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Old 08-09-2006, 07:02 PM
jbf41000 jbf41000 is offline
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Default Guitar stripping / refinishing

Hi all,
I just picked up a beater restoration project, an old Kingston Archtop guitar. Unfortunately, it was stained a chocolate brown sort of color. And it's everywhere, neck, fretboard, headstock, body, etc.

I've refinished furniture and old amp cabs, but this is the first time on an old guitar body. I was wondering if anyone out there has an recommendations on any stripping products they have found to work well on guitar bodies.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. It appears to have some nice grain poking thru the stain, I'm going to take some before and after shots as no one will believe what it looked like before I got started!

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:53 PM
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SteveS SteveS is offline
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I would you scrapers and sandpaper. I would not use a stripper.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:10 PM
Freeman Freeman is offline
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I refinished an old dobro that had been spray painted black. I removed the neck and all the metal parts and used standard brush on stripper. Fortunately the neck did not need stripping so I didn't have to deal with bindings, inlays, decals, or anything else. Chemical strippers will wreck havoc with anything like bindings, pickguards, etc.

While there are a number of ways stains and 'burst are applied, some are stained directly into the wood (others are applied in finish layers). It might be very difficult to remove these stains.

Guitar finishing in itself is a bit of an art. I know you say you've refinished furniture but most guitar finishes are sprayed lacquers done while the guitar is apart (at least the neck is off). You might want to get Erlewine's book on guitar finishing from StewMac, particularly if you want to try to redo the stain.

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Old 08-10-2006, 03:47 PM
SMan SMan is offline
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I refinished an old Takamine F360S. (Solid spruce top, Rosewood laminate back and sides) I bought it very cheap. Someone had put some stickers on it that left very noticable Tan lines. Because it had was looked to be a very thick epoxy like finish I did use some liquid stripper against the advise of my luthier playing buddy. Like he warned me leaving the stripper on any length of time would cause the plastic binding to "melt". Worked great on the top and the laminate sides and back. I did use scrapers and sandpaper however to finish the removal process. I also had my friend remove the bridge so I could scrape the top. I was able to feather out the damage done to the plastic binding and the guitar came out great and is my main player/beater guitar. I put a Tru oil finish on it (about 15 coats) and it has a real nice satin finish. Also taking that heavy finish off seemed to improve the sound in both my and my friend's opinion. Smart to start off with an inexpensive guitar as a learning tool.

Good luck Jim!



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Old 06-08-2010, 11:40 AM
jbruns jbruns is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMan View Post
I refinished an old Takamine F360S. (Solid spruce top, Rosewood laminate back and sides) I bought it very cheap. Someone had put some stickers on it that left very noticable Tan lines. Because it had was looked to be a very thick epoxy like finish I did use some liquid stripper against the advise of my luthier playing buddy. Like he warned me leaving the stripper on any length of time would cause the plastic binding to "melt". Worked great on the top and the laminate sides and back. I did use scrapers and sandpaper however to finish the removal process. I also had my friend remove the bridge so I could scrape the top. I was able to feather out the damage done to the plastic binding and the guitar came out great and is my main player/beater guitar. I put a Tru oil finish on it (about 15 coats) and it has a real nice satin finish. Also taking that heavy finish off seemed to improve the sound in both my and my friend's opinion. Smart to start off with an inexpensive guitar as a learning tool.

Good luck Jim!





Hey SMan, I know this thread is WAY old but hopefully you still peruse the forums every once in a while; I'm actually looking to do exactly what you did with your takamine, I have an old beater guitar that I want to do some work on, both to make it more playable and to have the experience. I'd love to have more details on your whole process if you've got the time. A couple of questions I have,

Did you separate the neck from the body before sanding and refinishing everything?

Were there any other sealants or wood treatments you used, or was it just the Tru-Oil? My guitar sounds much like, yours, with an epoxy-like, almost plastic-feeling finish that I would love to get rid of, then leave a natural/satin finish on the whole guitar, hopefully it will feel a little less cheap and look a whole lot better.

And if there are any techniques or tricks you used, or anything you think I may overlook (as I'm a complete novice to guitar work, though I have done a fair amount of woodwork growing up), I'd love to hear them.

Thanks a lot in advance!

jbruns
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:33 PM
SMan SMan is offline
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First welcome to the AGF jbruns. Yeah that is an old post!

I pretty much detailed how I approached it above. The finish was so thick on that old Tak that I soon realized sanding wasn't going to cut it. Stripper did the trick and some minor damage to the binding which you can't really tell. I did not remove the neck and if you look very close you can tell but it still looks fine. I sanded the neck down a bit to a more comfortable profile to me. I did remove the pickguard and had my buddy remove the bridge. The veneer on the back and sides is very thin so be careful. I only used sandpaper on the veneer surfaces. A well honed scraper worked excellent on the solid spruce top. The downside to tru oil is that the guitar has much less protection to dings than Poly or Nitro. I still play that guitar regularly and it does show a fair amount of dings. The Tru Oil is the only finish applied. Take your time and be careful using any stripper. I wouldn't recommend strippers on an expensive guitar however.

A cheap Tak is a great way to learn! Good luck and enjoy.
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