Striptease? Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive through August 22, 2012 » Striptease? « Previous Next »

Author Message
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5191
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 9:45 pm:   Edit Post

I bought a 60's SG at the Guitar Show this afternoon. It appears to be in good shape. I got a killer deal, however, because some misguided sole at sometime in the past refinished it in what was likely intended as a silver sunburst. It wasn't the finest job and it's downright ugly. I'd like to strip it down to the mahogany that lives below the surface. I've never stripped the finish off a guitar before. Can I so this myself? Suggestions on the preferred method? Should I just bring it to a pro? Any suggestions in the Bay Area?

As an aside, I met fellow Forum member David Fung's brother Peter who had a booth with some very cool guitars on the unusual side. Very nice guy.

Bill, tgo
Intermediate Member
Username: kilowatt

Post Number: 132
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 5:29 am:   Edit Post

Many years ago, I picked up a Gibson bass with a poorly painted finish on it. I stripped it down to the mahogany and put a clear finish on it. The mahogany really cleaned up nicely, and the bass looked great when it was done.
If you didn't pay too much for the SG, as you said, you could try to do the refinish yourself. If it doesn't meet your standards, you could take it to a pro, and let them clean it up. If you think you are up to the task, I would think it would be a fun project. You may find out you have some hidden talents you didn't know about. Good luck, and please put up some pictures.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10822
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 6:23 am:   Edit Post

Something I know nothing about, but a quick google and youtube suggest that the method you use to strip it depends on the type of finish and perhaps even on the type of wood. It looks to me like using a heat gun and something like a putty knife to scrape with might be the best method to get most of the finish off, followed up with sand paper and a block. But definitely don't take my word for it.
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1239
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 7:04 am:   Edit Post

I used to refinish antique furniture as a a hobby, and even did it to pay the bills for a while when I was soundman for a folksinger. I've almost always used chemical strippers, but for a solid guitar I'd probably take Dave's suggestion - with the caveat that it will probably take more heat to strip the finish than to melt the fretboard binding, so be really careful. And (as if you didn't know), we'll need pictures of the whole process!

Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2559
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 10:20 am:   Edit Post

Many, many moons ago I refinished 2 Bass's . The first was a Gibson EBO copy and the second was a Guild Starfire. I was still in High School , but used to hang around the local guitar shops and asked lots of questions and they were usually friendly to my inquires.
I by no means pretend to be any kind of authority except for having striped 2 bass's and some furniture and cabinets over the years. Also having been in and around various construction trades over the years gives me exposure to such tasks, I own a 1909 built home where I have also striped lots of the woodwork down to get the original natural finish back and bring the house back into it's architectural correctness to 1909. ( a project that is in progress)

One of the most important aspects to consider would be where you do not want to effect the surface such as perhaps the face of the headstock logo area and binding areas and the fretboard. There are different grades of masking tape that are graded according to the adhesive . There is green masking and 2 types of blue masking and plain white and still a few more specialty varieties .

I would avoid a heat gun on anything where there are materials that could melt or wrap or where you do not want burn marks! Sandpaper will also change the shape of your workpiece . Hard scraping will gouge the wood. Steel wool in the various grades is safer .

Years ago I used Jasco premium paint& epoxy stripper which can be dangerous to use and you definitely do not want it on your skin. I have also used CITRUS based stripper that is more friendly to use. Currently there are new products where you spray or brush it on and thin apply a special sheet like material over the treated area and in a few hours you just come back and pull off the sheet material and the finish goes with it ! That is an OSHA approved method for "lead paint " abatement.

I am interested in seeing your project Bill ,

Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 1773
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 12:16 pm:   Edit Post

I have refinished several guitars. However they all had bolt on necks. As I recall the SG is a set neck. If you decide to do it yourself be careful with the neck binding. The same chemicals used to remove the finish will also melt the binding. Same goes for a heat gun. Likewise heat can weaken the neck joint glue if you use too much.

I would think if you wish to do it yourself limit any heat and chemicals used to the body. Carefully use sand paper on the neck after masking any binding and be patient. I did something similar to refinish a previously refinished Fender Duo Sonic where I removed the neck and stripped the body. For the neck I lightly sanded the back of the neck to get a smooth surface while avoiding the binding and preserving the nicely aged headstock and neck finish. I then resprayed the neck and refinished the body.

Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3023
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 1:09 pm:   Edit Post

When I wanted to strip the blue finish from my 1980's stratocaster to get back to the wood finish for a laser etched image. I called John Diggins from Jaydee custom guitars and he advised me to use Nitromors paint and varnish remover which I did and it was pretty painless and simple to do. Took about 4 evenings in total for me to get it back to the wood.

Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 124
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 9:32 am:   Edit Post

I used Jaydee as well to strip a Fender Jazz to natural. I couldn't do it but he made a great job of it. Sadly the bass was stolen but the insurance money bought my Alembic so happy ending. Serial Number of Jazz was 243166 if anyone comes across it. Glynn
Advanced Member
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 222
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 9:47 am:   Edit Post

You can do it yourself, the question is, how much do you like manual labor and being up close and personal with strong caustic chemicals? (There are more amusing ways to kill brain cells, IMHO!)
Intermediate Member
Username: wideload

Post Number: 190
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 1:56 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, the good news is, if the refin doesn't work out you can call it a relic job and sell the SG for $500 more than you paid!
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 477
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 3:58 pm:   Edit Post

When done stripping to bare wood be sure to use a grain filler on it before putting paint or clear on it. Then build up the layers and wet sand a little and then rub out the final coat.
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 1286
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 10:16 am:   Edit Post

As a veteran refinisher, I'll second the concerns about overreaching with either a heat gun or chem stripper. I've avoided heat guns, because they are a bit harder to control around meltable parts and because they have the potential to scorch the wood (requiring you to sand a lot more). I've always found masking the meltable parts carefully and not using the stripper right up to the edge (just sand out the remaining finish that's left along the binding - it won't take long and you are more secure in protecting binding).
Once you get the gook off that mahogany, you may be in for a very pleasant surprise. Older mahogany loves a clearcoat and that's pretty easy to do. Check for advice (excellent tutorial there) and supplies to do an original, nitro finish (wear a respirator). If nitro is not desired, I've done some nice finishes on mahogany with plain old Minwax urethane gloss in a rattle can. As to grain fillers, it is essential to fill mahogany (unless you decide to just go with a rubbed oil finish where you want the texture). Reranch has some good advice on grain fillers, but I've had fantastic results using plain clear epoxy cement, very thinly applied with a razor blade and sanded after it's plenty cured. The epoxy creates an almost 3-D effect that pops out as soon as the clearcoat hits it.
Here's the last project I did (M85 in clear nitro w Dark Stars - the Alembic-inspired bridge was machined by a teacher in Finland):

DS'd M85
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2566
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 11:29 am:   Edit Post

Bill (bassman10096)

I really like that M85 W/ Darkstars____ , just AWESOME ! ______

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration