My New Project - '50s Blackguard With a Twist

Discussion in 'Squier Telecasters' started by sfcmark, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Thanks guys.:eek:

    I hadn't really expected this to drag out so slowly, but I think the patience while doing this rattle can nitro finish is going to pay off in the long run. I would hate to do the beautiful body wood the injustice of a crappy paint job.

    Now I'm going to have to collect a few pieces parts to keep me busy in the month or so the lacquer has to cure before sanding...if I can ever get it sprayed, that is. :p
     
  2. psp742

    psp742 Squier-holic

    Sep 17, 2011
    Morganville, NJ
    wow!!! great work
     
  3. KP Will

    KP Will Squier-Meister

    Age:
    75
    152
    May 15, 2011
    Northern California
    Your project will turn out great. I hurried mine through using shellac and then pulled it all apart to do a poly coat on it since I was not that happy with shellac only. I can see from your last photos that you will have a mirror finish, mine is not completely mirror.
     
  4. ricras384

    ricras384 Squier Talker

    65
    Jan 20, 2012
    DeFuniak Springs, FL
    Great thread man. Thanks for sharing all the details of the build. Looking great so far.

    Eric sends
     
  5. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    I hope you're right, KP. I'm still worried that I'll either sand or buff through the clear and have to strip down and start over. :eek: That's why I want to get the full two cans of clear on before I leave it to cure.

    Thanks Eric. Sharing my progress on here and the blog is nearly as much fun as the build. :p
     
  6. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Gotta Love the UPS Man!

    Strictly platonic, of course. :p

    I bought this Electrosocket/Switchcraft combo for under $10 shipped off eBay, and the Gotoh bridge from Warmoth.

    [​IMG]

    I had comparison shopped quite a bit on the bridge and the best price I had found was $64 and change from Stewart-McDonald. When I found it for $10 less at Mojotone I almost placed my order, then I read someone had gotten it even cheaper from Warmoth. I checked the website, and sure enough it was only $45(!). That's as compared to $110 on Amazon. For some reason it won't show up from Warmoth on a Google shopping search.

    I love saving $20 and getting the same high quality parts. :D

    [edit]: By the way, yes I know they're mismatched - there's a reason (but I'm not tellin'). ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  7. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Customizing My Hardware

    Well, I'm still waiting on the right weather to finish spraying my clear lacquer, but at least I've gotten some more parts, so I can make a little progress on my build in the meantime.

    [​IMG]

    As I showed last week, I got my Gotoh "Modern" Tele bridge, but it's black, and that's just not quite what I'm looking for.

    This bridge is made of solid brass and available in chrome, gold plate and black, but what I really want is a bare brass bridge.

    I don't know why it didn't occur to me at first, but a TDPRI user reasoned it would be easier to remove the black paint (or powdercoat, I'm not sure which) from the bridge than either gold or chrome plate, and it worked out pretty well for him. That's why I ordered this black bridge.

    So I removed the saddles and intonation screws...

    [​IMG]

    Then removed the saddle height adjustment screws and bagged the small parts so I couldn't lose them before I get this back together.

    [​IMG]

    I picked up a quart of "Aircraft Remover" from the local Auto Zone store and set to work stripping the black paint from my bridge.

    [​IMG]

    I coated the bridge plate heavily and wrapped it in a plastic garbage bag. I immersed the saddles in stripper in a small glass jar.

    The stripper is supposed to work in 10 minutes. I gave it a little extra time and checked on it after 15 or 20. What I found wasn't pretty...

    [​IMG]

    This is the bridge after sitting overnight in the stripper. It seems at some point Gotoh stopped painting or powdercoating their black bridges. This one is plated with black chrome. :eek:

    This set me back to the drawing board. The reason I didn't get the chrome or gold in the first place was due to the difficulty in removing plating without expensive electrolysis equipment (for the chrome) or hard to get chemicals (for the gold).
     
  8. tjnugent

    tjnugent Squier-holic

    That is one damn fine looking neck you have there..
     
  9. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    'bout time you checked in TJ! :D I don't remember whether I credited you properly at the beginning of the thread for the neck, but you can see I'm putting it to good use.
     
  10. tjnugent

    tjnugent Squier-holic

    That model neck is my fave... The basic neck and body from just about any price point are sound as a pound. I really enjoy seeing parts that I sold appear on beautiful guitar. I feel like a proud grandpa... lol

    TJ
     
  11. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Don't count your "grandchildren" before they're hatched. :D

    The weather is giving me fits trying to get the lacquer sprayed, and when I finally do I still have to let it cure for a month before I can wet sand and polish. :eek:
     
  12. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    You Can Do Anything if You Want it Badly Enough

    I like to think I'm not too easily stumped when I have my mind set on something, so I headed off to Google and the Caswell plating forum to see what the enthusiasts have to say (why not - it works here when you have a guitar question, after all :D)...

    The most common advice I found was "take it to a plating shop to strip." Even among people do their own plating, chrome stripping is mostly considered too much (or too messy and hazardous) to tackle.

    I called the only local plating shop this morning, and wouldn't you know it - they're only open Mon - Fri 8:00-3:00. Not only are they not open to drop it off on the weekend, I can't easily get there when they are open.

    I have to admit, I've found some of the sheer ingenuity I've witnessed on the forums to be infectious. I really wanted to find a way to do this myself.

    A couple of the users at the Caswell forum said you can use 30-40% muriatic (hydrochloric) acid to remove chrome without damaging the base metal (as long as the base isn't steel).

    It so happens that both Lowe's and Home Depot sell 31.45% muriatic acid as concrete cleaner. They don't break up cartons, so I had to buy two gallons, but it was only $11 for both.

    [​IMG]

    I've got to give fair warning here...this is potentially some pretty ugly stuff! It will eat your skin, and gives off some nasty fumes while it works. If you try this, work outdoors, wearing long sleeves, goggles, heavy rubber gloves AND a respirator.

    [​IMG]

    The recommendation on the Caswell forum was to warm the acid to 120-150 degrees for chrome stripping. I set a Pyrex mixing bowl (remember, this is the same stuff lab glassware is made of) in a hot water bath to bring the temp up.

    I set the bridge in the acid bath, and it started working pretty quickly. I tried to get my phone/camera to get a picture, but by the time I got back to the bowl, I had a completely dechromed bridge plate.

    I took it out and put in the saddles, stirring with a long-handled plastic spoon. In less than three minutes, all the black chrome was gone, even in the nooks and crannies.

    I rinsed the parts with the garden hose, and this is what came up with:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    No, it's not bare brass yet. All three versions of the Gotoh bridge are nickel plated under the final coating. I already knew that, though.

    I already ordered nickel stripping solution from Caswell Plating (http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/metalx.html) this past week. UPS tells me It will be here Wednesday. :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  13. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Wheee! What a Weekend!

    Not only did I manage to strip the black chrome off my bridge yesterday, but the weather was actually really nice today.

    As of Friday, it was supposed to rain all day today, but it was 61 and sunny with virtually no wind. I managed to spray another full coat, plus an extra pass of clear, so the clock is ticking.

    Just one month (groan) until I can start wet-sanding and polishing. :D:D:D
     
  14. Bullitt

    Bullitt Squier-Meister

    307
    Dec 14, 2009
    Mooresville,In
    Great work,thats looking a lot like Keefs Micawber.Nice build.
     
  15. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Thanks.:eek: It's getting to be an adventure.

    I have no idea what you're talking about :rolleyes:
     
  16. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Gaaaaaah!

    Well, my bridge plate and saddles are in the nickel stripping bath as I type, but they've thrown me another curve.

    The under plating wasn't just nickel, as I'd been led to believe - it has a coat of copper electroplate underneath.

    De-plating the copper would require expensive equipment and, of course, more chemicals. Since the copper is so thin and soft, I'll try to polish it off once the last of the nickel is gone.

    In the meantime, I got a goodie box from Angela Electronics (www.angela.com) yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    The hardware is all Fender; the screws, knobs and neckplate are '52 reissue. Surprisingly, the prices from Angela are pretty close to the generics on most of this stuff. One more shipment (from GFS) and my custom bridge pickup, and I'll have all of my parts.
     
  17. tabdog

    tabdog Squier-holic

    May 2, 2011
    Little Rock, AR
    Thank you guys for this thread.

    I think I learned somethin,

    Tabdog
     
  18. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Peeling it Back One Layer at a Time

    Thanks, Tab. I know I'm learning something new every time I turn around. :p

    It was really quick and easy to get the black chrome off last weekend. A few minutes in the muriatic acid and it was gone.

    Not so the nickel layer. Some areas of the bridge, particularly at the heel, were really stubborn and took nearly five hours and two preparations of the stripper before I got it to its current state.

    [​IMG]

    If I ever want to build a steampunk Tele I'll know where to find the copper bridge. :p

    [​IMG]

    Now I'll have to grind and polish the final layer to get down to the bare brass.
     
  19. sfcmark

    sfcmark Squier-Nut

    686
    Apr 20, 2011
    Georgia
    Ladies and Gentlemen...We Have a Keef Bridge

    Rather than either buy a couple hundred dollars more equipment and supplies to remove the copper plate or give up, I decided to sand the soft copper plate off the bridge plate and saddles.

    I started with #220 grit on the saddles, and it removed the copper pretty easily. I then sanded out some of the scratches with #320, and it came out in a nice, matte finish. In order to keep the flat surfaces true, I used a slab of manufactured stone countertop material under the sanding sheets.

    [​IMG]

    Each saddle took only a couple of minutes. I had a nice set of six brass saddles in 20 minutes or so.

    [​IMG]

    The bridge plate took a bit longer. It seems the back of the plate wasn't as flat as it should have been.

    [​IMG]

    I want the bridge to lay flat on the body to reduce feedback, so I need to sand the plate as flat as possible. This turned out to take quite a bit of elbow grease.

    Here it is about 25 minutes in:

    [​IMG]

    It must have taken an hour or more to get to the point where the back of the plate was completely flat.

    [​IMG]

    I forgot to take pictures while I was doing the front, but it was a major pain. I had to get all the inside corners and around the pickup cutout and holes.

    Once I got all the copper off with the #220, I went over it with #320 and finally #500 before I reassembled the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm pretty happy with the result, but for the amount of work it took, I might have been better off buying the Armadillo "Keef" bridge for $135 in the first place.
     
  20. Riperoo

    Riperoo Squier Talker

    7
    May 9, 2011
    Southampton PA
    Great job on this build and this thread. I have been lurking for a while, just had to jump in an say hey. The Muriatic acid was a great Idea. That Nickel is tough stuff, we use it on machines at work all the time, in areas where you do NOT want it to wear, it is beyond bullet proof, as you found out!!!
     
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