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Ibanez S520ex Refinish


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I have an Ibanez S520EX. It is gloss black. I would like to strip the paint and stain it to a walnut color. Ibanez made a model of this guitar with a walnut finish. Here are some links to pics

black finish

http://www.zzounds.com/item--IBAS520EX

Walnut finish

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr174/t...body_stage1.jpg

What all would I need to to to get this finish?

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That is not walnut, it's mahogany. You can strip or sand the finish with electric sander till the wood starts to appear. Be careful while working not sand off the wood much :D

Start with 150 grits and remove all the color with it, than continue with 250, then 320 and so on to achieve smoothness and to remove 'scratches' from rougher sand paper (be VERY careful at the edges of the body, at those points color is removing more quickly than of the flat points)... last hand before applying lacquer should be around 600-800 grits.

Some parts of the body you'll need to sand by hand, not all points are reachable with machine.

After removing all of the finish you can fill the pores of the wood with transparent grain filler for wood of course. If you want exact result as of the second pic then do not fill the pores (you wont have much smooth finish but that is the same as on the 2nd pic).

At the end apply clear lacquer as protection and that's it.

But think four times do you really want to do that... according me it's better black in this case.

Edited by ModulusMK
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Ibanez generally do not use matching pieces of wood underneath their solid finishes. You'll be lucky if the wood underneath has an acceptable colouration either side of the join. Also, the sealer coat is virtually impossible to remove! You would probably get better results by adding a veneer to the top - which is difficult with Sabres - or building a body from scratch.

Not trying to dissuade you, just illustrating the difficulties you'll face. Wouldn't want it to go wrong, or you to find the result not being worthwhile.

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I'm going to back up Modulus. That is Mahogany. There's also a pretty good chance of finding a mismatched grain pattern under that wood. So far, there's been a lot of success stories with Ibanez stripping (one of them became guitar of the month a while ago), so you may be pleasently surprised. But worst comes to worst, you strip it down, find its mismatched, and then you have to paint it black again.

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Ibanez generally do not use matching pieces of wood underneath their solid finishes. You'll be lucky if the wood underneath has an acceptable coloration either side of the join. Also, the sealer coat is virtually impossible to remove! You would probably get better results by adding a veneer to the top - which is difficult with Sabres - or building a body from scratch.

Not trying to dissuade you, just illustrating the difficulties you'll face. Wouldn't want it to go wrong, or you to find the result not being worthwhile.

+1, risky thinking it will look good underneath the black.

If you want to expose the wood a commercial stripper to start then sand, mahogany will need the pores filled and sanding sealer as well until the

surface is flat enough to paint or clear coat.

Sand it down and repaint not for a clearcoat as the sanding will not or should not expose much wood or the wood pores.

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My main concerns are whether or not to use sanding sealer and the best way remove the factory finish.

I've explained a way that I've tried on several Squiers for removing the finish. For home conditions electric sander is a very good choice. 2-3 hours of sanding and all is removed. Other way (and more risky) is to 'corrode' or 'byte' the finish with acids or other liquid that does not goes well (necessary for chemical reaction) with the finish the guitar has. But after that, sanding is going to take place again... after all better is to choose sanding from the beginning and is safer and easier to work with.

As you wish, the choice is yours

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Ok so do I need to sand all the finish and primer off, then add stain, then apply sanding sealer, then the nitro finish?

If adding stain you must remove primer and everything else that is on top of the wood. You'll have to reach pure wood by sanding to add stain. This means you also will have to remove a small amount of wood to remove the primer and grain filler off the pores of the wood so you can stain well. If in pores some primer or filler is left there stain wont stain or will very little. Other way than sanding away some wood to remove filler from pores is with using acids again, but it's not recommendable as you can ruin the wood a little and the pores wont be cleaned too well.

After doing all that, last hand of sanding before staining and adding sanding sealer should be around 360-400 grits, then you add stain, leave it dry, then add sanding sealer (amount and layers depends on whether you want to fill the pores or not, however on the pic that you want to achieve the result pores are left open) then sand with 280 then 360... and 600 grits as final before nitro finish. Be gentle with rougher sand papers, they sand much faster than finer ones!

Look carefully what types of products you are using!!! They have to go well together.

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Depends on the type of the filler, although I doubt that naphtha will remove that. You can try, but be careful... try small area that is not much visible, somewhere on the back.

If there is hardener on the filler hardly to remove with naphtha.

Edited by ModulusMK
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Last body I stripped I used Nitromors which did really well at removing the clear and solid, but didn't make even the slightest dent in the sealer coat. I have no idea what Ibanez use, but it sure is tough stuff. It has to be to stop basswood from falling apart under atmospheric pressure or local wind currents ;-D

I ended up using a combination of scraping and sanding, but you have to be very careful as once you get through the sealer the wood underneath is much easier to damage compared to the work the sealer requires. Sabres are very choosy shapes, and you don't want to go changing it now!

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Well I finally decided to go for it and started sanding. The first day I took the paint off to the primer with 40 grit paper. I know that sounds extreme but a woodworker told me it would work best to rip through the poly and get the paint to start coming off. When I got to the primer i stepped down to 100 grit and took that to bare wood. There are still traces of paint and primer in some of it but I was thinking that when i hit it with 120 grit it should take it off. The grain on it looks great. I guess i just got lucky on that part. I have some pictures but I am not sure how to attach them.

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I think it is a 3 piece, but to be honest I cant really tell. I see the lines on the photo but I cant see them when actually looks at the guitar. lol I dont know if that is something I should be worried about. One thing I noticed though is that under the paint there are some spots that have been nicked and filled with what looks like wood glue. Would these spots stain ok?

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Well people, it is finished, or should I say refinished. I went with a dark mahogany gel stain instead of the walnut.

here is the link to it about 5 mins after it was stained

http://s692.photobucket.com/albums/vv285/g...nt=DSCN0053.jpg

The 2 spots, 1 is at the pickup switch and the other is on the bottom horn were finish flaws that were on the guitar when i got it. They were pretty deep so I tried to clean them up as much as I could, but I left them how they are because I didn't want to dig any deeper into the wood. They are not gorgeous, but I can live with them. Thanks everyone for the help. I think I have found a new hobby. I know it's not a professional job, but it is my first time doing anything more than changing strings.

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