Ibanez MTM2 refinish

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Pikka Bird, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    Sooo, I scored a pretty sweet deal on a first generation MTM2 with the intent of refinishing it. Mahogany body, five-piece neck with walnut stripes, reverse headstock, no fretboard inlays? Can't let that stay gloss black. The idea was to strip the neck and body and oil both, but to choose the colour scheme when I had seen what kind of wood the body was made out of.

    I basically immediately went to town with my random orbital sander before even getting it home.

    Now, I had kinda hoped for that nice ribbon-figured mahogany they use on the RGA42 and RG321MH because I think it has some nice depth, but semi-unfortunately I got something a little more boring that will require a little extra work to make it appear nice and rich. Thank Bob it has nice, even grain with very reasonable glue lines.

    I scooped out the back of the cutaways, blended the belly cut into the outline and plugged the screw holes for the pickup surrounds with barbecue skewers in the hopes that it'd look inconspicuous enough to be viable for direct mounted pickups. I'll decide on that when I've finished the front. So to start off I gave the front a little Ikea stain (not the best, to be completely honest, but I think I can turn it into something decent) and from here the plan is to sand the front a little back and apply another coat. The back will get stained with some extra-strong tea (yeah) to darken it somewhat and give it some golden hues and then it's on to the tung oil, or whatever suitable finishing oil I can find around here.

    I was too eager to get started so I didn't get any before pics, but I'm sure most of you will have seen this model and know what it looks like. On with the WIP pictures:


    Cavities (you can see the plugged screw holes at the corners of the pickup tubs):

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    Treble cutaway scoop:

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    Bass side cutaway scoop (kinda shows the belly contour shape too):

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    Belly cut reshaped:

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    Neck stripped:

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    Heel reshaped slightly for that "Prestige" fit - It used to have this kinda thing going on. Notice how the flat area on the neck extends way further than the neck pocket. I dislike that a little bit:

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    Logo placement:

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    Wetting the front with some spirits to see what kind of finish I'd prefer:

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    First coat of stain:

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    Not pictured: I sanded the signature off the control cavity cover and the "SEVEN" off the TRC too. I even sanded inside the holes for the neck screws. Also, I could have left the front of the headstock alone, but I figured I wanted it to look a little snazzier, so I sanded off the plain white logo and ordered a chrome one instead. The "JEM" part of that logo will not be used, of course.

    Stay tuned for the next round, some bat-time, same bat-channel.
     
  2. Chokey Chicken

    Chokey Chicken mouth breather

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    I'm curious to see how this goes. MTM's are really nice guitars in my opinion, and yours is looking snazzy. Direct mount would make it look better, but those skewers are looking like they're taking more stain than the wood around them. (I didn't notice them at first, but after the stain was applied you can definitely see them a little more clearly.)
     
  3. aesthyrian

    aesthyrian SS.org Regular

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    Awesome project. Kudos on removing the paint on the neck too, I can't stand that.

    Love the scoop on the lower horn. Are you telling us that you did all that with just an orbital sander? Looks so clean and perfect!

    Are you keeping the "Jem" script on the logo? :nono:
     
  4. Señor Voorhees

    Señor Voorhees SS.org Regular

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    I approve of this as well. Nothing nicer than a mahogany RG with one knob and a reverse headstock.
     
  5. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    Yeah, they definitely soaked up more than the rest of the surrounding wood. My hope is that they've already been something close to saturated so the difference will be evened out when I apply some more. This silly Ikea stain has oil mixed up with the actual stain so it doesn't take the way you'd expect. It'll be interesting to see if I can make the skewers blend in.

    Naw, I actually carved those with an angle grinder. Come to think of it, I actually routed off the finish on the back. Set the router at 1mm and went to town. Don't know what the hell I was thinking.

    I hope the lines are gonna stand out a little more when I get some finish on there. I kept them as sharp as I could for this very reason.

    Defintely not. It's just the way the decal came. It was the most authentic looking Ibanez one I could find that wasn't too expensivo so I thought five seconds with a craft knife would be worth a few dollars saved.



    ...by the way, I'm not gonna do anything about that little bit of black on the neck heel. It's 100% level already and way better than it was from the factory. I don't think it'll suffer tonally from not getting the last molecules of the factory finish off. I did chisel off some of those paint stalagmites (you know the ones I mean if you've ever unbolted a low- to midrange neck) from the neck pocket which is gonna help a lot too.



    Thanks for the kind words as well. :yesway:
     
  6. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Looks badass; I found a deal on one of these a while back for a friend. It's a really nice guitar, much nicer than I expected for what I paid. Definitely worth this. Can't wait to see it done.
     
  7. aesthyrian

    aesthyrian SS.org Regular

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    You definitely saved yourself a lot of time not having to sand the damn poly coat off, and then the sealer. Can't say that I'm brave enough to try it, but I really do hate sanding the finish off of Ibanez guitars.



    Oops, I got distracted by all the pictures and missed the last bit of text in your first post. :lol:
     
  8. crushingattack

    crushingattack SS.org Regular

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    Really, everytime, literally everytime I see such a project I ask myself why the hell manufacturers don't do it as a standard. It looks gazillion times better than 'I-look-so-metal' black paint. Great work by far! :)
     
  9. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    This is VERY cool... :yesway:
     
  10. CaptainD00M

    CaptainD00M Lungsman

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    I like where this is going Pikkabird. Even though the grain wasn't as pretty as you hoped, it still has a lot of potential.

    I guess I'm surprised at what appears to be some quality wood for a 2nd tier 'affordable' artist model. This could be a great guitar when done, esp now with that heal reshape.
     
  11. UV7BK4LIFE

    UV7BK4LIFE Schecter A7 addict

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    Very nice!
     
  12. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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  13. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    Some progress. Stained the back, put on a few coats of oil. Since these were taken I also scraped the binding so it looks a little cleaner. I just need to do the headstock and attach the decal. Does anyone know if I have to cleacoat over it? I'd sure love not to. Not out of laziness, I would just like to keep the matte black headstock and have the glossy chrome logo.

    [​IMG]

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  14. UV7BK4LIFE

    UV7BK4LIFE Schecter A7 addict

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    I don't think you need to clearcoat over the decal, unless it's a waterslide decal. If it's some sort of vinyl decal it will be solid enough to withstand an occasional string change.
     
  15. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    ^Thanks, man. I'll leave it alone once it's pasted and trimmed. It seems like a regular vinyl sticker so I expect it's fine then?
     

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