Removing clear coat entirely. any shortcuts? :)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DanAdams, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. DanAdams

    DanAdams Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    I have this old Matsumoku body that I think looks quite nice. I want to take the old thick, hard, damaged finish off and apply a new light finish.
    I've done this with an old Ibanez Musician, and the finish just popped off in big 'quarter size' chunks when i pushed a chisel under it. That approach is not working on this finish. It would take a whole day to chip it off this one.

    Any suggestions? Thanks
    scourgeofgod likes this.
  2. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I was having a Blue stratocaster refinished by John Diggins (Jaydee Custom guitars) and he advised me to use nitromors to remove the existing finish.
    Mine went from this: 37516.jpg

    To this perfectly: 108742.jpg
  3. You can try applying heat, sometimes that will make it peal right off.
  4. DanAdams

    DanAdams Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    I may try that. I thinking about cooling down the body in the fridge first too, but I don't want any of the glue joints to crack. I'll just try a hair dryer first.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    A hair dryer won't touch it, you need a heat gun. get a cheap one ($12.99) at Harbor Freight. I've never had any luck with chemical strippers on Poly (if that's what it is), and you are nearly guarenteed to gouge the body someplace with a chisel. Get a nice metal scraper and file the sharp corners off it, then go to town. Should come off in sheets.
    1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun 572°/1112°
  6. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    If it's poly, a heat gun is your best bet. I did an old global (probably also a matsumoku) that way and it worked great when chemical stripping wouldn't touch it
    DanAdams and Gilmourisgod like this.
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