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Terrible Staining

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I am refinishing an old acoustic archtop my grandfather made in the 60's. The wood he used for the neck and the sides appears to be a very light-coloured mahogany. Both the neck and the sides were painted black with god knows what, and he doesn't appear to have filled the grain with anything (he was an amateur luthier and was flying mostly by the seat of his pants as far as the building went).

The result is that the heel on the neck, both sides of the neck, and certain splotches on the sides have been stained quite deeply with the black paint. It appears that no amount of sanding will fix it. I've already sanded so much off of the headstock that I'm going to have to glue a 1/4" vaneer onto the face to keep it a decent thickness, and its still not clean of all the paint. I can't make this same error on the sides or on the heel, it would ruin the guitar.

I used a citrus stripper to get the lion's share of the finish off of the guitar, and it worked pretty well on the rest of the guitar. I tried using an "after strip" cleaner that is supposed to rid the body of the rest of the finish still lingering, but it didn't really do anything. The top and back turned out quite clean after a little sanding, and the neck itself (not the heel or the headstock) is also clean. The problem areas I mentioned won't give up the paint no matter how much chemical stripper I use or how much sanding I do.

I'm going crazy here, this guitar is very important to me and I want it in the best shape it can be. I know I can't start to finish it until all the paint is off, what can I do?

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Ok, i finally got some pictures of the problem areas, so now hopefully someone will be able to assist me.

Heres the headstock, front and back:



Heres the staining in the waist of the guitar body:



And heres a quick shot of the heel:


I have more pictures of each of these areas and more if you guys want them, i just wanted to keep he number of pics down to a minimum for the website's sake.

As you can see there is a very ugly grey staining on all the lighter parts of the guitar. Any suggestions are welcome.


Please re-read the rules regarding photo posting

Edited by Scott Rosenberger
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Has anyone got any suggestions? I'm just looking to get this last little bit of paint off of the guitar before i finish it, and I don't want to have to live with it.

I am no expert I am staining my first guitar now but what if you dyed the rest black and sanded again. Use the black as a grain accent and then stain a brighter colur over. Finsh with clear. Might work.


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