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Post new topic The Care and Feeding of MOTS
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Author Topic:  The Care and Feeding of MOTS
Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post Posted 20 Sep 2017 12:23 pm     Reply with quote

OK......here's how I got myself into this pickle.
A woman who had lost her husband a few years back heard I play lap steel and she had his laying out in the garage.

It is, according to the serial number, a 1947 Supro w/brown MOTS.
It is quite possibly the ugliest guitar I have ever seen.

It is in rather poor shape with rust, noisy pots etc. but everything works, more or less.
She wanted to give it to me but after explaining why I wouldn't do that she accepted $100 for it and I felt a bit better.

My question is: some of the MOTS has delaminated itself from the guitar body and has formed bubbles and wrinkles.
Is there a way to retighten the MOTS using heat or any other technique?
I don't even really know what MOTS is except for being ugly, especially in this awful brown color.
I can fix the pots, tuners etc. so I can play this little thing but if I can improve on the MOTS it would look a bit better.

This is not a restoration. I enjoy getting an old forgotten guitar up and running again. I have 9 of these old things.
None worth looking at twice but I enjoy fixing them almost as much as playing.
I've never worked with MOTS before so I'd thought I would ask. Other than the bubbles the covering is in excellent shape.
I am also willing to just leave the MOTS alone and repair everything else and start playing it if what I want to do is not possible.

Thanks for your time. Any help would be appreciated.
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Sometimes it doesn't.
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Allen Hutchison


From:
Kilcoy, Qld, Australia
Post Posted 20 Sep 2017 3:21 pm     Reply with quote

G'day Larry, I believe it's this stuff, & I wouldn't go anywhere near it with an open flame - hot air heat source maybe? (hair dryer)
If you can get under the loose bits with new contact glue & apply weight or clamps to hold it down, that's about all you can do IMHO, short of a full resto Rolling Eyes
Others may have more ideas?
Cheers from Oz, Allen.

Whether you call it Laminex, plastic laminate or high pressure decorative laminate, the key word is "laminate." All HPDL products are manufactured in a similar way, from layers of paper saturated with melamine and bound together with phenolic resins. Only the top layer is the decorative layer. This technique has remained largely constant for over half a century, simply because it works so well and even modern technology has not come up with anything better for a hard-wearing, low cost benchtop or splashback.

In the past, this decorative layer was produced using then standard printing techniques, but now that digital imaging has become common, it is now used to create an even larger range of patterns and styles. Digital printing makes it possible to create amazingly authentic natural images on Laminex. For example, Laminex or a similar product is now used on bowling alleys because it looks like natural timber, but does not shrink, dent or expand as readily as natural timber.

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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post Posted 20 Sep 2017 4:48 pm     Reply with quote

Hi Allen,

Thanks for the reply.
I have been told they soak a sheet of the material in acetone until it softens
and then they drape it over the guitar body and mold it into shape.

I've looked about everywhere and I can find nothing on repairing or shrinking
it to fit using heat such as a hair dryer or heat gun or even reattaching edges that have come loose.

MOTS is just weird stuff. It's as thin as paper, brittle, no one seems to
know how to work with it and to top that off it's ugly.

It's now become a challenge; me against the MOTS.
I'm not sure I am going to win. Very Happy
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I try to make music with it.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it doesn't.
But I keep on trying.
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Allen Hutchison


From:
Kilcoy, Qld, Australia
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 1:39 pm     Reply with quote

No worries Larry - just thought I'd add my 2 cents.
BTW - had another thought - have you tried asking around at your local kitchen/bathroom furniture cabinet makers? They may be able to offer some advice!
All the best & good luck with it. Wink
Allen
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 5:15 pm     From a Guitar forum entry Reply with quote

Someone wrote , not Mr.Boards

Repairing Mother of Toilet Seat.

Like many other plastics of the era it can be softened with acetone and patches or repairs can be melted in with acetone.

In fact I believe acetone was what was used to form the peraloid sheets and then to melt them onto the wood base in the first place.

Cracks, provided the edges are still even, can be repaired with acetone.

Just go easy with it. You can turn the plastic to mush if you over do it.

Another Fellow Wrote :

Mother of Toilet Seat, or Pearloid, is a celluloid (traditionally) plastic made by mixing chunks of celluloid in solvent, stirring to get the pearlescent texture, curing and slicing. Thin sheets were solvent-bonded to lap steels.

There is enough nasty toxic chemicals involved in form-applying MOTS to a lap steel to make a Californian blush.
Not for the hobbyist or faint of heart I would guess.
Any touch-ups would likely stick out like a sore thumb. If it were me (hey, I'm a tinkerer too, and that's out of my league),
I'd merely clean up the vintage lap steels, put on new strings and play them.
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 6:09 pm     Reply with quote

Hi George,

Thanks for the response.
I've read how they used to make MOTS.
Good grief, sounded like one stinky dangerous process.
You could either gas yourself or blow yourself up.....your choice I guess.

I think I may take your advice and just play the darn thing.
I've got the pickup balanced between the strings now. At first two barely made a sound.
Tuners are repaired and the fretboard, nut etc. are all back in reasonable shape.
I didn't modify anything, just repaired it and cleaned it up a bit.

It sounds nice.
Hey, it's a $100 guitar and it plays again.
I'm happy.
I just got caught up in trying to find info about MOTS. Not a lot out there.

Have a good day.
_________________
I have stuff.
I try to make music with it.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it doesn't.
But I keep on trying.
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Tom Wolverton


From:
San Diego, CA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 7:33 am     Reply with quote

Sounds a bit like ivoroid binding material. For modest repairs, you might try Duco plastic cement. I've used it on binding repairs.
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Don Barnhardt


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 3:22 pm     Reply with quote

Leaving it alone is the best advice. If you just can't live with it, trim out the offending spot and touchup the wood to match.
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 3:12 pm     Reply with quote

Cellulose Nitrate aka Pearloid aka MOTS is available at reasonable pricing from the company below (see link)
Shipping may be a bit high as they are located in the UK

http://www.rothkoandfrost.com
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