Remove lacquer?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Langer93, May 9, 2012.

  1. Hello to anyone that reads this and replies helpfully!
    Does anyone know how to remove the lacquer/finish off of a bass without harming the paint underneath much or at all?
    Hope I made sense and thanks :help:
  2. I think it might be easier if you would say what you want to do AFTER you remove the lacquer/finish? Typically the "lacquer/finish" is considered most of the stuff on top of the bare wood.

    Do you mean you want to remove the clear only but leave the color underneath? That's almost impossible.
  3. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Not much. And you are welcome.

    Are you asking if a clear coat can be removed while leaving the color coat beneath? If that is the question the answer is no with one possible exception. That would be if the color coat is a modern finish (polyurethane, polyester, etc.) and the clear coat is nitrocellulose. If that were the case then the nitro can be removed with lacquer thinner. That would be rare indeed.
  4. Please furnish more info. What bass is it? Is it a factory finish? Is there a Lacquer coat on top of some other finish? Lacquer, whether Acrylic or Nitro is usually removable.
    How do you know it is Lacquer?
  5. Hmm okay what would be the way (if possible) to damage the paint the least whislt still removing the lacquer? 202dy I hope I have not upset you??
    Ideally I just want as much bare paint left as possible
  6. Sorry Rocky didn't see your post. It's a G&L jb-2 some sorta magical trickery stupidly shiny finish from them other than that I'm not sure :/
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Hardly. Your question(s) is not clear.

    The short answer is no. It is rare that a top coat can be removed without disturbing the color coat beneath. If the two layers are similar, whatever solvent removes one will remove the other. There is no way to stop the chemical reaction in any reliable way. Abrasion is risky. When do you stop sanding? When you stop, how much damage has the color coat sustained? Abrasion is a lot of work, too much so to risk the disappointment of burning through the color. Or not sanding enough clear coat off so that it interferes with subsequent work.

    Speaking of subsequent work, what is your goal for this project?

    As Rocky points out, there isn't much to go on.
  8. I can see I'm not really giving anyone enough info, sorry I'm really no expert in any field (grammar and spelling included). 202dy- my goal with it was just to try and get rid of the lacquer. I really don't like the way it feels, looks or sounds. plus theres a number of scratches and dinks in it, I wouldn't mind as much if it was ALOT thinner and duller maybe. However I wouldnt mind a little bit of scuffing on the paint if the lacquer was gone :D
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Then have at it. Mechanical abrasion is for you.

    Start with some 600 grit. It will dull the lacquer. Move down the grits until you find what you're looking for. 120 will remove lacquer in a hurry-if it is lacquer. If it is poly you're in for hours of work. Not to mention a close relationship with 60 grit sand paper and lots of it, too.
  10. Yeah? But what about heatguns I've heard that techs use them quite often for it, reccomended?
  11. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Heat, like chemical solvent, is much like your dog: It eats until there is no more. If you want it all gone, use a heat gun and a good scraper. There is technique involved here, too. Heat will scorch wood if not managed. Overzealous use of the scraper will lead to gouges. Heat is faster than abrasion. But it's all relative. Heat will take a long time, too.

    By the by, most modern poly finishes will just sit there and laugh at most, if not all, paint removers.
  12. I would research with G&L and find out what kind of finish you are dealing with. It is most likely, Polyurethane. If it's poly, you have a choice of heat, chemical or sanding. Or a combination of all three. I would sand it because I think you want a Satin natural finish and a heat gun will burn the wood if you don't know what your are doing. You did not say if it's a color or natural finish. Most are high gloss Poly. If you just want a dull/satin natural finish, I would hand sand it with 600 grit to remove just the gloss, not the complete finish.
  13. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    To the OP. if you just want it dull, get a fine Scotchbrite pad and have at it. Be sure to remove the pickups and all the hardware. Stroke the body in one direction with light pressure to get the most consistent gloss or lack thereof. Clean the body well after using the steel wool. The magnets in pickups love little bits of steel wool.

  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Scotchbrite is o.k. for de-glossing necks. However, for the large flat surfaces on the body some 600 grit on a block with water is less intrusive and will preserve the flat surface. Use water to float the friable grit and wipe often. If at a later date someone wishes to return the body to a gloss finish they will be buffing a flat surface rather than trying to buff in and out of valleys and ridges.
  15. In terms of necks, I never found the need to totally remove the gloss. I tend to use lower grit to get about 80 percent off then I go step by step all the way up to 6000 grit.
    By the way I succesfully dulled the finish on the bass, feels alot better and I'm not being blinded by it when I turn the lights on ;)

    Thanks everyone for your help!
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    What this boils down to: BAD IDEA. You're going to end up with bare wood. There are many minor abrasives (like Scotch-Brite pads) you can use to take the gloss off - just realize you're destroying the resale value while doing it.
  17. It's a players piece not a museum piece. Sticky,horrid feeling and blinding when the lights are on lacquer ;) is no ggod for me. But I understand what your saying. Just prefer it to be how it is now, plus the natural weather checking looks nicer now.
    Even if parts did go down to bare wood I wouldn't mind too much.
    Thanks for replying though, everything everyone has said here has been really helpful and informative :)
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