how to strip poly?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by alderbody, Apr 18, 2005.


  1. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    i intend to strip the poly finish on an American Std Strat.

    although i'm aware of a few methods, i'd like to see some opinions.

    the neck is way easier, but the body seems tricky.

    since it is a multi-piece body, extreme heating could be dangerous.


    anyway, let's see what you got... :)
     
  2. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    Go to an auto parts store and buy the "aircraft" remover or some name like that. It will take a couple of applications to get it all off. Follow the directions on the can. An alternative is to sand it off with a heavy grit paper (60-80 at first and then 100-120) and a power sander (NOT a belt sander-- too aggressive), but you will leave some hideous scratches to fill when you finally get all the paint off. my $.02!!
     
  3. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    If you want a wood finish (sunburst or stain etc) then strip and sand away.... If you just want a different color, you may be better of just roughing up the body and simply spraying over it. Some of those modern finishes are epoxy based and truly bullet-proof. I tried stripping one in a commercial stripping tank (at a furniture shop) and the guy was blown away. It came out like it was dipped in water.
     
  4. A440

    A440 Silver Supporting Member

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    another method is wagner heat gun, and metal scraper.

    I did it in my days at Ibanez. goodbye five alarm red and hello natural oil finish :)

    be sure to wear goggles and a mask. basic idea is lightly heat up an area of the poly and scrape as you go. try not to get too close and burn the body, you're just heating up the paint to soften it up. once you get the hang of it, the layers come off easily.

    if you screw up and burn the wood, no problem. you can sand out your mistakes ;)
     
  5. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    i just want to get rid of the poly and apply a nitro finish.

    the original color is black and i think i'll stick to that with the nitro "version"...

    since it is definately a multi-piece, i wouldn't go for a sunburst or stain.

    thanks anyway :)
     
  6. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    i'm afraid this product is not available in EU, but there should be something similar to that.

    the rough sandpaper seems like a good way to go, but the potential "scars" on the body really frighten me.

    i want it to have as less coats of sealers, paint, clears, etc as possible...

    thanks :)
     
  7. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    yes, i knew about that but, as i mentioned above, it's kinda dangerous to do this on multi-piece bodies, isn't it?

    i mean, excessive heat could make the pieces split...

    but what could go wrong when you do it with caution?...



    thanks anyway :)
     
  8. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    yes, i know it's something like chasing my tail, but this was my first strat and i thought about making it a bit better.
    [i don't expect it to become a '54, though... :)]

    there's no need to buy a new body. This is not my main guitar any more.

    i thought about installing a vintage style bridge and get rid of the annoying* two pivot one. (*= personal taste and opinion)
    (it's more because i want to get a Callaham bridge assembly for my main strat, and put the old one to the Std....)

    <yes, i know about the different string spacing, but the nut on the neck was slotted for a vintage bridge, so it won't be a prob.>


    supposedly i leave the body as is, how about the neck_ which is much easier. Wouldn't it "deliver" if i nitroed it? (or just oil?)
     
  9. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    That is what I was going to say but nobody would believe me.:(

    You aren't going to hear any difference your wasting your time if thats is what you hope.:rolleyes:
     
  10. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    You all beat me to making the same post John. I doubt he'll gain anything by changing the finish to nitro either.
     
  11. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    have you tried something like that before fuchsaudio?

    i bet John Suhr must have done it...


    btw, this thread is about how to strip off a poly finish... :)
     
  12. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    John Suhr's opinion is probably right and i agree with him (99%).

    besides, he's an expert on these.

    but what i don't agree with, is blindly following the expert's opinions...

    no offence intended :)
     
  13. GuitarNorton

    GuitarNorton Member

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    I'd try getting her good and drunk first:D
     
  14. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    I've refinished and sprayed my share of guitars, both solid and hollow body, new builds and refinishes. Although I don't manufacture nor refinish instruments for a career: In my personal experience and IMHO, I've never heard the change in finish make a significant (if any) impact on the tone of a solid body Fender style guitat.

    If you don't believe me ask John Suhr....lol ;)
     
  15. Paul Secondino

    Paul Secondino Member

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    TO be honest, I have not personally sanded a guitar body yet. However, I always imagined that sanding something like a fender strat, Ibanez RG, and other common poly'ed guitars isn't a big deal.

    THe majority of the guitar should sand fairly easily. In fact, a friend of mine sanded a Ibanez (Desert Yellow) to bare wood mainly with a detail sander. The majority of the body is close to flat and sands easily.However, I believe that with any guitars, contours and curves are always a hassle.

    Sanding too hard on contours and curves will obviously trash them.So you'd have to be veyr careful in those areas and be prepared to do some hand sanding.

    I'm going to sand down a beater Ibanez that I have this summer just for the hell of it and then refinish it.I anticipate that it will be easy to sand but certainly wont sound any better if and when I do it :AOK
     
  16. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    My father recently stripped and refinished a strat of mine in nitro. He used a semi-paste spripping product by Savogran, I believe. When I asked him what he used he went on and on about how dangerous and toxic this stuff is. Apparently you should only use it outdoors in a large area with breathing gear and "chemical proof" (not rubber) gloves. Sounds scary, I dunno if I'd go that route, but thought the info might be of interest. He also pointed out that it may well not work on some poly finishes which are all but permanent.

    And even though you don't care, I'm gonna say this anyway: the guitar sounds absolutely not one bit different with the nitro finish (looks nicer, though).

    Good luck, please be safe whatever you do!
     
  17. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    John, i agree with you and i'm well aware of those issues about poly and nitro.

    but i wanted to do it just for the fun of it, and was looking for an "as-painless-as-possible" method to strip the poly off, because i know it's hard...

    since the trouble is way more than the pleasure, the project is off and i'll stick to the bridge replacement. (the electronics are OK, though_replaced in the past)

    now about the nut thing, i know it's not exactly a matter of slot spacing. But i forgot to mention that this neck has spent some time fitted on a body with a vintage bridge and it was modified
    to eliminate this issue.


    so here's where the story ends... :)
     
  18. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    hey man, ok, i believe you... ;)

    if you read my reply to Suhr you'll understand. I was just looking for an easier way to do it, because in the past i had a really hard time with such stuff.

    well it seems like we are all aware of these issues with more or less experience, but the damn "nitro vs poly" issue is so easy to start a controversy!...

    i could 'rename' it, though...

    "tradition vs easier production" could be one side of the story.

    definately, there are others, too... :D
     
  19. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    The term Poly is vague isn't it? Polyester resin or Polyurethane? Resin does not like to be stripped. I am not sure if aircraft stripper works on it, I know the Jasco gel stripper does not.

    If you want to strip it try Jasco gel stripper available at the hardware store. If that doesn't touch it, get out the grinder! ;)


    Lacquer is a great finish if you know how to do it, have the right materials, and are in the right environment. Unfortunatly that weeds out 95% of the guys. If you don't meet the above criteria, I imagine you would get what John mentioned.
     
  20. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    exactly! ;)
     

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