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Citrus / Citristripper Finish Removal.


Telesque
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Ever since (maybe even before) I started playing my newest electric, I've had a hankerin' to go about refinishing and moding my old axe. Last week I decided to go for it. I grabbed it by the neck, climbed up onto the counter and did a flying leap and swung it as hard as I- Ok, no. I just took it apart. :D

I've been sanding down the neck, and tonight I just started the body. Or I thought I had started the body, at least.

The fam is out of the house for a couple week, and it's hella cold outside (and no heated garage :D ). I decided to use an environmentally friendly biodegradable, non-flammable, non-vaporous 'citrus' stripped that said it would strip oil or latex based paint, varnish, shellac, poly, etc, etc, would stay workable for 24 hours, and would, in that time, strip down through multiple layers. Using a product like this, I could safely do the stripping in the house.

Step #1: Slop it on with a paintbrush

Step #2: Wait 30 minutes, then check to see if paint/lacquer/whatever has become able to scrape.

That was about four hours ago, and the only part of the finish that's coming up so far is where I'd test-sanded a little on the back and on the inside of the rear trem cavity where the paint is horribly thin anyways. Not much of that is coming up either, really.

Has anyone else ever used/heard of this stuff? Did it work for you? Would you trade an overnight wait time for the stated advantages?

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I'm afraid that the environmentally friendly stuff is frequently laughed at by older electric guitars. Between the multi-layered poly clear coat and the 1/4" teflon sealer, you can face a major challenge. Probably some form of toxic waste would be the easiest :D

What kind of a finish do you want to end up with? If you are going to paint it, you probably don't need to strip it all the way, just get it smooth and even. If you need to strip it, you can try a product called Aircraft Remover, a heat gun or sandpaper - lots of sandpaper.

Good luck.

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What kind of a finish do you want to end up with? If you are going to paint it, you probably don't need to strip it all the way, just get it smooth and even. If you need to strip it, you can try a product called Aircraft Remover, a heat gun or sandpaper - lots of sandpaper.

I'm planning on doing something involving a bright orange wood stain (see http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=33877 if you can help!), if I can figure out where to find the method I want. At any rate, I'm aiming to remove pretty much everything down to the bare wood. I was originally going to go with a common paint/varnish removed like Kwikeaze or Zip Strip (both big sellers at the hardware store). The real big reason I decided on this instead was so that I could do it inside the house, as I mentioned.

If this stuff is still wimping out on me in the morning I'm going to give it a shot with the heat gun. I've read about Aircraft Remover on the forums before, but I just wanted to pick something up while I was in town, instead of ordering it online. If the citrus and the heat don't cut it (100% satisfaction guarantee = Someone is getting money back :D ), I'll go with a more volatile stripper (it's supposed to get up around 50F this weekend, so doing it in the garage wouldn't be so bad then).

I wouldn't mind sandpaper for the final stages of finish removal, but I'm not about to spitsand my way through from the top. :D

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I've stripped a few over the years and have learned some valuable lessons. Those older poly finishes could be as thick as 1/8" in some places and it can actually add a lot of weight to the guitar. I've had to get "medievel" on guitars at times and couldn't avoid some scrapes, scratches, dings 'n dents in the wood. Learning how to use a paint scraper with some finesse is essential. I've tried most paint strippers and found that they all need a little mechanical elbow grease to help things along. Some more than others. The best that I've used so far is something called "Circa 1850", not only for its effectiveness but also ease and evenness of application (spray). Unfortunately, it can't be used indoors.

I've also used heat gun and scraper (ideal for thick finishes). I don't even bother dry sanding until I see an appreciable amount of wood showing. Sanding fairly thick finishes (by hand OR power) generates heat which melts the finish and which then sticks to your paper like s**t to a blanket. Buying paper can get expensive. :D

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