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Gretsch Finish Checking

little rock

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I set my Millenium Mapel Gretsch USA Customs up yesterday and noticed that the bass drum has developed what I think is referred to as finish checking. It actually may be called something else. The lacquer has hairline cracks in it. They are unnoticeable unless you are looking very closely. What causes this and is there anything one can do about it short of refinishing or recovering the set? It seems that Gretsch finishes are prone to this. Oh, I almost forgot to say that they are 17/18 years old.
 

JimmyM

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That’s what lacquer does over time. Usually it’s exposure to the elements in general, like going from cold to hot or vice versa. After some years it dries more completely and becomes a little fragile. Unless it’s trashed badly, I say leave it.
 

DBT

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Yup : Option #1 Leave it . Option #2 : If it’s not deep and just through the surface the shell can be fine wet sanded , buffed and polished . Gretsch sprays their shells with 10 coats of lacquer with sanding in between every 2 coats then keep repeating that process building up and ultimately making one coat of lacquer . Without the sanding in between it’s just layering the lacquer . My point is that the clear coat can handle having it taken out . Will it get worse over time ? No doubt . If you aren’t equipped to handle that or don’t want to pay someone to do it absolutely leave it . Also extreme temperature changes do play a big part in it . My SSB ‘s , 86’ Sg. Badges and my Anniversary’s where all clear coated and kept in temp. Controlled settings , never had a problem with any of them .
 
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JDA

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There a tidbit truth that needs to added; Paul Cooper down there mentions it.
They are using water based now where prior it was ? i dunno what based
or it's inescapable with gloss finishes

but I think it's the former.
Those drums of yours done in Ridgeland used a prior method
I'm thinking that's what you own.
 

DBT

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There a tidbit truth that needs to added; Paul Cooper down there mentions it.
They are using water based now where prior it was ? i dunno what based
or it's inescapable with gloss finishes

but I think it's the former.
Those drums of yours done in Ridgeland used a prior method
I'm thinking that's what you own.
I think ( and it’s just a thought ) that they switched to a vinyl sealer which is more forgiving then the traditional instrument sealer ( necessary) before hitting it with the instrument lacquer . VOC’s have to be more compliant these days . He hints but doesn’t give away the particulars so you have to read between he lines . Ultimately I think it has more to do with temp changes . There have been posts on here where it’s happened to new drums . I read somewhere over time lacquer produces a warmer tone then Poly and after years of using both I tend to agree . Could some of these shells got short changed ? Possible too .
 

JDA

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I think ( and it’s just a thought ) that they switched to a vinyl sealer which is more forgiving then the traditional instrument sealer ( necessary) before hitting it with the instrument lacquer . VOC’s have to be more compliant these days . He hints but doesn’t give away the particulars so you have to read between he lines . Ultimately I think it has more to do with temp changes . There have been posts on here where it’s happened to new drums . I read somewhere where over time lacquer produces a warmer tone then Poly and after years of using both I tend to agree . Could some of these shells got short changed ? Possible too .
let me ask you this too My USA Gretsch are Satin (rose) wood finish. Wouldn't have the clear coats (correct?) Would never-ever be susceptible to Checking correct?
 

DBT

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let me ask you this too My USA Gretsch are Satin wood finish. Wouldn't have the clear coats (correct?) Would never-ever be susceptible to Checking correct?
Not at all . Just a different sheen . The thing with Satin is that you can get away with less coats . Pointing that out makes me also think more build up plays a part too .
 

DBT

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Not at all . Just a different sheen . The thing with Satin is that you can get away with less coats . Pointing that out makes me also think more build up plays a part too . So could be possible actually .
 

JDA

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Not at all . Just a different sheen . The thing with Satin is that you can get away with less coats . Pointing that out makes me also think more build up plays a part too .
So you're saying Satin wood finishes (Gretsch) have clear coats just less of them?
 

DBT

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…. you’re making my wheels turn before I’ve had coffee ;)
 

JDA

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it's 4 o'clock in the afternoon (kidding feels like it..
 

DBT

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So although it’s a guess I’d venture to say yes they probably use less coats for Satin then they do Gloss . Less sanding in between so they don’t need all the extra lacquer build up . With the Gloss they’re going for that super high polished finished look = a lot more work = a lot more $.
 

JDA

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underlying color same gloss or satin whether (like op's) natural or green..black.. blue.. red.. duco ..orange; it's the clear coats added on top that turns it into in Gretsch-speak a gloss
I see feel - no more than a dusting of clear if that- on my Ridgeland satin gretsch.
 

DBT

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So way back when I was talking to you about my RB’s and wrap vs staining / clear coat and I said I really wanted to do the latter but I didn’t want to put in the time it would take to do it right , all this is why . Funny thing is I let them shells stay stacked , sanded and the interiors sprayed all these months because two voices kept arguing with each other . Glad I did . The latter won the argument . Before I left I ordered everything I need from Mohawk and 4 different shades of Walnut to test . The 60’s shade of Walnut was deeper and less red tint . That’s what I’m going after . Stain hand rubbed several coats , Sealer 2 or 3 coats , 10 coats ( both sprayed using a 2 stage air gun ) . And all the sanding / wet sanding , buffing and polishing that goes along with it. I might be 80 by the time I’m done .
 
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DBT

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underlying color same gloss or satin whether (like op's) natural or green..black.. blue.. red.. duco ..orange; it's the clear coats added on top that turns it into in Gretsch-speak a gloss
I see feel - no more than a dusting of clear if that- on my Ridgeland satin gretsch.
Exactly . The stains are flat and non grain raising . The satin or gloss clear is what protects the stain and gives it that POP .
 


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