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Polyester is for the 70's...A MIM Tele Refinish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Southpaw Tele, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I've stated my distaste for the plastic finish used on MIM Teles in another post, so let's just get to work...
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    This is the subject, "Steve" (I name my guitars with guy names because there's only one woman for me?) He's an '07ish MIM Tele in their polyester black. He's a little dinged up, and not the good lacquer finished dinged up, either.
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    Here are the refinishing materials I'll be using: Duplicolor fill-in primer, light blue metallic, and their clear coating spray. More in just a bit...need to put the little Southpaws to bed.
     
  2. spauldingrules

    spauldingrules Tele-Holic

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    Sweet!
     
  3. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Here's where my cheapness will pay off. I bought a $23 Wagner heat gun (700 & 1000 watt settings) and this finish removing scraper at Lowe's. I'm glad I got the cheap, low powered gun because it's not as aggressive (more on that later).
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  4. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Below is the reason why I want to go with a lacquer finish. I literally picked this stuff off with my fingers. At this point, I thought I might not even need the heat gun (thus saving me the aforementioned $23).
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  5. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I went to work with the heat gun on the lower setting to make sure I didn't burn the wood. Turns out, it's okay to use the higher setting. I held the gun about 2 inches from the finish and just made sure to keep moving.
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    This is where I was a little surprised. The wood on the front and the wood on the sides looks very different in color. Any thoughts on what Fender did here? :confused:

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    Taking more off the back...same color issue, apparently. Btw, I got the back off in about 25 minutes, taking my time not to mess up the wood. I highly recommend a nice stiff removal tool for this. The polyester only needs to get warm enough to soften up a bit. Slide the tool under it and gently push forward. The polyester lifts right off.
     
  6. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Okay, so 45 minutes later I had 1/4 of the front, 1/4 of the sides, and almost all the back off.
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    No disrespect to those that are anti-removing polyester finishes, but it is a VERY easy job with a cheap heat gun and cheaper than buying a new body. For those of us in a lower tax bracket, this is a good way to go (and it's kind of like peeling Elmer's glue off your fingers after it has dried).
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    Here's the front after another 15 minutes or so. I began to go a little faster with the heat gun after I got comfortable with its limitations.
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    Here's the pile of finish on my garage floor. I still need to do the rest of the horn and near the neck, but it's getting late. More tomorrow!
     
  7. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That is probably residual sealer. Or it could just be discoloration in the wood, and thats why it got painted solid black.


    Looks like you got some good looking grain under there.
     
  8. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I thought it was veneer, at first, until I saw that the back was identical. It'll be a solid color, so no worries. Thanks Colt, I was hoping you'd have some input here. :) You think I can get away with giving it a sanding and then go to work with the primer?
     
  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I would highly recommend sealing the wood before progressing to primer.
     
  10. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Any suggestions as far as which sealer?
     
  11. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    Thats the polyester resin sealer which is really tough to remove from the end grain. If you don't have a spray gun alot of guys use the Deft ss which you can get anywhere. Just a note on the Duplicolor clear, it tends to stay soft for a very long time and and finish safe stands will leave marks. I would consider using another clear. If you have a Woodcraft nearby Behlen is a good product and they also make a sealer and if not Watco also makes a good clear thats available at most hardware stores and you can also use it as a sealer.
     
  12. demillso

    demillso TDPRI Member

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    Actually I believe that those bodies do have a veneer. The bodies are made up of several pieces and then covered with a relatively thick veneer (by veneer standards) for a uniform look. I have refinished a MIM strat and you can see it in the contoured areas. Look close are the roundover and you can see the edge of the veneer. You can also see the seam between the body pieces on the side.
     
  13. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Shepherd, many thanks for the information. The nearest Woodcraft is about 120 miles away, but we do have a Sherwin-Williams. Is it okay to put nitro clears over acrylic lacquer color?
     
  14. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Demillso, yeah, the more I look at it, the more I know you're right about the veneers. It kind of bothers me that they're using this type of body construction on a $400 dollar guitar when the SX Teles are 2 or 3 piece with no veneer for $119.
     
  15. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    That makes sense, just looking at the different pieces in the sides. Woodcraft also does mail order if your not in a rush. You can put nitro over acrylic lacquer but just mist on the first few coats, dont go too heavy in the beginning. Let each light coat dry before proceeding to the next coat. When you have full even coverage, then proceed with normal coats. Also let the acrylic dry a few days first before applying the nitro.
     
  16. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks a bunch Shepherd for the advice; much appreciated.
     
  17. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is that polyester on the MiMs? I thought it was polyurethane.
     
  18. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The neck is polyurethane and the body is polyester, at least on the newer ones.
     
  19. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    Usually the body is a polyurethane finish with a polyester resin sealer. It's the sealer thats tough to get off.
     
  20. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Okay, I was under the assumption that was true for the non-Mexican models, but that the MIMs are all polyester, hence the inability to get the color coat off with most chemical means. Now let me qualify this by saying that according to my wife, I'm usually wrong. ;)

    I did put the sanding sealer on the back side about 25 minutes ago with this stuff I found in the garage.
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    And here's the back side...
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