I have been playing guitar for 7 years now, and for some time I wondered If it would be hard to make something nice and playable from an old guitar.
To check it out I bought a small classical guitar from 70', On guitar head it stated that it was made in Germany (NRD). It cost about 12 dollars so if I messed up it wouldn't be that big a deal.
I did a few sketches and plans, but i changed it while working.
Sanding paper grits 80, 120, 180, 600, 1000, 2000, 2500
(electric sander would be nice)
polishing compound (i used toothpaste xD)
vinegar (to remove rust from screws and tuners)
wood glue (for loose parts in my case on of the bracket)
files for frets
new guitar strings
Let's get to work!
Step 1: Sand It.
In my case the edges were very scratched, lacquer looked terrible. I even found some crayon on lacquer and inside. I decided to scratch the old lacquer and possibly stain from wood, even out the surface and then add my own design to it.
Sanding turned out to be very tough. Lacquer didn't seem to be that hard looking at the scratches on it, but it was a nightmare, it took me a few days up to 3 hours a day for it.
For the neck and head I used a Dremel with this cylinder sand paper (sorry can't recall the proper name of it). It looked a little bumpy so i sanded it by hand with P100 sanding sponge. Then for body I used Dremel but with a sanding paper attached like - long nail _rubber washer_sand paper cut in a circle_rubber washer - (sorry for no picture i lost it somwhere)
Also I cleaned the fret board, shapened the frets and then polished them.
Step 2: Pick the Color
I decided to dye sides and back of the guitar with black drawing ink that i had laying around, back was supposed to be sunburn but later i found some graphics on Pinterest so I used a few ideas.
I diluted ink with alcohol and rubbed it into the wood.(USE GLOVES and watch out for fret board) To my surprise it wasn't black at all not even grey it was nice and dark brown. I sanded it a little after drying to make it look a little retro. For the back I didn't dilute ink at all so its lighter beacause there wasnt much to soak into the wood. then I made a sketch of this piano and funny shaped trees (I guess) with a pencil (use a soft one i made marks with hard one) then i traced over it with a sharpie and white paint marker.
Step 3: Edges
To paint the edges I secured everything with yellow tape and some newspapers. Then i added a nice thick coat of black spray paint and then i found a glow in the dark paint so I used it on those black edges (hopefully it will glow at least a little). Before paint dryes completly I peeled of the tape, otherwise tape would come of with the paint where it should stay on.
It leaked on the back a little so i used a sharpie to make a nice clean edge.
Step 4: Clear Finish
First I secured the body and fretboard to paint the neck . I used acrylic fast-drying lacquer for insides as the package asked I did 3 layers with an hour breaks between each and sanding with P180 sanding sponge but as I was sanding it felt to thin so I added another layer.
Then i pealed the tapes from the body and painted a new lacquer on sanded old one in front then sides and then back. Each layer was first front then sides and then back. also between with breaks and sanding.
Step 5: Polishing
I tried to polsih the neck and front. Neck went well 600 grit to even it out then 1000 then 2000 then 2500 all wet sanding and then polishing paste (in my case toothpaste). i tried the same with front but it is even i has a slight shine but it is no mirror. oh well it looks nice anyways. I didn't touch sides beacause i wanted it to have a little of that wood texture. back i did mate to see the graphics well. I also cleaned and polished tuners and then screwed it on.
I think it looks very nice now i just have to use fretboard oil, put the strings on and go play anywhere I want beacause of this guitar's light weight and size.