Strip a brittle Foto Flame and refinish

bhenry83

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Hi, there! Just fishing for tips, advice, and/or warnings here.

Yesterday was an NGD for me, and my first bass. Got a deal on this early ‘90s Japanese Foto Flame ST-62. Plays and sounds great. Great weight too. I believe it’s basswood (4pc).

The plan: enjoy it for a while, then strip and refinish.

I’ve previously stripped a ‘90s AmStd Strat body with a heat gun. It was not easy. But this one already started on its own, so how hard can it be. I’ve never stripped a neck so that’ll be interesting.

If I finish it myself it’ll be my first time. After browsing this forum I’m thinking a metallic Duplicolor with nitro clear coat (leaning blue or green) and then all nitro for the neck. Maybe some very light relic’ing as well.

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SacDAve

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Nitro might be a good choice Duplicolor is enamel would probably mess it up. I would tesat it first
 

SacDAve

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Not quite certain that Duplicolor is “enamel “
Just found this
Dupli-Color® Acrylic Enamel offers exceptional quality in a general purpose enamel paint. A high-solids acrylic enamel formulation delivers the ultimate in protection, gloss and color retention while delivering maximum coverage on metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces.
 

Buckocaster51

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Just found this
Dupli-Color® Acrylic Enamel offers exceptional quality in a general purpose enamel paint. A high-solids acrylic enamel formulation delivers the ultimate in protection, gloss and color retention while delivering maximum coverage on metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces.
I saw that too.

Ummm…
 

bhenry83

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Just found this
Dupli-Color® Acrylic Enamel offers exceptional quality in a general purpose enamel paint. A high-solids acrylic enamel formulation delivers the ultimate in protection, gloss and color retention while delivering maximum coverage on metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces.
Thanks for the warning! I'll be sure to avoid the enamel. But I think their Acrylic Enamel is just one product from the Dupli-Color line. I believe they also make acrylic lacquers, which is what I would be looking for.

See the following threads:
 

stratisfied

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Just found this
Dupli-Color® Acrylic Enamel offers exceptional quality in a general purpose enamel paint. A high-solids acrylic enamel formulation delivers the ultimate in protection, gloss and color retention while delivering maximum coverage on metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces.

That's their line of enamel paints for general use.

The Duplicolor Perfect Match Premium Automotive Paint is what most refer to as "Duplicolor" ...

"Dupli-Color Perfect Match Premium Automotive Paint is an easy-to-use, high-quality, fast-drying, acrylic lacquer aerosol paint specially formulated to exactly match the color of the original factory applied coating. Ideal for use on all OEM paint surfaces, Perfect Match is available in a complete line of exact-match colors for current and late model import and domestic vehicles, making this product ideal for both small scale vehicle touch-up and for painting vehicle accessories."
 

stratisfied

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Thanks for the warning! I'll be sure to avoid the enamel. But I think their Acrylic Enamel is just one product from the Dupli-Color line. I believe they also make acrylic lacquers, which is what I would be looking for.

See the following threads:

Clear Lacquers work fine over the Duplicolor Acrylic Lacquers. Mohawk UltraFlo is my go-to clear topcoat.
 

naneek

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If you want something that really looks professional, I don't recommend duplicolor perfect match rattlecans. The finish is on the soft side, so it doesn't take well to sanding and polishing.

If you want something rock'n'roll or punk that looks like some kid made it in a garage, duplicolor will work well for that.

I used duplicolor perfect match and duplicolor clear coat, maybe results would be better with a different finish on top of the paint. Something that builds up a nice thick hard finish and buffs well could make the color paint look much better.

on the plus side, duplicolor adheres well to other finishes. so if it turns out there is some kind of weird grain filler or something underneath that flaking fotoflame that won't strip easily, the duplicolor would adhere to it without problems.
 

bhenry83

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If you want something that really looks professional, I don't recommend duplicolor perfect match rattlecans. The finish is on the soft side, so it doesn't take well to sanding and polishing.

If you want something rock'n'roll or punk that looks like some kid made it in a garage, duplicolor will work well for that.

I used duplicolor perfect match and duplicolor clear coat, maybe results would be better with a different finish on top of the paint. Something that builds up a nice thick hard finish and buffs well could make the color paint look much better.

on the plus side, duplicolor adheres well to other finishes. so if it turns out there is some kind of weird grain filler or something underneath that flaking fotoflame that won't strip easily, the duplicolor would adhere to it without problems.
Yes, I've read in several places that Dupli-Color clear coat has problems, but using another clear coat (poly or lacquer) can yield great results.

Is stripping the neck necessary?
No, but I really don't like the Foto Flame on the neck, even if it is intact. I bought it because the cracked finish on the body made it a good deal on a well-built bass. I know stripping poly isn't fun, as I've done it before. But I'm also hoping that the Foto Flame finish is a bit easier to remove.

Clear Lacquers work fine over the Duplicolor Acrylic Lacquers. Mohawk UltraFlo is my go-to clear topcoat.
Awesome! I was just reading up on UltraFlo.
 

Sea Devil

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UltraFlo is great. Self-levels like crazy, dries incredibly fast. I think they say eleven minutes to handle, twenty to ship. It has nitrocellulose in it, along with a variety of nasty but familiar chemicals that are in most aerosol lacquers.
 

nojazzhere

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Hi, there! Just fishing for tips, advice, and/or warnings here.

Yesterday was an NGD for me, and my first bass. Got a deal on this early ‘90s Japanese Foto Flame ST-62. Plays and sounds great. Great weight too. I believe it’s basswood (4pc).

The plan: enjoy it for a while, then strip and refinish.

I’ve previously stripped a ‘90s AmStd Strat body with a heat gun. It was not easy. But this one already started on its own, so how hard can it be. I’ve never stripped a neck so that’ll be interesting.

If I finish it myself it’ll be my first time. After browsing this forum I’m thinking a metallic Duplicolor with nitro clear coat (leaning blue or green) and then all nitro for the neck. Maybe some very light relic’ing as well.

View attachment 1045162
Funny.....I once owned that EXACT same finish on a MIJ Jazz Bass......and, being a "Foto-Flame, it was probably exactly the same. ;)
 

bhenry83

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Finish the beer, get to work.

Update: I finished the beer, phew! And I stripped the body and neck. So glad I did this once a few years back and got most of my mistakes out of the way. (Heat gun on low, gentle use of a chisel scraper. Also, respirator and eye protection!)

The body is alder with a basswood (I guess?) cap. The alder was stained. I just about got the whole body sanded to 120 in my limited free time today. Orbital sander and rubber eraser with double-sided tape are crucial here. So much more work to do!

Au revoir, Hamburglar! (“Robble robble!”)

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bhenry83

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Some small, but wordy updates:

1) I ordered EZ Vinyl Sealer, Starcast Amber, and Ultra-Flo Clear from mohawkproducts.com 10 days ago, but it still says they're "processing" my order. I emailed [email protected] two days ago, but haven't received a response. Maybe I've been spoiled by Amazon, but it's annoying.

2) Call it corksniffery, but I changed out the fret dots on for "clay" ones. This is supposed to be '62 reissue, and anyway I like the color. It's subtle, but important to me. Removing the original dots wasn't difficult.

Steps:
1. Carefully drill a small hole in the center of the dot, stopping as soon as I got through it.
2. Use some small needle-nose pliers to pry out/break up the dot.
3. Carefully spin a 1/4" drill bit (by hand, not in a drill) inside the hole to clean it out, being extra careful not to widen the hole.

Next, I used Mohawk Blendal Powder and thin CA glue to install the new dots (from StewMac). Things got messy. But I probably would have been okay had I thought through the next part. And so begins... The Cautionary Tale (Part 1 of ???):

I used 220 sandpaper to wear down the rock-hard brown lumps, being careful not to touch the fretboard. Once I got the lumps flat and closer to the rosewood, I switched to 1500 grit, which did nothing. Then, I settled on using a razor blade like a cabinet scraper. That worked much better... until I got to the 12th fret. I guess it's because I had to deal with 2 dots there, but I found that no amount of scraping would flatten out the new dots. So (ugh) I scraped harder (ugh!).

I should note that back pain had prompted me to adjust my sitting position at this point so that I was at an angle that didn't give me the best view of my work. Also, I was in a time crunch (ugh!!!).

Eventually I realized I was scalloping my beautiful rosewood board. Panicked and heartsunk, I put everything aside for a couple of days and tried not to think about it. Then this morning I took it out and reassessed. It wasn't as bad as I'd thought. I hadn't removed much material after all, but in the right light there was a visible groove, and smoothing it out it would require removing more material.

So I went to work on it with an exacto knife (very carefully scraping), 1500 grit paper taped to a popsicle stick, and steel wool. After an hour, I think I managed to turn a minor blemish into something that even I would rarely notice. (Note: The 12th fret looks darker because I just cleaned it up with some F1.)

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