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1953 Valco El Grande Steel Guitar
Customer's Work Progress Reports

~ Page 11;  Pickup and Fretboard Masked and Painted ~

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When this Steel was made the factory silkscreened the fretboard over the finish paint.  The silkscreening protected the finish paint under it from whatever exposure caused the rest of the Steel's finish paint to heavily check and deteriorate;  But the finish under the fretboard is also checked but to a much lesser degree.  This Steel is destined to be refinished, which will require masking off the fretboard;  But doing so could pull up the finish checking under the fretboard and thus pull up some of the fretboard too;  So to help eliminate that possiblility I stabilized the fretboard and the checking under fretboard by priming / sealing the fretboard with a thinned clear satin enamel and worked it into the checking cracks with a brush to get a dose of thinned enamel in there to help resecure any loose checking;  And while the enamel was still tacky I sprayed successive coats of the clear onto the fretboard to form a good solid top coat of clear.  Once the clear enamel cures good in a warm dry place for about a month, it should stand up well to receiving masking tape for the application of a new finish onto the Steel.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that the sticky side of such masking tape strips first be pressed onto the front of a T-shirt being worn, before masking onto the fretboard, .....which will remove some of the tack strength of the tape, yet the tape will still work just fine for masking but just not with so much tack when pulling off after the job is done.  This really helps prevent pulling up some of old finishes when removing masking tape.
Here the electronics assembly is masked off with paper towels and masking tape, so that I could flash the wire leads color code paints with a sprayed mist of clear acrylic laquer to accelerate their reluctant drying.  Modern general purpose paints are quite flexible due to the wid range of applications they are designed for.