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to sand or strip

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Marc Piane, May 3, 2006.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Sounds more interesting than it really is.

    My B bass is a German plywood bass. The name on the inside is Lewis and Sons. Anyway. The bass has a high gloss heavy finish. I want to use it for some outdoor gigs this summer. I played one last year in 95 degree heat with no shade. I was thinking of stripping it and refinishing. I got a handle on the refinishing part. As far as removing the old finish though, should I sand it or use a chemical paint stripper? If I sand should I use a rotary sander or the like? Thanks.
  2. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Do not sand, you'll go thru the top lamination somewhere, for sure...
  3. philly


    Nov 20, 2004
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I recently used CitrusStrip (bought it at Lowe's) and was really impressed. They have improved the stripping-ability of their formula. It does a great job. You can use it indoors, and it doesn't burn your skin like Dad's or other toxic strippers. Some pointers:

    1)Use heavy duty blue chemical gloves.
    2)Make a "varnish endpin" out of scrap wood.
    3)Use two sawhorses and make a rotisserie type of setup where you can keep the bass supported at the neck and at the endpin.
    4)Lay plastic sheeting down under the area you are working. 10'x10' area would be good. When you are done you can just roll up the sheet and throw it out.
    5)Use a $2 china brush to apply the stripper. Synthetic Gray Steel Wool Pads work nicely to remove what your stripping tool (old credit card or plastic blade tool) can't.
    6)Use Grain Alcohol in a spray bottle to get the last 5% that the stripper doesn't. This is especially handy in the tight corners and the scroll area. You can use Denatured or SLX Alcohol and it really stinks. Grain Alcohol is a little more expensive, but it's worth it. The Gray Pad works well with Alcohol, too.

  5. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    What Nick said. I stripped most of an old Kay that had been given multiple coats of automative lacquer (purple metalflake!), and Citrustrip did a nice job of getting through the finish without harming the wood underneath. Do NOT use a casutic stripper, which will discolor or damage the wood.
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks Nick.

    I played one of your basses at Mark Sonksen's place. Very nice.
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    And you can't drink the denatured...;)
  8. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Mark...let us know how this turns out. i'm contemplating doing this to my other bass as well.

  9. Chris Rhoades

    Chris Rhoades

    Sep 19, 2004
    San Antonio Texas
    Endorcing Artist:BNA Audio, Boothill bass strings.
    how long did it take to get the old paint off the bass. is this like a day process or like a few week one?
  10. A couple of hours.
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you use a chemical stripper, remember that most of them are a cocktail of stripping chemicals and wax (the wax slows the evaporation of the chemicals, allowing them time to do their work); when you're done stripping, in addition to neutralizing the chemicals, remember to remove all traces of wax, as residual wax can make refinishing problematic.

    If you work in a well-ventilated area, away from all open flames and other sources of combustion, you can remove nitrocellulose lacquer using Scotchbrite pads and lacquer thinner. It goes very quickly.

    Good luck!
  12. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Marc....did you strip your bass yet? If so, I'd like to hook up with you to check it out and ask about a million questions if that's ok.

  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Not yet. It is definitely going to happen but I had wanted to do it when the weather was nice. Gigs came rolling in and that fell by the wayside. My wife and kids might not want a bass workshop set up in the kitchen. When the weather gets nice again I'll do it. I'll keep you posted.
  14. Here is my stripping project. This is the first time I've done this and I'm pretty satisfied with the results.
    Here is the yard sale bass before applying citrustrip.
    Here is the bass after applying the first coat of Citrustrip.
    I waited over night and I could see that Citrustrip was working. The paint was bubbling. I forgot to take pics as I was pretty hungover stripping the paint. I just grabbed a normal paint spatula and started to scrap and the paint came off. I tried to to do the whole body but there was still a lot of paint on there. I applied another layer of citrustrip and let it sit over night again. I again went back to scraping and scrubbing the body of the bass with steel wool #00. This is the finished product.

    I am still planning on sanding it later on today. I found out that my yard sale bass was three different types of wood and that there was a lot of glue holding it together haha.
    Overall I'm really satisfied. Now on to sanding and refinishing!

    I followed nicklloyd's intructions. Thanks nicklloyd!

    If anyone has any suggestions how I can do a better job please tell me! Thank you!
  15. PsychoScout


    Mar 18, 2008
    strange looking DB
  16. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Someone got lost again.
  17. haha finally got it! sorry about the blasphemy.
  18. Well, that's the story, isn't it! It's mystery wood under when there's opaque paint.

    What sort of treatment are you thinking of to deal with that?

    Cheers, and pls remember to update!
  19. Guillaume


    Mar 12, 2010
    HI all, I'm living in Montreal Canada, I need to buy CitrusStrip? do you know where I can find the product ? (my Email for direct answer: bouvetguillaume01@gmail.com)



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