Kramer Vanguard Crackle Refinish

JK-PA

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So I decided to do my very first guitar refinish on a Kramer Vanguard FR440S.
This is what I got from eBay:

Besides the new finish I'm going to fill the middle pickup cavity and the holes from the toggle switch and tone poti. Also I got a new neck for this guitar, it's coming from a Kramer SC211 that came with a Vanguard neck. At least it says so on the sticker.

So I used some wood filler to get rid of the tone control and the toggle switch.
I glued a piece of wood into the pickup cavity (didn't take pics while doing that) and applied some wood filler on top
The body still needs lots of sanding but I made some good progress with the headstock:
Time for some clear coat and a new logo.

So much for now, I hope I can get some more stuff done within the next weeks.
 

JK-PA

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Nothing better than changing the plan half way through the project... right?

Over the last few weeks I got really annoyed by the fact that I didn't get the "right" neck for the V.
I love maple fretboards and originally wanted one for this project, but didn't find a good one, so I took one with a rosewood fretboard. Also I am kinda unhappy with how the logo turned out, in my head the gold on black/yellow looked way better than it does in real life. I mean it's cool... but kinda not.

Some days ago I found a Kramer striker, with a maple fretboard, that had a cracked headstock which got repaired and was painted over pretty bad. Got it kinda cheap and will use that neck now.

The other, already finished neck, will go on a different guitar. So I'm going to refinish a 2nd body.

Here are some pics of the new neck:



 

JK-PA

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Lil update:
I sanded down parts of the body again since it had some flaws.
Also sanded down the new headstock and started filling holes.
I Also fitted the neck to the pocket, since these striker necks are a bit wider than the original vanguard ones.

Kinda looks like some kind of overpriced relic guitar rn.
 

narad

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Is it okay to just delete a whole neck pickup with filler? I'm in a similar spot, and would maybe fill in the neck pickup if that was an option, but usually if I see a real luthier doing it they cut some piece of wood to fit.
 

JK-PA

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Is it okay to just delete a whole neck pickup with filler? I'm in a similar spot, and would maybe fill in the neck pickup if that was an option, but usually if I see a real luthier doing it they cut some piece of wood to fit.

That's what I did, I glued a piece of wood into the cavity and then covered it up with filler since it was not leveled with the body.

If I do this again, I would try to avoid the filler and use a bit more wood for it tho.
 

narad

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That's what I did, I glued a piece of wood into the cavity and then covered it up with filler since it was not leveled with the body.

If I do this again, I would try to avoid the filler and use a bit more wood for it tho.

Ah, I see. Alright, I won't try just throwing a whole fistful of it in there then :)
 

JK-PA

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Time for an update!
Some weeks ago I sprayed the crackle. The cracks turned out to be a lot smaller than I wanted them to be and I don't exactly know why, since it was different on my test piece.
I could live with the small cracks but that darker part on the long horn is not up to my liking - I guess I will redo it.
IMG-20220120-WA0004.jpg

Since my son was born 14th of January I didn't get to do much else but I bought a trem for a decent price.
20220127_105629.jpg

Schaller Lockmeister with FU-Tone titanium saddle inserts and screws - these will be changed for black parts and shorter screws to fit the routing on the body.
 

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Yeah I agree with you, bigger cracks are more awesome. But the whole thing is coming together nicely.
 

Omzig

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I did a few Crackle bodies the other year (Thread (tinypic fucked up all my pics though))

The one i uploaded to SS remains though (i have a few more on my Workshop pc)

full


To sum it up though if you want Big cracks Go Heavy/Close on a wet base and dry it fast (have an air gun handy) the longer you allow it to dry the smaller the reactions/cracks become

I have a Jackson Dinky + Maverick X (mockingbird/expol mashup) bodies prep'ed waitting to get done in crackels once the weather improves here in the UK but it's far to damp and cold atm :( looks killer btw GL
 

JK-PA

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I did a few Crackle bodies the other year (Thread (tinypic fucked up all my pics though))

The one i uploaded to SS remains though (i have a few more on my Workshop pc)

full


To sum it up though if you want Big cracks Go Heavy/Close on a wet base and dry it fast (have an air gun handy) the longer you allow it to dry the smaller the reactions/cracks become

I have a Jackson Dinky + Maverick X (mockingbird/expol mashup) bodies prep'ed waitting to get done in crackels once the weather improves here in the UK but it's far to damp and cold atm :( looks killer btw GL

Those bodies look awesome!

The weather here in germany is probably about the same, but I just wanted to get stuff done, so I did that finish even tho my workspace was pretty cold.
I was already thinking about using a hot air gun - thanks for confirming that this helps.
 

Omzig

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Hey JK-PA

Only the Blue/Black made it to full clear coat



Which was done with Uvpoxy because the paint build up when going heavy makes the crack exposure so massive to fill that using a clearcoat spray will take forever!

I did clear coat the 2nd red/black yamy body but i hadn't let the crackle gas off/cure enough before it went on so it formed massive blisters in/under the clearcoat totally messing it up so it got stripped...shame as it looked well evil under the gloss.....

you are not alone as I to had the issue with small cracks, this was my first pass..came out very steel panther ;)




so I did this test at some point



im still trying to find the timings txt i made for it but there is a sweet spot where the base coat is wet enough and gasing off enough to crack the thicker overcoat,i think for me it was about 8 mins and shows as the blue/blue section, i think the yellow was 10 mins and the green 12 or 15 mins..pink was 5 mins

and you dont need hot air you just need to get the venting gas'es off the surface to stop it from reacting with the top coat, btw i was using montana cans for this im sure i read that they come from Germany im guessing that's what you are using?

Hope that helps :) GL
 

JK-PA

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Hey JK-PA

Only the Blue/Black made it to full clear coat



Which was done with Uvpoxy because the paint build up when going heavy makes the crack exposure so massive to fill that using a clearcoat spray will take forever!

I did clear coat the 2nd red/black yamy body but i hadn't let the crackle gas off/cure enough before it went on so it formed massive blisters in/under the clearcoat totally messing it up so it got stripped...shame as it looked well evil under the gloss.....

you are not alone as I to had the issue with small cracks, this was my first pass..came out very steel panther ;)




so I did this test at some point



im still trying to find the timings txt i made for it but there is a sweet spot where the base coat is wet enough and gasing off enough to crack the thicker overcoat,i think for me it was about 8 mins and shows as the blue/blue section, i think the yellow was 10 mins and the green 12 or 15 mins..pink was 5 mins

and you dont need hot air you just need to get the venting gas'es off the surface to stop it from reacting with the top coat, btw i was using montana cans for this im sure i read that they come from Germany im guessing that's what you are using?

Hope that helps :) GL

Damn, that test body looks sick

I realized that it takes a long time to fill the cracks with clearcoat when I did the first headstock for this build. I will look into that uvpoxy thing, but I'm also okay with spraying clear for ages, I'm already mentally prepared for it lol

Timing wise I went with like 30 mins inbetween basecoat and crackle but I will make some more tests with less time, as soon as I get back to this project.


I'm actually working with DupliColor colors and their crackle effect spray. I'm not sure if there is any difference in working with these two.

Thank you for the help, I really appreciate that!
 

Omzig

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Hey JK-PA

NP chap that's what this place is for, im just sorry i didn't catch this thread before now, Ive been offline/out of building for almost a year due to some health issues, just getting back into things/life now and your post was a kick in the ass to re-start me interacting with this section again, so thanks to you :)

Solarez was the brand i used, for clear coat dont use their "i cant believe its not laqucer" Uv finish though as it doesn't laminate correctly, GL if your going to spray a clear on this stuff (a brave man!) i didnt because ive never found an acrylic clear coat that hardens enought for a body like this, the stuff i tested was soft even after months of gassing off.

I haven't used the DupliColor stuff (from what i read it was more angled at getting an aged/rustic look for furniture) but one thing i forgot to add was that i needed to change the cap on the montana crackle cans to a Fan cap

https://www.fatbuddhastore.com/montana-spray-paint-flat-jet-medium-cap-black-yellow-p14556

as the default cone cap just couldn't put out enought paint, also don't make multiple passes of the crackle coat,stick with one heavy pass because if you spray crackle on drying crackle you just end up with a powered finish that doesn't crack...how do i know that ;)



this was my 2nd pass at a multi colour crack...same body as the final blue/black (a 90's vester) lucky i found that a good rub down striaght away with thinners and an old t-shirt took me straight back to the sealing/clearcoat, i do love a crackle finish but it's kinda like swirl dipping you don't always get what you want and its a one shot process! cool but a PITA.

GL and shout if you think i can be of help :)

Steve
 

JK-PA

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Solarez was the brand i used, for clear coat dont use their "i cant believe its not laqucer" Uv finish though as it doesn't laminate correctly, GL if your going to spray a clear on this stuff (a brave man!) i didnt because ive never found an acrylic clear coat that hardens enought for a body like this, the stuff i tested was soft even after months of gassing off.

So far it looks like my clearcoat on that headstock is hard enough but it took a long time to cure for sure. I'm probably going to some testing with it on a different body, before doing it on the V.

I haven't used the DupliColor stuff (from what i read it was more angled at getting an aged/rustic look for furniture) but one thing i forgot to add was that i needed to change the cap on the montana crackle cans to a Fan cap

https://www.fatbuddhastore.com/montana-spray-paint-flat-jet-medium-cap-black-yellow-p14556

as the default cone cap just couldn't put out enought paint, also don't make multiple passes of the crackle coat,stick with one heavy pass because if you spray crackle on drying crackle you just end up with a powered finish that doesn't crack...how do i know that ;)



this was my 2nd pass at a multi colour crack...same body as the final blue/black (a 90's vester) lucky i found that a good rub down striaght away with thinners and an old t-shirt took me straight back to the sealing/clearcoat, i do love a crackle finish but it's kinda like swirl dipping you don't always get what you want and its a one shot process! cool but a PITA.

GL and shout if you think i can be of help :)

Steve

A different cap is a good idea for sure! I actually think that I have tons of caps somewhere at work, since lot's of my coworkers are graffiti artists and used our warehouse to spray and store their cans and stuff.

Spraying crackle on crackle with duplicolor seems to be a little different then, I actually did it on the V and it worked pretty well, only the longer horn got too dark but still cracked and didn't just turn black.
 


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