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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Stripping poly off maple neck (to re-finish)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 16th, 2017 01:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey guys.
I have a maple neck that I finished with polyurethane years ago (1 part, spray can). It needs refinishing and I'd like to re-do it in lacquer. (acrylic, not nitro)
I was planning on stripping it with Strip-eze (or similar) unless advised against it.

So I have a few questions:
Am I asking for trouble using that type of stripper? ie: loosening fret glue or other issues?

Presuming the chemical stripper is OK, after stripping I was going to "wash" it off with a clean rag & methylated spirits (denatured alcohol to you in the US).

The neck came sealed when I bought it and I went right over it with the poly. Will I need to re-seal the timber (sanding sealer) before I apply the lacquer?

Hopefully I' haven't been too vague in my intended process here...
If I've left anything out you need to know. please ask.

All advice welcome. TIA

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Apr 16th, 2017 01:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If it's a maple fingerboard and it has plastic (black) dots, do not get any stripper on them. It will soften the dots and you will have a very bad day.

It it's a rosewood fingerboard, no need to get any stripper on that, so you're safe.

The stripper will also remove any decals you've applied.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Apr 16th, 2017 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Once you strip it, rinse it well with water or mineral spirits, or alcohol--whichever the stripper maker recommends. Once it's rinsed well, let it dry and rinse it again. Seems a bit anal, but any teensy trace of stripper solvents in the wood will prevent the new lacquer from hardening completely.

There's no need to use a sealer before the new lacquer.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 16th, 2017 04:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks Peegoo.

Yes, should've mentioned that it has a maple FB as well :^(

What's the best course of action for the job now?

Hand sand?

edit: Also, no decals to worry about.

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:41 PM, Apr 16th, 2017)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Apr 16th, 2017 08:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You can use a paste or gel stripper. Carefully paint it around the plastic dots on the fretboard.

You can also apply small pieces of tape to cover the dots as insurance, but keep the stripper off the tape too.

After you remove the stripper, you can carefully scrape & sand the old finish off the area around the dots.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 16th, 2017 08:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Excellent! That sounds like the plan.

Thanks

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Apr 17th, 2017 12:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Loosening frets is a possibility if it is too runny. I'd just keep an eye on it. Fluids on fingerboards like to pool into fret slots (which is why the lemon oil fanatics drive me batty).

You're going to have to do a level/crown on this after it is lacquered anyway, so you have room for it to be a little goofy.

catnineblue

LA , Calif

I try my best
Apr 17th, 2017 02:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Maybe it's just me . I would think using stripper than water of what ever to rinse would do more harm than good. What about the truss rod and bolt on neck holes let alone the fret slots.

I've done it with just single edge razor blades and a slight sanding after. A neck is not that much wood and you can see when the finish hits raw wood plus the finish is softer than maple.

Like I said just my opinion what ever it's worth.

jay1vinton

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Apr 21st, 2017 05:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had a maple strat neck refinished late last year. The Tech did a fret job at the same time so there was very little issue with glues and such.

I don't know how, but he saved the water slides and they only show a tiny bit of sanding abrasion. Everything matched up beautifully. He made it a bit darker in tint to match the age of the guitar.

Just be very careful as stated, any spot that is over sanded or gouged will not show while bare, but will when the lacquer adheres and tightens to the wood. I have one spot that he oversanded on, it's tiny but even he showed it to me and said it was a hard spot of lacquer that would not come off easily.



Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 21st, 2017 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Update.
I got the neck stripped. I ended up doing a scraping & sanding method to get the old finish off. It went a lot quicker than I anticipated and no nasty chemicals!

Sprayed it with lacquer last week. Letting it sit for a while before I clean off the frets, polish and add hardware etc.

No decal on this one. I like the "mystique" of no name...

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 05:46 PM, Apr 22nd, 2017)

lox

Columbus, Ohio

Docofrock
Apr 26th, 2017 10:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

MR-
Thinking about putting nitro on a neck that is now poly. What did you use to sand and get the old finish off? Did you start off with rougher grade of sandpaper and then finish with finer, etc. How well did that work on the fretboard? It seems like it would be very challenging to sand a maple fretboard with frets in it.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 26th, 2017 06:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi lox.

It was a two step process. Scraping then sanding.

I used an hobby knife and blade for the scraping. (see links below)

YMMV, but the way I did it was using the sharpened edge between the frets and all "flat" areas, scraping only *with* the grain and laterally to the blade. Be very sure to hold the blade square to the surface so you don't gouge. (make sense?)

For the radiused areas (back of the neck etc) I used the unsharpened long edge of the blade. This was only because it felt like it gave me more control.

After all the scraping was done, I went over everything with 400 > 600 sandpaper (in my hand, not a sanding block).

Notes on fretboard:
I was able to scrape right up tight to the fret with the blade and before I scraped, I *lightly* scored along each side of the fret.
I was able to carefully use the sandpaper between the frets after scraping by tightly folding the paper to stiffen it up. Again, with the grain.

Also, I did go down to 1200 on the fretboard. Probably overkill, but that's what I did.

There a number of YT vids tha show the scraping method, Many just use a single edge safety razor, but I found it too flimsy and it was uncomfortable with my arthritic hands. In hindsight, I didn't try a Stanley knife blade, but I imagine it would work well because of its size and thickness.

It's not a fast process, but once you get a rhythm going, it goes pretty quickly. I found it stupidly relaxing actually! (I'd say it took me 1.5 hours with a coffee break)

Feel free to email me if my description above is too vague, but hope it helps.

excel hobby knife

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 08:43 PM, Apr 26th, 2017)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 26th, 2017 06:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

*

deburring blade #19

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Stripping poly off maple neck (to re-finish)




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