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How easy is it to remove french polish?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by BooNin, May 20, 2012.

  1. BooNin

    BooNin Tele-Meister

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  2. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    French polish is a process more than a material, but regardless, typically french polishing involves applying a tinted solution (usually a thinned version of shellac) directly to the wood.

    It's going to be in the pores and it's going to be a pain in the tuckus to get it all gone and start fresh. Unless you want to spray this one a solid color, I'd skip it.
     
  3. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Depends whether is is real French polish or just shellac lacquer.
    The sprayed on shellac lacquers is pretty feable stuff that comes off with some alcohol (as does French polish before it has hardened)

    Proper French polish has linseed oil added to it with the "rubber" which makes it tough and impervious, the shellac in French polish is dissolved up in IMS (industrial methylated spirits), the shellac varies in colour from clear white through amber yellow to light brown, it is not dyed, and it is pretty thick, not thinned down much at all.

    French polish comes off with Nitromors methylene dichloride paint and varnish stripper, which is brutal stuff. But it comes off completely. Been there, done that.
     
  4. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    If it a tele body that needed stripping, and it was alcohol based shellac, I would just wrap the body in a disposable cotton towel or tee shirt material, lay it in a plastic trash bag and pour denatured alcohol all over the cloth covered body until sopping wet, then fold the plastic bag closed and twist so the fumes don't escape too much. Let it soak in there for an hour or longer and check to see if it can be wiped all off with the whetted cloth/rags... If not leave it in the bag 'till you can.. Do it outside for safety reasons..... very flamable.. Does anyone on this thread think that a body might warp by following this method ? I did it once and it worked, but I don't want to be giving advise that ain't going to work.... Thanks
     
  5. BooNin

    BooNin Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the advice chaps - I think I may take a 'punt' at this, see how good the finish is and maybe stick with it. I've seen some really good french polished bodies before....

    ....and if it's not to my liking then I'll strip it off (as best I can) and do a solid colour...

    ....that's of course assuming I win the auction....
     
  6. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Take a closer look at those pictures. There is nothing to like about the finish that's on there. Looks like it was done by a 9 year old without instructions.
     
  7. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    "potentially stunning!"

    Now that right there is funny...
     
  8. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    The pic does look a bit amateur. Try the purple meths (B&Q) first, but if they did oil the rubber then you will need paint stripper. Linseed oil laughs at alcohol.

    Now I have removed and replaced real French polish myself.
    In the UK the term French Polish means French Polish not shellac lacquer and it comes in a bottle labelled French Polish. But it does not come with the linseed oil added, the French polisher does that with his rubber. An amateur bodger may think you just use what comes out of the bottle - that comes off with meths. The purple dye comes off with water (best but raises grain) or white spirits.

    The nice thing about French polish is it will come off completely without sanding. Nitromors and a stiff brush (not !!! the old plastic toothbrush unless you want a sticky mess) followed by some white spirits. May raise the grain a little but just wait for it to settle down again.

    I notice a form of sunburst, that may be paint or dye. If dye into the pores then "wood bleach" (which is not the stuff under the kitchen sink) will remove it back to plain wood. Liberon Wood Bleach.
     
  9. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, the only way that guitar is going to stun somebody is if they get hit on the head with it. That's no French polish I've ever seen.

    Lot of work to take off this poor effort, but if you're in the market for a Strat body, and have the time, .99 pounds is pretty cheap. (Although 10 pounds and 5-7 days shipping seems excessive, Bucks is a bit NW of London, is it not, convenient to most major highways, seems to me they could get it to you faster than that for the money)
     
  10. Jeff H

    Jeff H Tele-Meister

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    H I D E O U S

    That is not a French Polish, that gloppy mess was put on with a broom and a bucket

    He put the French Polish on more heavily on the edges to get a sunburst. BS meter off the scale. You don't French Polish to create a sunburst.

    Also no reason to French Polish a solid body/electric guitar.

    Stay away from it.. subtract the total purchase price and you have the true value...


    There is s such a thing as a guitar for free that isn't worth it.. this is it.

    Too much story.. 1000 passes... right

    And that does not look like shellac.

    And sanding a french polish finish ? if done correctly does not need "sanding"

    pasadena....


    One other point.. a properly applied French Polish is very thin.. removing a French Polish is often done by scraping with a single edge razor blade.
     
  11. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Look for something else.
     
  12. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

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    Shellac will dissolve in alcohol. The way to remove a finish is to cover it with alcohol saturated rags, bag the whole mess up in a trash bag(s) and wait. In time it will soften and can be scraped off. The presence of cured linseed oil will slow the process, but not stop it.

    A quicker, but messier, option is strong ammonia solution. Ammonia quickly and permanently destroys shellac. The downside is that it turns the shellac into a garnet colored water based dye. How dark depends on how decolored the shellac product was. Dark shellac will make for a very dark dye.

    Lastly (and in this case the only sane option) would be a heat gun and a scraper. Heat also destroys shellac.
     
  13. caferacer

    caferacer Tele-Afflicted

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    cant beat the price
     
  14. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    How do you know the seller didn't just glop on some other kind of finish with a rag and call it "french polish"? It's done so poorly that there's a good chance they were playing fast and loose with the terminology. If it were truly a French polish, it would not require (or withstand) sanding and buffing, so I'm beginning to suspect that it's some other kind of varnish. Sure, denatured alcohol would take it off if it was really french polish. But if it was really french polish the user would have the proper solvent handy, and would have been able to strip it right off easily without trying to sell it first.
     
  15. Jeff H

    Jeff H Tele-Meister

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    Conclusion:

    The guitar is not French Polished in the taditional way
    Likely is NOT shellac
    The finsih is done poorly no matter what it is
    The story is BS
    The guitar isn't worth any amount of money.

    Best course of action : no action.
     
  16. BooNin

    BooNin Tele-Meister

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    Hang on here - it's up for 99p! Even if I had to take a sander to it what does it matter? A two piece Swamp Ash Strat body for that price can't be bad

    -and as many have said, it's pretty easy to remove, so I reckon that's a good buy.

    I think it's clear from the pictures that the seller attempted a finish and failed. That body must have cost around £130 new.

    Not overly sure why a few of you are getting your knickers in a twist over a cheap strat body with a ****e finish - I've seen worse for more!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  17. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Colron stuff comes off very easily in my experience, especially when it's been applied by someone without a clue.
     
  18. Captain Nutslot

    Captain Nutslot Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    That IS potentially stunning! WOW :eek:
     
  19. Jeff H

    Jeff H Tele-Meister

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    Shirley you jest !
     
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