Headstock Decals-Anyone have any experience?

Nanker Phelge

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Working on a partscaster guitar and thinking about a headstock decal. I see decals for sale on Ebay and Reverb. Not sure what a "waterslide decal" is.

Anyone have any experience with these?
 

possumkiller

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Working on a partscaster guitar and thinking about a headstock decal. I see decals for sale on Ebay and Reverb. Not sure what a "waterslide decal" is.

Anyone have any experience with these?
It's like the decals you put on a model airplane. If you don't have any experience with it, I would definitely get a few to practice with.
 

spudmunkey

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The thing I don't like about waterslide decals is that they will have that clear area from the substrate. I've only ever done this on un-finished wood, so I can't speak to how this disappears with some types of finishes/processes.

1660895251862.png
from the sub
 

possumkiller

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The thing I don't like about waterslide decals is that they will have that clear area from the substrate. I've only ever done this on un-finished wood, so I can't speak to how this disappears with some types of finishes/processes.

View attachment 112773
from the sub
Completely disappears when you bury it under clear coat. I would mask off the face of that headstock and lacquer it. It's too easy. And with the nitro in the spray cans they have now, it's extremely easy. I put eight coats on my headstock and let it cure for a day. Then wet sanded to 2500 grit and polished with turtle wax. Looks like a factory decal.
 

possumkiller

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I'm honestly surprised at how easy applying the nitro pain is. I've tried spraying guitars with normal enamel paint and it works fine for a matt looking military type finish. I tried acrylic lacquer for gloss and that shit just plain never ever cures. It will look nice and glossy but even a year later if you play with it sitting down your jeans will leave an imprint in the finish that takes days to go away. I wouldn't be surprised if the hype surrounding nitro finishes has more to do with the ease of application and less to do with tone or breathing wood.
 

dmlinger

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I use decals from Bedlam.

My process is below. It isn't for those looking for quick and easy, but it's what works for my process.

- Spray a few coats of sanding sealer to neck
- Level sand headstock with 320
- Spray 2 coats of nitro, 1 hour apart, let dry 24 hours
- Apply waterslide
- Spray 3 MIST coats of nitro. If you lay wet coats you could get bubbles on the decal
- Then lay down nitro like you would when finishing a neck. I usually do 3-4 coats. 3 usually does the trick if the neck is sufficiently sealed in step 1.

 

Riff the Road Dog

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I use decals from Bedlam.

My process is below. It isn't for those looking for quick and easy, but it's what works for my process.

- Spray a few coats of sanding sealer to neck
- Level sand headstock with 320
- Spray 2 coats of nitro, 1 hour apart, let dry 24 hours
- Apply waterslide
- Spray 3 MIST coats of nitro. If you lay wet coats you could get bubbles on the decal
- Then lay down nitro like you would when finishing a neck. I usually do 3-4 coats. 3 usually does the trick if the neck is sufficiently sealed in step 1.
I would only add that I also mist the decal itself with nitro before application. Works for me.

Applying a waterslide decal is incredibly easy compared to most finishing processes. Very easy for a novice to get good results. I would still practice on scrap just to be safe, but if you can spray lacquer decently you're very likely to do it well the first time.
 


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