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Chemical Paint Strippers For Guitars?


DaveGrima

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Do those chemical paint strippers work well for heavy Poly paint jobs on guitars. The kind you wipe on then let sit for a while and the scrape off? I think one of them is called Citrus Strip or something? I have a Tele i was thinking of refinishing and I really dont wanna hand sand all the finish off. (I have no tools) Its got a really heavy duty poly finsih on it. If they do work well can someone reccomend the best one to use? Thanks:wave: Also can someone tell me how to spell reccomend?

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I think this question comes up at least once a week. You'll get wildly varying opinions on this. I haven't done much stripping/finishing in 20 years or so, but I suspect a GOOD paint and EPOXY stripper will cut the poly pretty well.

 

Probably talking $25-30 a gallon, or maybe more by now, for the good stuff, (and it usually doesn't make sense to buy stripper in less than a gallon). I would guess that any of the citrus based, or "environmental friendly" stuff would be a waste of time and money. You'll have to have the heavy duty stuff. It's nasty to work with and expensive, but I suspect it'll take it off. I haven't kept up with the brand names that are out there now.

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The only one I've found that works is called aircraft stripper. I advise against stripping. Ain't necessary unless you want a natural finish. That can also be problematic because most manufacturers send the ones with nice grain for natural finish and the others get opaque.

Scuff the body with 120 grit just to give it some tooth. Spray it with B-I-N shellac based primer to seal it up. Paint with whatever type of finish you want.

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When you find one that will strip poly, let me know. Theres supposed to be some industrial stuff that works somewhat. I've never tried it, but I've tried everything else and it just sits there and does nothing which makes sence.

 

Poly is plastic. You can put stripper in a plastic bottel and it wont eat through. The only ways that I found to work is sandpaper and blisters. Some use a heat gun, but it burns the wood and you have to take that much more wood off to get below that so you're usually better off sanding to begin with.

 

Gotta watch out on some bodies though. They put a few milimeters of poly finish on guitars and its enough to have your neck overhang the body near the neck pocket once stripped.

 

My best advice for most is, If its just the color you dont like, get over it. If theres a few dings, fill them. If its super battel worn and has that much age on it, it might be worth more selling as is and buying something you want. Once you strip an instrument, you immediately reduce its resale by 50%. Check EBay. They cant give away stripped bodies and failed attempts.

 

If you still want to do it for the experience and think you can do better than a machine, do alot or reading first. Your first attempt will not be pro looking. Not unless you spray paint for a living. You need to know what you're doing to look anywhers near pro. Best jobs are done with paint guns and thinning the mix down till its nearly 100% thinners by the last coat. need to work it slow too. You may also want to consider having it sprayed at an autobody shop where guys with the right equipment and experience can so a great job on it.

 

With all that said (which are my usual attempts to talk people out of major cosmetic changes)

 

Get a good sander and varying grades of sandpaper from cource, to medium to super fine. Dont bother attempting it without a sander. you may think you have something smooth only to find out after applying say a clear finish to see how badly the grain is scratched. Next, paints and finishes do not fill in flaws, it makes them look worse. If the surface isnt baby ass smooth, the job will look bad. Prep is #1. Great prep = a chance at a good finish. Shortcut the prepping and the job will fail. Next practice, alot.

 

Next take your time. A typical stripped guitar being finishes can take a week absolute minimum dure to dry times and sanding between coats etc. Next, fix screwups as they occur.

 

Next, Keep the work area neat between coats. I cant count how many times I contaminated a surface because I didnt have a clean rag on had my dog got hair on it, or had a fly lands on it, dust etc. All that has to be sanded off after it dries.

 

Thats about it. removing polys a bitch. You do have to get past the sealer too and down to the wood fibers if you're going to change finish types. Nothing sticks well to poly except poly. Getting it off past where it sinks into the wood fibers is the ticket.

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