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Home : Trade Secrets Archive : Welcome e-mail, Super glue drop-fill: quick fix for finish chips
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Dan Erlewine Here’s a quick fix for a chipped finish:
use a drop of super glue!

When your peghead smacks the drummer’s ride cymbal and a piece of finish pops off, here’s what to do. All you need is some Super Glue, a toothpick, and several grits of sandpaper. (I used a little red mahogany stain, too.)

Dan Erlewine Dan Erlewine, October 9, 2006
Damaged peghead

Fix a finish in a jiffy with super glue

Stevie Ray Vaughan tip
Super glue drop-fill step 1
Here’s the chip.
Modern poly-based guitar finishes are hard plastic, and when they’re damaged, pieces fall off. The simple repair we’re about to do is called a “drop-fill.”
Super glue drop-fill step 2
I dabbed some Behkol solvent on it with a Q-tip. This shows how the chip will look with clear finish on it. The Behkol dries in a few seconds — enough time to show that the look is just a little too light.
Super glue drop-fill step 3
I decided to brush on little ColorTone Red Mahogany Stain to replace the color that went away with the finish chip.
Super glue drop-fill step 4
#20 Super Glue (medium viscosity) is my choice of finish. I squeezed some out onto the lid of a cottage cheese carton, and used the bent tip of a Drop-fill Toothpick for my brush. Be patient! Let the glue cure for at least several hours — the longer the better.
Super glue drop-fill step 5
Sand the drop-fill by pulling narrow strips of Fre-cut Gold sandpaper across it under gentle pressure applied by your fingertip. "Run the grits" starting with 320-grit and working to 800-grit. This entire sanding operation takes less than 5 minutes; each grit gets no more than 30 seconds.

When I reach 800-grit, I switch to Micro-Mesh abrasives, using them wet.
Micro-Mesh does the buffing. I keep strips of Micro-Mesh sandpaper in water at all times, hanging them on the rim of my cottage cheese carton of water.
Don't rush!
Super glue drop-fill step 6
Not too shabby!
After polishing with Micro-Mesh, the repair is smooth and shiny. I'm happy and so was the customer.

Problem-solving products mentioned above:
Stewart-MacDonald Super Glues Micro-Mesh Finishing Abrasives Kit 3M Gold Fre-Cut Sandpaper
Stewart-MacDonald Super Glues
Professional instant adhesives for instrument building and repair. Foil-packed for freshness!
Micro-Mesh Finishing Abrasives Kit
Long-lasting "cushioned" finishing papers for a scratch-free mirror shine.
3M Gold Fre-Cut Sandpaper
These sandpapers won't clog like traditional sandpapers, and they last twice as long!
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Drop-fill Toothpicks ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains Behlen Behkol Solvent
Drop-fill Toothpicks
These handy angled plastic toothpicks flow glue precisely where you want it.
ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains
The simplest and most flexible of all of our staining products. They can be added to virtually anything.
Behlen Behkol Solvent
Solvent for shellac and alcohol based stains.
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