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What kind of finish do I have?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by choosebronze, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Hey guys, I have project guitar (it's not a Tele this time, but you guys are the most knowledgeable guitar people on the internet). I'm trying to refinish the body, and I see a lot of different methods online depending on the type of finish the guitar has. It's a cheap Chinese import guitar.

    Problem is, I don't know what kind of finish it has. I'm wondering if there's some way I can tell? Like maybe if there's a chemical that will break down a certain type of finish, or something that will scratch one but not another. I don't know. I don't care about preserving the finish since the goal is to strip it.

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide.
     
  2. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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    If it's a cheap Chinese import, then it's a poly finish. If you're still unsure, or for future reference, you can take a bit of acetone and put a drop on the finish (somewhere that's not in plain view, like under the pickguard, is preferable) and it will cause a reaction that will soften up the finish.

    Removing poly finishes can be quite a task and generally most people would recommend using a heat gun to remove it. Sanding it will take a LONG time.
     
  3. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Yea, I'm definitely gonna try the heatgun method. If it doesn't go so well... at least I'm just ruining a crappy guitar. Thanks for the quick answer. Here goes nothing...
     
  4. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can tell if it's nitrocellulose lacquer (and there's really very little chance that it is) by wetting a q-tip with, (are you with me?), lacquer thinner. Shellac (which you might find on old furniture or maybe a French polished classical guitar) will dissolve in alcohol. Nitro needs a little more help from a mixture of things including acetone that you'll find in lacquer thinner. Poly usually won't do anything with these chemicals, and in fact some poly finishes won't even soften with a paint stripper. It really doesn't matter if it's polyester, polyurethane, or catalyzed finish; if it's a poly finish your best bet for refinishing is (1) preferably, sell the body and buy another one that's the color you want, or (2) use a heat gun and a putty knife.
     
  5. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for the advice Vizcaster. I'm gonna go ahead and try to strip it. I bought this guitar for $20 on eBay, basically as a canvas to try out some of the things that I don't want to try on a guitar I actually like. Thanks for the help guys.
     
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