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Re-finishing An Archtop - First Time Need Advice


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Hi, I've got a korean or indonesian or whatever it is epiphone casino that I got wicked cheap - the only problem is that it's the awful red color :D ... anyway, I was thinking I'd like to refinish it ala the john lennon casino - just strip it down to the bare wood and that's pretty much it .... I've never re-finished a guitar, but I figure now's as good a time as any to learn ....

I've read some tips on this site regarding heat, chemical or sanding to remove the existing paint. What are the advantages of each? Seems like heat, in my case, could leave burn marks that I won't want to see (since I won't be repainting) and that sanding will be hard because of the curves of the instrument. Chemical removal was recommended for guitars that have already been refinished, but no explanation as to why was given. Any advice?

What about the binding? Since the binding is currently even with the paint (I'm assuming) will I have to sand that down as well to make it even in the end?

After I've got the paint off it, what should I do to protect it? Lacquer? Polyurethane?

Any advice? Thanks in advance


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