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Tech: Varnish/finish rmover

Spot 05 Feb 07 - 12:24 PM
DonMeixner 05 Feb 07 - 02:24 PM
Bernard 05 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM
Captain Ginger 05 Feb 07 - 02:36 PM
Jim Lad 05 Feb 07 - 03:04 PM
Spot 05 Feb 07 - 03:08 PM
Dead Horse 05 Feb 07 - 03:49 PM
Willie-O 05 Feb 07 - 03:53 PM
Spot 05 Feb 07 - 04:00 PM
Spot 05 Feb 07 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 05 Feb 07 - 06:21 PM
Bernard 05 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM
bubblyrat 05 Feb 07 - 06:29 PM
Ned Ludd 05 Feb 07 - 06:42 PM
Gurney 06 Feb 07 - 01:36 AM
Spot 06 Feb 07 - 04:50 AM
redsnapper 06 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM
Spot 06 Feb 07 - 05:31 AM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 07 - 08:56 AM
Scrump 06 Feb 07 - 09:03 AM
Bernard 06 Feb 07 - 09:21 AM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 07 - 11:19 AM
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Subject: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 12:24 PM

Allo everybody...
               
                  Eastman 515 mandolin - finish is very brittle and keeps chipping. Any "Nitromors" type stuff out there to take it off...?

All info gratefully received..    :-)

             Regards to all... Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 02:24 PM

Gee Spot,

I don't think I'd strip an instrument. I'm pretty skilled at such things and have built a few instruments and repaired a few dozen more. I still wouldn't do it myself. I don't have the equipment to respray correctly for one. The paint stripped will disolve any plastic sych as binding, nuts. some inlay.

I give it off to a pro who is set up for the work. Also remember that if you repaint this bug you'll change the sound of it completely.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM

Yup - I've an ancient mandolin with most of the original finish missing... it sounds great, but looks terrible.

Stick with the 'distressed look' unless the sound isn't so important!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Captain Ginger
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 02:36 PM

If it's shellac it will be soluble in alcohol - try a bit of methylated spirits.
If it's an ordinary varnish you have a tricker problem. Don's right about Nitromors - it will eat through anything plastic as well as your varnish, and changing the finish will change the sound of the instrument. Fine wire wool on any rough bits can help, followed with a brisk polish with something like Brasso to get the scratches out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Jim Lad
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 03:04 PM

I'd love to refinish some of mine but wouldn't dare run the risk of ruining the sound. You know what they say.. "The older the fiddle..."


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 03:08 PM

Allo..

       Sounds like I did right asking!!! Thanks for that!! I wouldn't have used Nitromors (even I know its potent stuff!!)but maybe there's something a little softer available... or should I gently somehow "distress " the rest of it..?   Don't want to alter sound - it's not so bad!!

       Ok...how do we gently distress Eastman 515whose finish is not very durable...??

            Regards and thanks to all....   Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Dead Horse
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 03:49 PM

If it were a bohdran, I would suggest a blow lamp.
But it aint.
So dont!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 03:53 PM

Ask Eastman.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 04:00 PM

Willie-o

             Done that, but as yet - no reply...I somehow doubt they'll want to commit themselves. Anyway, I'm getting sold on the idea of distressing it...   Didn't they used to do furniture with motorcycle chains? (got loadsa that!)

             Blow lamp? Has possibilities.....   :-)

   The mind is now starting to boggle...
                  
             Regards ...Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 04:06 PM

O aye
   The reason I started thinkin along these lines...a mate took a belt sander to an old Yamaha flat top.   Yup - a bloody belt sander!!

       He must've thinned out the top to absolute minimum, by accident!! He "finished " it with Black Bison wax (bees?) and now it sounds bloody wonderful and looks very bloody wonderful.....   Hmmm...One thing on a flat top...arch mando....dunno yet!!

               Regards to all...Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 06:21 PM

Regards the Yamaha Flat top. It is my experience that one persons blind good luck is another's recipe for disaster.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM

Yup... I know someone who tried it with an Eko Ranger, and was really disappointed to end up with a silly looking guitar and no improvement on the sound!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: bubblyrat
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 06:29 PM

US actor and musician Andy Griffith stripped the varnish off his Martin dreadnought. It was succesful enough for CF Martin to issue, about 3 years ago, an Andy Griffith commemorative model based on the model that Andy originally had ( I think he got to keep it after playing it in a film ! ), but deliberately without any varnish on the top. QED.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 06:42 PM

I go with the 'don't do it' school of thought, but if you must... I made a guitar once where the finish went wrong. ( not my fault the varnish maker changed the formulation) I removed the finish by careful use of scrapers. It worked and I didn't dissolve anything.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 01:36 AM

I've stripped an archtop with VERY CAREFUL use of scrapers, but a fiddle is another and much curvier beast. At least you would need an angle-grinder and several scrapers, the angle-grinder to reshape the scrapers to fit the curves, if you did it.

If the wood in the chips is not going grey, it is possible that the chips are in an overcoat, a shadow coat or something. And before varnishing, ask a luthier for recommendations. Some varnishes are rubbery.




Yes, I do carry my chips in my overcoat, before anyone asks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 04:50 AM

Don

       Wise words, I think.... Ok .. I'm not doing it..it'll just have to get worse over time.. so what? It plays ok for the money.

             Cheers people.....Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: redsnapper
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM

I've found that a product known and available over this side of the pond as K9P is most effective for distressing the finish on instruments.

RS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Spot
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 05:31 AM

RS...
          Lost me dog a coupla years ago...Good excuse for another???

   Sensible suggestions only , please!!    ;-)

                         Regards ...Spot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 08:56 AM

Some varnishes can be effectuvely stripped with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).

Look up a hazards sheet to find out why you might want to use a belt sander instead...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 09:03 AM

Yup... I know someone who tried it with an Eko Ranger, and was really disappointed to end up with a silly looking guitar and no improvement on the sound!

I still have one of those - it's the varnish that holds it together!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 09:21 AM

MEK used to be used as an ink solvent in the printing industry, but has been outlawed for around thirty years, now.

We used it to wash down print rollers, etc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Varnish/finish rmover
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 11:19 AM

Last I heard, Fred Kron still used MEK in the manufacture of his plastic bagpipe chanters. I suspect it may well be used in other factories (Far Eastern luthiers?) where the owners don't give a shit about their employees' health.

I've seen amyl acetate used as a solvent in applying varnish to uds and sazes in Turkey - maybe that would dissolve the original poster's varnish? It was dramatic process. They'd wait till the end of the day when the street was clear, hang the instruments above head-height off a pole at the front of the shop, and blast them with an enormous cloud of varnish from a spray gun, leaving a yards-long cloud of varnish and amyl acetate drifting down the street. You could smell the workshop from a block away. If anybody had walked into the operation smoking it would have gone off like a bomb.


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