Love The Guitar, Want To Strip The Finnish!

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by Dave Pratt, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Dave Pratt

    Dave Pratt New Member

    Dec 3, 2018
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    I have an Epiphone 500 CCE (cedar top) Masterbuilt. Perfect except the top finish is horrible! Can I strip it and go mostly bare wood?

  2. Cagey

    Cagey New Member

    Feb 5, 2016
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    Southeast Michigan
    Finish work is not trivial, so if you don't know if you can do what your asking, I'd wonder if you could finish the job satisfactorily once started.

    That being presumptuously said, it's probably not a good idea to have a bare wood top. The wood needs a nominal amount of protection or it won't last. It'll wear quickly, stain easily, react to environment more readily, etc.
    Glen K. Peterson likes this.
  3. Glen K. Peterson

    Glen K. Peterson New Member

    Apr 23, 2020
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    Finishing is its own specialty. My own experience is that it's a cycle of: apply finish, repair issues, repeat, until the issues are small enough that I don't think I can get them any better. Refinishing the entire top of an acoustic guitar is particularly hard because the bridge and neck are in the way. It's flat enough that every speck of dust shows, but too curved to be friendly to a sanding block. It's incredibly thin and soft wood, so it's easy to weaken it by over-sanding. It's the most visible part of the instrument, so you can't help looking at it. If it had a somewhat opaque finish on it (like a sunburst or brown-burst), it may be hiding someone else's finishing or workmanship mistakes.

    How is the finish terrible? Is it that you don't like the color, or that it's flaking off, or crazed? A picture of the damage would really help.

    How much is it worth? If it's less than $500 and you aren't worried about resale, and you have a relatively dust-free, yet ventilated, humidity-controlled spray-booth, you can probably scrape and sand off the old finish and spray a clear blond coat over it "for fun." Or you can brush and sand multiple coats in less ideal conditions. If you're concerned about resale or historical value and you don't have a lot of finishing experience, I wouldn't touch it.

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