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Stripping paint from neck

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I have an epiphone neck. I want to strip the paint off it. For the body, i'm using chemical paint stripper. Can i do this for the neck? im concerned for the side of the rosewood fingerboard and the plastic string groove thing at the top

can i just put tape around the edges? i guess it would soak through...is this damaging?

thanks for your help

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and the plastic string groove thing at the top

thats called a nut, its usually graphite or bone, not plastic, what i did is just sadned my neck, it worked pretty well if you ask me, i wouldnt take my chanes with the strippers

Definately not if you still call it a string groove thing. I'd hate to see you put one of those book opened tree things on top of your carved soundy thing.

Basically...read up on topics, theres more than enough here!

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ok, i dunno what my nut is made out of! but anyway

i've gone through the site and i'll double check but i dont think there's anything about removing paint from the neck. sorry if there is, i know noobs are painful.

sanding was my other possibility but it seems awkward around the nut on the headstock, but i guess if thats my problem it'll just take ages.

if your sanding, how do you not scratch the sides of the rosewood fretboard? put tape on it?

also while im asking, i didnt find anywhere saying how to clean frets. as in, not the frets, but the fret spaces. my wordings great i know. can you use a bit of white spirit to remove some of the gunk than must have accumulated over time?


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I use scrapers for stuff like that. To use a scraper means you have to learn how to sharpen a scraper (seems there's more way than one) because they get dull pretty fast. You basically "shave" the finish off with the sharp edge of the scraper. I wouldn't start out my first experimenting with using a scraper on a neck that you like. You might want to try to find some round, painted hardwood and get a feel for it on that, first. You try not to go into the wood, you try to get the finish shaved thinner, and with a feel, you can often get it to a thin-ness where the remaining layer wants to pop off of the wood (I doubt it always works that way with all finishes, but seems to have with lacquer for me).

Sometimes it pops off the wood right away, without getting it shaved thinner first.

I have a fairly fancy German scraper, but I think I usually have more fun with a homemade scraper which is just a piece of a hack-saw blade that I sharpened one edge with a file (with the hacksaw blade held in a vise). I don't sharpen the side with the teeth, it's the opposite side that gets it.

After you're down to bare wood, you use sandpaper. For round areas, I like an oval BIC lighter with sandpaper wrapped around it.

It's quite an ordeal and should be performed as if you're a doctor doing an operation (even though they usually don't do operations that require them to scrape paint off of a person). But it needs that kind of concentration (actually most guitar modding and repair does )

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thats called a nut, its usually graphite or bone, not plastic,

Before you open your keyboard, make some research yourself... Don't give a noobie a noobie answer.

Here you will find that nuts are not "usually graph or bone" and in the case of Epiphones they are plastic, and if not that a very like material. And on the question of getting your neck back shaved, I will take the asdvise that Soapbarstrat gave you. I did mine with sandpaper, but if I had a scraper I would had use it in a heart beat. Also I use a fine cut bastard file instead of sand paper to get the clear out, once you can see that stained wood, (and you can tell by the color) switch to the sand paper starting at 220 and then go all the way up to 2000.


this is a link to my Epiphone LP neck.

And on the paint stripper, DON'T use it near plastic or inlays It will eat thru it...

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I use a 3D palm sander myself, because -when you keep moving the sander- it's possible to maintain the profile of the neck.

I've sanded this neck in a matter of 2 minutes. For the area round the heel and headstock (which isn't been done yet) I'll take some more time.

Ok, to be honest, I got myself a little dip in the neck near the headstock when I got distracted and didn't move the sander at that moment. (so I wonder if I should fill this with some stainable wood putty or not)?

Anyway, final sanding with 220/320 grit I will do by hand.

One thing I always do before is measure (and redraw) the original neck profile with a contour gauge at the 3/7/12th fret, so you're always able to check.

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thanks for the help

is the scraper used to ge the lacquer stuff off, and then sanding down to wood? if so, i think i only need sanding.....i sanded the laquer off a while ago on most of the neck so it would play better

and i'll have to research more about what sandpapers to use

do i just put masking tape along the side of the fretboard to protect it when sanding?

btw, Maiden69 your fret board looks awesome

cheers again

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You don't need to put tape along the fretboard, I didn't, just be careful you don't sand the end of the frets, and thanks, I did it like this following Brians advise! If your neck is binded just sand lightly on the bottom edge of the binding until you don't see any color close to it, then just feather the edge with like 800 sand paper. Use this grits, always sanding until you can not see the lines from the previous grits.

Use 400-600-800-1000-1200 or 1500-2000. The get some kind of oil like lemon oil if you plan on leaving it bare, and clean it up good then buff it to a shine. and oil it once every 2 weeks or more if you play a lot.

Here is one more pic so that you can see how mine looks

This is without the oil applied


this one after lemon oil applied


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i think i perfer it without the darker oil look.....can i just sand it down and then add a small amount of varnish or :D i'll look into it (dont attack me)

also is there a way of removing the paint yet preserving the epiphone inlay at the top of the headstock? and by some miracle the limited edition stamp on the back (i only ask coz i have one like yours, but i guess your headstock was always red)

thanks for the help!

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i think i perfer it without the darker oil look.....

It's natural color, the oil doesn't make it darker. It makes it brighter... also if you finish it in any type of finish it will look like mine, but it will feel like painted, so you lost your time shaving the neck if you were looking for the bare wood feel.

also is there a way of removing the paint yet preserving the epiphone inlay at the top of the headstock?

I would say no! It might be possible but that black paint is very thick. If I'm correct Gibson is an ebony veneer, on this is like a thin plastic film, if you can see the end my headstock, were I sanded the shape on the back, the thickness of the black paint is about 1/2 yo 1/3 of a mm. so you will have to take it lightly on the inlay so that you don't mess it up. I will advise you not to, but if you are careful enough you might pull it off.

and by some miracle the limited edition stamp on the back

I left it like this in order to retain the serial number, and info in case I decide to sell it, which I doubt it. And yes, mine was cherry red all the way up from the body. and it has a thin mahogany venner on the back of the headstock.

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