What do we do when we get the runs ? We go get a razor blade ! NO WAIT, before you run off and do something stupid, read the rest of the article.

Disclaimer: As with any tool, a razor blade doesn't know the difference between flesh and paint, it'll cut BOTH... be careful !!!!!!  Also, if you feel at all uneasy doing this, please contact someone who can competently carry out this procedure.

Over the years I've been plagued by may share of runs in my paint jobs. However over the last few years I have been fortunate that this seems to no longer be a problem. Now it would appear that I suffer more from not being able to get enough paint ? This is a trick I learned years ago and thought, since I just sprayed a run..... it might be good time to submit this to " Repair Techniques " at GuitarAttack.


First thing after the lacquer or poly has set up and you discover that nasty run is to get yourself a single edged razor blade like the one in the first photo. Now carefully wrap a small piece of tape... I use the Green auto body type.... around BOTH ends like you see in the second photo. Leave about 3/4" of exposed blade. Now you're ready. Holding the razor in which ever hand you happen to be ( Left handed or Right handed ) stand the blade almost straight up and down, straddle the run with the taped blade, and VERY carefully pull the blade toward you applying a very slight pressure downward. You can push as well, but its' harder to see where you're going. Sometimes it helps to tip the blade ever so slightly toward yourself as you pull. The key is to NOT apply enough pressure to bend the blade. If this occurs, the blade will become lower in the center and cut all the way through the run and into the primer or wood !

The tape serves two purposes, A: It keeps the blade corners from cutting into the good finish, and B: it serves as a depth stop. It will never let you cut all the way to the good finish, UNLESS you bend it in the middle ! If you are skeptical, use two pieces of tape on each side. This is only meant to be used as an emergency finish technique, NOT for every little fleck of paint or dust that shows up on your guitar paint job! If not done properly, this can ruin a finish a LOT faster than any over-sanding of a run could ever do.  As with any other technique, practice first before you try this on a good paint job. It does take a bit of practice, but once you get it, you can blast out a run pretty darned clean and fast.

One last point, always try to orient the blade so you are on the most level plane. On a round corner or edge you want to cut with the radius NOT over it. If you cut OVER the radius, you will have the radius as the high spot and probably cut to the wood. Happy building... er, repairing.

Dave Slusser
Summerhill Studios


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