Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hofner Colorama II restoration project (part 6) - recreating the logo and serial number

Before lacquering the neck on our vintage Hofner Colorama II, we need to deal with the “Hofner” waterslide decal and the serial number stamped on the back of the headstock.

Here’s what the serial number looked like before stripping the lacquer.

And here’s how it looks afterwards:

The “8” is hardly visible (although to be honest, it wasn’t stamped very deeply to start with), and in fact all of the numbers are in danger of becoming almost invisible once we add a few layers of lacquer.

As it happens, I have a set of number punches, but they are a different size from the ones used on this guitar, which leaves us with two choices: sand the numbers off completely and re-stamp them, or try to repair what we already have. I’ve decided to go for the second option, since I feel a little weird about re-stamping serial numbers.

Here we’re using a very small jeweler’s screwdriver as a kind of punch to deepen the outline of the numbers. The straight lines are easy, but the number 8 and the top of the 2 are tough:

Nevertheless I’m pretty happy with the results, and a few layers of lacquer should help smooth it out somewhat anyway.

As for the waterslide decal, well, here’s how it looked before we stripped the neck. It would have been nice to preserve this, but it simply wasn't possible with the state of the lacquer:

Originally the plan was to find an image of a standard Hofner logo online and trace around (I use Adobe Illustrator to do this). That really did seem like a good plan, and the results were more than acceptable.

The standard logo, found online:

And my tracing of that logo:

However, once the old decal was removed, we were left with a very obvious “tan line” in the wood, as shown here:

At first glance it looked like the logo we traced would fit well, but upon further inspection it became apparent that the tan line would be very obvious in certain areas, so it was back to the drawing board.

A photo of the peghead was taken, along with a photo taken at exactly the same angle of a printout of our first attempt sitting in more or less the same place. Both images were then brought into Illustrator, and resized by the same amount so that the photo of our first attempt matched up perfectly with our Illustrator tracing. The tracing was then moved down to the photo of the tan line and the edges were adjusted to match these as perfectly as possible.

Quick screen grab of the tracing as it was being done in Illustrator:

And here’s how the second tracing looks:

You may notice that it’s a slightly different colour from our first attempt. This is because after printing out the first version, it became apparent that it was going to be too light.

Once printed onto special waterslide decal paper and cut out, this is how it looks, ready to be applied to the guitar before lacquering:

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