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Thread: Refinishing an SE advice.

  1. #1
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    Refinishing an SE advice.

    I have a 2012 SE C24 in tobacco sunburst and I love everything about that guitar... Except the fade. I just don't dig it, and I'm not a fan of thick poly finishes, so I want to strip that poly off and either give it an oil finish or a nitro, but that's after I figure out how to strip his without damaging the instrument. I have a lot of experience with woodworking, but not with refinishing, except for an ibanez that I stripped down (and ended up burning some of the wood with a heat gun). I have a few questions:

    A: the ibanez' binding was plastic and got completely destroyed with the heat gun, PRS has natural binding which is essentially the maple cap, correct?

    B: would I have to worry about heat and the maple veneer?

    I do not want to send it to PTC, I like doing my own projects and advancing my knowledge and skills. Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    The veneer is thin so the chance of sanding it down enough to remove the color and mainintaing it would be very difficult. My suggestion if you do not want to go opaqaue is to remove the veneer completely and hope you have some OK figured maple under there.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member CJM3175's Avatar
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    Go for it! Yes the maple cap is the binding you see, and yes you will lose your veneer (most likely) during the strip proccess. I have some gorgeous quilt maple veneer just lying around if you are interested in reapplying some after you strip it. All I ask is that you pay for the shipping and provide pictures of your finished product. Let me know if you are interested...

  4. #4
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member toothace's Avatar
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    I used Tuff-Strip by Crown to get the finish off my Santana SE. The can says 15 minutes, but the SE finish is so thick I let it sit for hours...most of the day if I remember, and reapplied where it dried during the day. Good luck, and let's see some progress pics!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I would try sanding the top burst off with an orbital sander and the switch to hand sanding around the edges of the binding. There's quite a bit of poly on there and then the base stain has another layer of sealer on top of that, so you don't have to be mega-careful with burning through the veneer unless you're trying to get to bare wood.

  7. #7
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    Toothace do you have pics of your Santana? I picked up this really heavy duty aircraft stripper from work today that I'm debating on trying this weekend, if I can work the nerve up.

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    Chemical stripping is the only way to go. As toothache says, it'll take a while, and you need to keep reapplying it to keep it wet, but when you do, after a while it'll soften enough that you can scrape the finish off with a butter knife. Just don't get it on your skin and keep it away from any plastics like side dots and inlays etc. I've done this more than once, and even 1/16" poly finish just peels off leaving the wood intact.

  9. #9
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    Hopefully PRS didn't put similar stuff to what that Ibanez I refinished had, that was the worst stuff ever, it took a heat gun on max and a lot of patience, stripper just sat there. I'll try this stuff tomorrow, I hope this works out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member toothace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyekim View Post
    Toothace do you have pics of your Santana? I picked up this really heavy duty aircraft stripper from work today that I'm debating on trying this weekend, if I can work the nerve up.

    See the thread "SE neck repair" ...there are some pictures there, including an inlay that got melted as ADP mentioned. The guitar is now primed and in the hands of the finishing artist (my daughter), who for the last two months has told me she's gonna start on it...LOL. If you want more pictures I can message them to you...LMK.

  11. #11
    Member Duffy's Avatar
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    Although refinishing this guitar might turn out great, I, personally, would leave it alone and accept the guitar for what it is.

    I'm sure it has a specialized finish that was been applied with a step by step technique in order for it to result in the beautiful (to some) final product.

    You may not be enthusiastic about the finish, but you are talking about a major project, to decently reduce the finish, and possibly veneer, to zero. You will be working very close to other parts of the guitar - neck, etc. and will be passing over more than one glue joint. I would not want residual chemical stripper gradually working its way into the glue joints, spelling possible future problems.

    I would probably choose "mechanical" removal of the finish over the chemical short cut, but personally I would accept the factory finish and try to eventually develop a fondness for it.

    After stripping and refinishing it, there could be significant difficulty getting a super hard final finish on the guitar, short of just oiling the wood and buffing it - which might look good and then again it might not.

    I advise thinking it over, in a final analysis, before jumping into this chemical stripping process and all of the unknowns that will immediately begin to become knowns - some to your liking and others not. Sometimes knowledge teaches us aspects of things that we end up thinking that we were better off not knowing.

    If you decide to go forward with this project (no small endeavor), I wish you all the best and hope that you find a very satisfying final product when you are finally finished. Going forward with this endeavor I'm sure that you will learn a great deal about an area for which you have not yet developed a substantial body of expertise. It could be a great learning experience; however, that is a beautiful guitar to practice on, needless to say.

    Best wishes in whatever direction you decide to go.
    Last edited by Duffy; 08-09-2014 at 05:55 AM.
    "Now all the things that use to mean so much to me has got me old before my time." G. Allman, "Old Before My Time", Hittin' The Note cd.

  12. #12
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    Ok so I started with the heat gun in a small spot that's under the bridge and immediately stopped, it was too messy and the veneer seemed to react, so I applied the stripper, scraped, applied it again and the fade/topcoat is gone, just need to get that damned sealer off... Once I upload the images to photobucket I'll put em on here for you guys to see!

  13. #13
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]

  14. #14
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I'd clean it up and just clear that sucker!

  15. #15
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    I would, except where I used the heat gun the finish went all the way down to the veneer and chipped a small piece off, I think I want to sand the sealer off and give it a good oil rub.

  16. #16
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    It also looks like the veneer is in bad shape where that happened as of my latest strip attempt, it's starting to
    bubble.

  17. #17
    Member Duffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyekim View Post
    It also looks like the veneer is in bad shape where that happened as of my latest strip attempt, it's starting to
    bubble.
    What is your plan now? A solid color paint finish? A goldtop could possibly be very cool. Have you discovered what it looks like under the veneer yet? That could be interesting and something to work with.

    What are your ideas at this point?

    Good luck with it.
    "Now all the things that use to mean so much to me has got me old before my time." G. Allman, "Old Before My Time", Hittin' The Note cd.

  18. #18
    Senior Member toothace's Avatar
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    Sand it and maybe a custom finish? Anyone you know with artistic ability?

  19. #19
    Junior Member mikeyekim's Avatar
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    The spot that's messed up is between the bridge and pickup, I squared that part off and cut the veneer out. The rest just looks so good that I really don't want to cover it up or get rid of it all! So I'm debating on covering the 1/2 inch between the bridge and pickup with something, maybe faux leather? Burlap cloth? Idk, just something that doesn't pop out but if you noticed it you wouldn't think it was too ridiculous

  20. #20
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    Put a Roland GK-3 pickup in there.

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