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 Post subject: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm
Posts: 1569
Location: New Jersey
I believe most (if not all) Electra's have been Poly finished. I HATE that stuff. Does anyone know of a way to remove poly with some kind of stripper? I really don't want to fire up a belt sander on any non-flat areas and hand sanding takes FOREVER.

Any tips on working with Poly are welcome. I have used superglue to fill small dings before. I'd say it works but it does take a real steady hand and some patience. My hand is OK but my patience is wearing thin. So, if anyone knows of an "easy" method to remove or repair these finishes please share your tips.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Posts: 182
I'll bet Redi-Strip will take it off. It's a very effective stripper, but a mess to use. If you do use it be sure to wear heavy rubber gloves and don't get it on your skin.

The other thing that's helpful is apply it, and don't brush over it at all. Once you apply it, it immediately stratifies and if you brush over it, it makes it less effective.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
Anyone know if these are polyurethane or polyester?


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:36 pm
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Location: Lansing MI.
Ive used a heat gun and putty knife. Just be carefull with the heat gun if you want to put a natural finish on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:30 pm
Posts: 1765
Location: Central Iowa
and if you have binding, keep it off of it unless you plan on rebinding.... on my "Corsair" project, a previous owner had chipped away the poly on the fretboard to replace the inlays. but the original was very think, and the PO had not bothered to clean up any edges before putting like 1 or 2 coats on... The only way to totally strip off the fretboard poly without damaging the binding was to very carefully chip it away with a wood chisel. took a few hours, but got it nicely down to wood, and then recoated with poly. must've done 12 coats, but it looks much better now... still not factory, but it will work... now I just need to finish the body....

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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm
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Location: New Jersey
So heat gun and patience is the way huh? I can do that.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:32 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 am
Posts: 1024
Location: NYC
If you go with a stripper, get a large box, put the stripper on (one side at a time) and put the guitar in the box. Close the box. Wait a few hours. The closed box method increases the effectiveness of the stripper. Messy though it does not have the risk of burn marks though. As always, protect your eyes, skin and lungs. That goes for the heat gun method too.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:11 pm
Posts: 657
Location: Tenn.
I sanded one of mine by hand. If you do it that way, wear a mask and dont get in to the paint to far cause some of it is real thin. (plan on listening to a lot of your favorite CD,s)

Before you apply the poly, do you do any sanding or buffing prep to the paint? (should it be dull, shine, lightly sanded?) I'm still having trouble getting the desired finish on my X-175.

And do you sand, buff or polish the last coat?

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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 5:32 am
Posts: 182
The other thing that works really well with the paint stripper is to immediately cover it with plastic film. This forces the solvents into the paint and they don't evaporate so fast. It's a mess, but it does make the stripper more effective. And as we all know, it's good to have an effective stripper! :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:17 pm
Posts: 10
Location: WV
may be a dumb question but are you doing a trans finish or solid? because if solid, save yourself some time and just scuff sand it.. old scuffed paint makes a great primer.

rock on.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm
Posts: 1569
Location: New Jersey
I've never painted a solid body - just stain or oil finishes. I agree that scuffing up a painted body and then fresh paint is fine. The dings and chips in poly guitars are a [Foul Language Used]. The finish can't re-melt into itself like lacquer does. I've never attempted to completely strip a poly finish - until now.

I bought an Alvarez 12 string dirt cheap because someone had attempted a refinish on it. Very poorly done too, with what seems to be brushed on poly. I've sanded it down far enough so that stripper should be very effective. I was going to make a crazy effort to get it down to bare wood but I do believe the dark spots are some kind of stain. So now I guess I'll get rid of the poly and try to match the stain. I had lacquer in mind initially, but now I think stain and poly.
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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:43 am 
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Location: NYC
What ever method you use be careful that you don't remove the grain filler. it can pull out with the poly. If that happens you have to grain fill before finishing. The Reranch site has some good info on finishing.


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm
Posts: 1569
Location: New Jersey
Yep - I thought spruce usually didn't need filler - well this top has it. I raised the grain for sanding a little too much. :down:


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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm
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Location: New Jersey
Finished except some buffing. Spray lacquer came out pretty good. I thought I had a solid top - but no as evidenced by a couple sand throughs. I removed the adjustable saddle and put in a bone saddle that sits directly on the top. It plays nice and sounds good and to be honest, I really didn't care that much how it looked. It was so messed up to begin with that I figures anything would be an improvement. In the end. a small amount of stripper and a lot of sanding took care of that strange re-finish.
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 Post subject: Re: Poly Finish
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:03 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 am
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Location: NYC
That is a big improvement, good job.


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