Stripping a guitar. thick clear factory seal coat under the paint is hard as nails!! Is it 2K poly?

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Forum topic by CanofWorms2 posted 04-17-2021 04:51 PM 719 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CanofWorms2's profile


15 posts in 1443 days

04-17-2021 04:51 PM

Stripping a chinese electric guitar… Squier or Ibanez.
I’ve been down this road once before and it was hell.
The outer layer of paint comes off pretty easily with a heat gun, but the thick clear seal coat underneath is hard as nails. thick clear factory seal coat under the paint is hard as nails!!!
A heat gun will basically burn the wood underneath before it loosen the seal coat.
Sanding is tough because electric sanders basically dulls. the paper within a minute. I know that sounds stupid, but after a minute the only part of the guitar getting sanded is the exposed wood parts.
The seal coat just laughs at you.
Then there’s acetone… NOPE.
Airplane stripper after 30 minutes ever so slightly softens the very surface enough to scrathc it with a steel brush, but not more.
Citristrip… HAHAHAHAHA!!!

So I am left with hand sanding at 180 grit and cleaning the paper every 30 seconds.

5 replies so far

View Axis39's profile


482 posts in 678 days

#1 posted 04-17-2021 05:23 PM

I have a feeling it’s probably some kind of epoxy….

Used to be Fullerplast, back in the Fender factory.

I’d go a really coarse paper on a random orbit, myself (but I tend to be lazy and reach for bigger hammers every time).

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4446 posts in 2576 days

#2 posted 04-17-2021 05:56 PM

Any catalyzed finish coating is not going to be easy to remove, epoxy, polyurethane, CV, etc.

Chemical removal with chemicals available by homeowner is impossible. If you used a professional heated dip tank with chemical strong enough to remove coating, the glue holding the wood together would disintegrate.

If having issues with abrasive removal:
- use largest grit possible (40-80) to break the shiny surface layer, then move one step higher for removal.
- Use a ceramic or zirconium abrasive. Many hard/tough coating mfg add aluminum oxide as filler to improve durability and abrasion resistance of coatings (standard filler in floor coatings). Even with premium aluminum oxide sand paper, the filler ruins sandpaper quickly.
- Use of a mesh disc for sanding with vacuum dust removal will prevent glazing and increase longevity. MIRKA and Norton sell ceramic abrasive mesh disks designed for ‘hardened’ finish removal.
- Use lots of patience. :(

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View darthford's profile


703 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 04-17-2021 07:20 PM

Wouldn’t it be easier/cheaper to just purchase a guitar body from Warmoth or Stewmac?

View jacww's profile


81 posts in 2089 days

#4 posted 04-17-2021 08:48 PM

Look up DuraGRIT. They make carbide sanding disks that fit most random orbital sanders. They have 46, 60, and 80 grit. I’ve never used them but read about them on Stumpy Nubs site.


View CanofWorms2's profile


15 posts in 1443 days

#5 posted 04-19-2021 03:56 PM

Wouldn t it be easier/cheaper to just purchase a guitar body from Warmoth or Stewmac?

- darthford

This is my favorite guitar. A cheapo Ibanez that I tweaked and love to play.
I wanted to do it justice and remove the terrible paint on it and letting the grain show.

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