Any chance of removing a terrible refin?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SounderStudios, Nov 18, 2012.


  1. SounderStudios

    SounderStudios

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Hello all,

    New owner of a 1965 Fender Precision! All original except for a terrible refinish job which appears to be from spray cans. Is there any way to cut through several layers of spray paint to get to the original nitro lacquer below? I'm not even certain that the original nitrocellulose is intact, but I thought I'd throw the question out there for everyone. Any solvents to try which will cut through enamel but not the lacquer? Any other approaches? Would love to return her to her original glory (or at least see what lurks beneath)! Wondering if anyone has had success in this process.

    SS
  2. clbolt

    clbolt

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    I'd attempt light heat (blow drier, not heat gun), and see if it softens the spray paint enough to let you peel it off.
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    Disclosures:
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Your best chance would be citrus strip if you were to try to strip just the enamel. Probably not going to be a pretty outcome whatever you try. Best bet will be to scrape or sand it out and do a real refinish. No matter what you are most likely not going to save the orignal finish or the original value, so get a good refin done and save the bass. Being a 65, just the age value wll make it worth having to most collectors, and a body refinish will probably add value from where it is now with a spray bomb job
  4. SounderStudios

    SounderStudios

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Light heat wouldn't affect the nitro? I may try the citrus strip in the neck pocket. It looks like the original finish is present under the pickups (was painted with the covered pickups in place). I'm hoping for the best on this one but agree that a refin might be needed. Could be a cool relic'd look if I can cut through just enough gold to let the original finish show.
  5. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the likelihood of removing only the recently applied rattle-can finish, leaving the original finish unscathed, is nil.

    I'd have it professionally refinished.
  6. line6man

    line6man

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Close to Los Angeles, CA
    How do you know there is an original finish below the spray paint? Maybe someone sanded through it or something, and decided to just spray over everything.

    I agree, there is no way to save the original finish. I would strip everything and refinish.
  7. StreetScenes

    StreetScenes Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Just and FYI I stripped a MIJ p/j that had been spray painted with a soy based stripper from Rockler. It kept the original finish in good shade. I was surprised.

    DSC00009.jpeg

    To this..

    Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 5.59.21 AM.png

    If you were going to refinish. You could try this..maybe under the pickguard?
  8. SounderStudios

    SounderStudios

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    I'm not sure what lies beneath. Could be a hot mess! StreetScenes, I doubt I'd get such good results with the old nitro. Your finish is likely more durable poly (nice job, though!). I'm not going to make a quick decision on this one. If I make any progress I'll post pics of the step by step.

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