliminated any imperfections.

With the body done it's time for the paint!

Giving the body a good few coats of primer.

The Sherwood green has a nice subtle metal flake and looks great in the sunlight!

We waited a few days for the paint to cure then the next step was to start the long process of lacquering.

We used Nitrocellulose lacquer which takes quite a few weeks to complete and even longer to fully dry.

CLICK HERE to go to part 3 and see the results of all the hard work!

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All the best,
Mike & Martin


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