Trade Secrets!

Super glue drop-fill: quick fix for finish chips


Issue 0 October 12, 2006

Here's a quick fix for a chipped finish: use a drop of super glue!

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).


Fix a finish in a jiffy with super glue

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.”

Step 1

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.

Step 2

I decided to brush on little ColorTone Red Mahogany Stain to replace the color that went away with the finish chip.

Step 3

#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.

Let your drop-fill dry completely. Go have lunch! You want this little drop of glue to be hard like crystal before sanding it. Go to a movie and let this sit overnight!

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Not too shabby!

After polishing with Micro-Mesh, the repair is smooth and shiny. I'm happy and so was the customer.

Step 6

Hot Tip for Fingertips!

The late great Stevie Ray Vaughan gave me this tip for players who bend strings a lot: Broken skin or a cut on your fingertip can be fixed with the #20 Superglue. Just a small drop will hold the cut closed, even through a double trouble set!

Stevie Ray Vaughan

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