I have read through the few posts here on re-finishing and specifically stripping plywoods. I have an ES9. I really like the feel of the bass, and I have spent enough time and money on set up and string combinations to get it to be a very serviceable instrument, both in my opinion (which ultimately matters) and in the opinion of a few other guys who have played it. Anyway. I have decided that I want to strip it of the polygoo that is on it now. Unlike others who have done this, I have only clear poly to strip. There is no nasty orange color on it. It was basically sprayed with poly straight over the white. I plan on just using the least caustic chemical stripper that will do the job. Also, unlike some others, the wood on this bass, despite being a plywood, it very attractive. The side and back have a very attractive flame. I want to preserve the transparency so that flame is featured, but at the same time make the bass look more conservative and less of whatever you want to call it now. Much of the discussion here involves tru-oil and other rub on stuff. I suppose this could be rubbed on after staining the bass, but from my research most real luthiers feel, and it makes sense to me, that the color should be in the finish, not the wood. I have found several recipes for violin varnish as well as a few premixed offerings labeled as such. Excluding the oil-based varieties, most seemed to be shellac in denatured alcohol with various additives like gum of this and gum of that for hardening and softening. Boil for X and let sit for y. I know this craft has been developed over centuries and these ingredients and the alchemy have some great advantages. I am just not aware of what those advantages are. I have done shellac before on furniture with pretty good results. My thoughts were to simply wash on 1# cut coats one after another using whatever combination of yellow, orange and garnet that I was able to work out as likable. I have done this before on a raw desk and just worked out the finish with steele wool every few coats. I was very happy with the results. I don't mind taking the several days it takes to build up a nice, protective finish. But I would try the recipe and the extras if the advantage is worth it on an Engelhardt. Remember, my goal is get the base fairly dark but with transparency to allow the flame to be featured. And get the best tonal response possible all things considered.