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How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?

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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2017-04-15 1:24 AM (#533706)
Subject: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 9809

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Many of you know that I have the infamous Painted T...
It was originally a Black 2078T with dents in the paint.
I tried to paint it Reverse Red Burst with "Testors" Red Enamel.

Over time, the Red Enamel started to chip and flake off.
So I painted it again with Flat Black Spray Enamel. (I should have used "Gloss")

Now I want to try to remove all of that paint.

So, now to the questions.
What kind of paint is the Original Textured "T" finish.
Then the paints that I added are both Enamel.

So how would I go about removing all of that damage?
Without removing the bridge.
I am quite capable of disassembling the guitar down this far.


What would be the best way to remove that paint without damaging the wood underneath?
I don't really need to get it totally down to bare wood...
I won't be creating a Natural finish. I will probably lightly paint it again.
Cuz now there is three layers of paint on it, and that cannot be good.

I don't have a "shop" or a wreck room.
I do all of my work in my bedroom/living room.
Although I do all of my spray painting down in the Parking Garage "Bicycle Room".

Any advice from more experienced people would help.
(if I had asked for advice before I painted it Red we wouldn't be having this conversation)

Thank You
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-04-15 9:54 AM (#533707 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1457

Location: Lake Forest, CA
The easiest way to get the enamel off is to use dope thinner. (model airplane or aircraft supply shop such as Aircraft Spruce) You could try something like acetone, too.

As near as I can tell, the textured black paint, which is the same stuff as the bowl paint is polyester. That stuff will be quite a bit tougher to remove as it's a 2-part catalyzed finish. (2K)

To get 2K finish off electric guitars a lot of guys use a heat gun and a paint scraper to soften the finish, then get underneath it to separate it.

I would not use a heat gun on an acoustic to remove the finish as you're likely to warp/split the wood because the polyester finish will shrink with heat.

You could try something like Jasco Paint and Epoxy Remover, which some guys have used to strip finishes off electric wood necks, etc. But, the problem with a product like that is that it's likely to eat the plastic bindings and even the bowl itself, which is molded polyester resin.

I hate to say it, but the safest route to removing the 2K finish will probably be to use sandpaper. For the larger areas you could use a RO sander, but then you run the risk of splitting the center seam or popping braces loose on the inside due to vibration.
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2017-04-15 3:00 PM (#533711 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 9809

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Okay... Sandpaper, by hand.

There used to be a Model Aircraft and Model Train store up the street from me.
Unfortunately it is now closed. They would have had the dope and advice on how to use it.

When I become inspired I may try to sand that enamel off.
Even if I never get all the way to the wood, removing the extra paint that I added may have the desired effect.

When I compare the sound of the Painted T with my other T's I can tell that I did wrong by painting it.
I have two Sweet-T's (1778T and 2078T) and the Lusty Red T.

Of course, Plugged-in the Painted-T sounds like any other plugged-in Ovation.
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seesquare
Posted 2017-04-15 5:33 PM (#533713 - in reply to #533711)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?


Joined:
November 2002
Posts: 3119

Location: Pacific Northwest Inland Empire
Actually, I found the critters, with the thick polyester finish, to be essentially waterproof, so I just used 100-grit Wet-or-Dry paper (obviously, wet), and ground down the finish fairly rapidly. Granted, the instruments weren't irreplaceable, but worth the effort. A 1617, & a 1113, as I recall.
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-04-15 6:28 PM (#533715 - in reply to #533711)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1457

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Old Man Arthur - 2017-04-15 1:00 PM

Okay... Sandpaper, by hand.

There used to be a Model Aircraft and Model Train store up the street from me.
Unfortunately it is now closed. They would have had the dope and advice on how to use it.

When I become inspired I may try to sand that enamel off.
Even if I never get all the way to the wood, removing the extra paint that I added may have the desired effect.



Since dope is pretty much the same thing as lacquer, you could try lacquer thinner, too. Most big box hardware stores also carry Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) and that's guaranteed to take the enamel off. Dope thinner is actually a mixture of lacquer thinner and MEK, though I couldn't say in what proportion.

Yeah, unfortunately, brick & mortar model airplane businesses all over the country are closing down due to competition from the internet and China. I usually always try to support the local shops because it's nice to be able to pop on down to the store to get what I need rather than ordering it online.

Edited by DanSavage 2017-04-15 6:31 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2017-04-16 12:19 AM (#533717 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 373

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Man.. what an undertaking. If it were me, I'd take a deep artist's breath, count three, pray.. and then hit it with some 50 grit. All carefully in the same direction until the scratches from such a heavy grit paper just started going through the black and bringing up streaks of red. Once I got it where I liked the "distressed" look, I would hit it lightly with some 600 grit wet to take the peaks off of the scratch ridges, shoot that baby with some clear, and have a one-of-a-kind-looking.... thing. If anything, my curiosity as to how it would come out would probably be enough to spur me to do that. But that's just me.

It probably wouldn't make that much difference in the straight acoustic tone from what you have today, but maybe some. If it didn't look/sound right, then I would go with what the others are saying about using removal compounds and hope for the best. Heck, at that point you would only have one more layer (the clear) than you already have.
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arumako
Posted 2017-04-16 1:53 AM (#533718 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: RE: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 588

Location: Yokohama, Japan

WOW OMA! This is going to be quite a project. I hope you don't mind my pitching in. If I'm not mistaken, the MIC iDea guitars have the same enamel finish as your Elite. Sand paper will work fine; but you'll definitely want to do your work in your "Bicycle Room". Things will likely become a mess if you don't air out the work area and make sure the dust has some place to go...oh yeah, and wear a mask!

iDea

I used a B&D vibration sander and went all the way down to the wood; but having worked with this enamel finish a bit, I think your plan to sand the top down partially will work. If you sand the current finish down to a flat surface, then wet sand the rest, you should end up with a nice gloss black finish. IMHO, hand sanding will be way too much work, but I'd recommend a less intense vibration sander than the B&D - since your planning on keeping the bridge in place. Start with... maybe 100~120 grit and work your way up to 400, wet sand with 600~1200, then use some automotive polishing compound from 7 to 1 microns and you should get a really even shiny finish. If it doesn't come out perfectly glossy, you can always add a clear coat to brighten things up. Good luck and Happy Easter to ya.



Edited by arumako 2017-04-16 1:55 AM
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2017-04-16 2:10 AM (#533719 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 9809

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Thanks for the input.

In the meantime I just put EJ17 (.013 -.056) strings on the Painted T.
I figure that the heavier strings will move all of that paint around a bit.
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MarkM
Posted 2017-04-16 3:01 AM (#533720 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?


Joined:
September 2005
Posts: 75

Location: SF Bay area, California
I'm sure I've read that the textured bowl paint is Sherwin-Williams Polane-T, which is a 2 part polyurethane.

As I don't have a workshop, I've recently done some of my guitar maintenance on a park picnic table. I put down a yoga mat to be a soft surface.

M^2
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2017-04-16 1:53 PM (#533724 - in reply to #533720)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 9809

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
MarkM - 2017-04-16 1:01 AM

As I don't have a workshop, I've recently done some of my guitar maintenance on a park picnic table.

That is a Good Idea.
Especially when working with stinky chemicals.
Also with flying dust.
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Damon67
Posted 2017-04-17 2:35 AM (#533731 - in reply to #533715)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
December 2006
Posts: 6890

Location: Jet City

DanSavage - 2017-04-15 4:28 PM Since dope is pretty much the same thing as lacquer, you could try lacquer thinner, too. Most big box hardware stores also carry Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) and that's guaranteed to take the enamel off.

MEKP (Methyl Ethyle Keytone Peroxide) is what we used to use as a catalyst for polyester resin when doing fiberglass or gelcoat work back in my boatworking days.

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-04-17 11:44 AM (#533733 - in reply to #533731)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1457

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Yes. MEK is used as a precursor to manufacture MEKP.

I should add that MEK, like acetone should only be used in areas with good ventilation.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2017-04-20 1:06 AM (#533797 - in reply to #533706)
Subject: Re: How to remove the Paint from an Elite T top?



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 373

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Dan - "I should add that MEK, like acetone should only be used in areas with good ventilation."

Great stuff with many uses.. in fact, an ounce or two in 20 gallons of gas will drop most older vehicles' emission sniff numbers during a smog check (so will nitro methane), but geeze.. avoiding the fumes spoils half the fun of using it (the other half is watching it evaporate).
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