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Unread 05-24-2013, 10:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Hey guys, just a quick question. I have a 2012 Satin Cherry Mahoghany Les Paul Traditional that I took some Meguiers carnuba wax to awhile back to shine up the satin finish on the guitar.

It did a great job and I have no complaints with the look that was produced, just a nice light sheen. However I noticed that the guitar is awfully easy to mark up, i.e I can take my fingernail and make an indentation into the wood. It just doesn't seem right that the wood should be that "soft"?

So, after doing some research I have read that if you put wax on a guitar, which is not inherently bad, it doesn't allow the the finish on the guitar, in this case Nitro cellulose, to fully cure? Is there any merit to this? If so, is it safe for me to take Ronsonol Lighter Fuel (Contains Naptha, at least that is what the container I have says) do a real good rub down of the guitar to strip the wax off and then set the guitar in direct sunlight for awhile?

This guitar is mainly just played in my home, but it kinda annoys me that this guitar isn't a bit more resilient to "impact" per say....I mean, it doesn't seem right that with fingernail pressure I can mar up the body of the guitar or even chip away at it.



Overall shot of guitar.



Pic showing how soft the wood seems



Pic showing the fingernail indentation next to stopbar.

Any help, guidance, or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks again.

Last edited by Badgoat; 05-26-2013 at 07:05 AM.
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Unread 05-24-2013, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

The finish on the "satin" guitars is VERY thin....

I'm not sure how many coats, but it cant be more than a couple..

Its designed to wear off and look like a played guitar. (and be cheaper to produce... less finish, no polishing)

because the finish is so very thin, it provides almost no protection to the wood.

Mahogany is not the hardest of woods.. you can dent/ scratch it fairly easily with your fingernail!

I highly doubt there is anything wrong with your guitar or that the wax did anything to the lacquer!

they say not to wax your guitar / car n the first month or so because the guitar is still curing, and if you wax it, it will not be able to off gas, and may never harden and may even turn cloudy., but Gibby force cures their lacquer...


as far as the lighter fluid... Naptha will not hurt your finish... but i don't know if anything else is in lighter luid other than Naptha.. and Naptha itself can be various liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons that boil between 30 and 200 C!!!

VMP Naptha is what you want to use... and I only use the Kleen Strip stuff...

I recently bought a whole GALLON of CROWM VM&P naptha.. and it STINKS like old gasoline... i will not use it
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Unread 05-25-2013, 11:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

So to make sure I can go ahead and use this "Ronsonol w/ naptha" to take off the wax finish I put on the guitar to take it back to normal?

Or is there something else I should buy at Lowes or something?

Or should I just keep the wax finish on and keep building up layers to make the body a bit more resilient?
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Unread 05-26-2013, 10:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Ronsonol and Zippo lighter fluids are safe for any guitar finish I know of. But, if a guitar is French Polished, naptha should be wiped away gently with very fine cut(half-pound) shellac before more actual finishing.
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Unread 05-26-2013, 01:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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But, if a guitar is French Polished, naptha should be wiped away gently with very fine cut(half-pound) shellac before more actual finishing.
Why is that? What are the consequences of skipping this step?
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Unread 05-26-2013, 09:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Because, naptha will cause problems if it remains in a place where a re-application is needed. Like nitro lacquer, shellac remelts the standing coat- it amalgamates. If you have an FP guitar that has seen naptha, the very light cut lets the alcohol clean off naptha residue but not strip the surface.

I edited to say an FP guitar that has seen "nitro" to "naptha" but it does not change the nature of the caution. I never cease to wonder at the internet. In over 60 years of messin' with so many guild skills and specialty shop(wood and metal) work, well some I got good at-- some I still barely limp through. But so many questions I pondered with no one to "talk" to and now I get to talk to everyone everywhere.

I never stop thanking my internet pals who tolerate my story way of teaching-sometimes it is a laugh and sometimes embarrassment, a failure or success that stores these experiences in my mind- even a tear at times. I want my stories to help you recall if I have given help- even if it is "that goofy old fart Lefty" that etches it in your memory.
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Last edited by Ole'Lefty; 05-27-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Unread 05-26-2013, 11:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

That makes sense. Thanks.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 09:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

One post up I did a correction that did not materially change the result-- and a thanks to all of you.

I know my wanderings can be frustrating at times-especially to the younger members who are used to the 140 character limits and nearly absence of required exposure to books. This past December my daughter and her Mom stunned me with the information that youngsters are taught a signature but no further cursive writing. I should be joyful because as a lefty in the 50's in school, teachers tortured me with remedial extra handwriting; even trying to switch me. Still, I am amazed at what I've lived to see. And the modern youth here have taught me so much.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 09:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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Originally Posted by Ole'Lefty View Post
One post up I did a correction that did not materially change the result-- and a thanks to all of you.

I know my wanderings can be frustrating at times-especially to the younger members who are used to the 140 character limits and nearly absence of required exposure to books. This past December my daughter and her Mom stunned me with the information that youngsters are taught a signature but no further cursive writing. I should be joyful because as a lefty in the 50's in school, teachers tortured me with remedial extra handwriting; even trying to switch me. Still, I am amazed at what I've lived to see. And the modern youth here have taught me so much.
I for one enjoy reading stories and anecdotes. It helps make connection with a person.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 11:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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I know my wanderings can be frustrating at times-especially to the younger members who are used to the 140 character limits and nearly absence of required exposure to books.
I LOVE your ramblings. You don't know this, but your advice, along with advice from Freddy and Murkar, have saved my guitar AND made me some money (albeit not much) from a drum refinish done almost exclusively on advice from you guys. PLEASE DON'T STOP RAMBLING.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 11:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

I doubt the wax has anything to do with what you mentioned.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 08:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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Originally Posted by Ole'Lefty View Post
I should be joyful because as a lefty in the 50's in school, teachers tortured me with remedial extra handwriting; even trying to switch me.
I feel ya on that one. It was a few decades later, but the mentality of the teachers is still the same. I was basically forced to learn to write, and do most things, right handed. Then reteach myself left handed. I was able to write with either hand equally there for a while (yes, even cursive)
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Unread 05-27-2013, 08:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Ronsonol is the cleaner of choice here for anything that water or saliva won't remove.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 09:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Interesting. I have used Naphtha on some 1920's varnish finish guitars and it didn't do much of anything.

I don't think it has a lot of cleaning power, I still have it and try it on stuff but for the most part I think it's bloody useless.

On this particular guitar, try some Virtuoso cleaner to get rid of the previous pollish/gunk/stuff. Wax and polish don't go anywhere near my guitars. Virtuoso to remove the mistakes of previous owners. Less is more... guitars get old and a little bit dirty.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 07:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Thank you everyone for your input and help. It is much appreciated.
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Unread 06-01-2013, 11:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Nitrocellulose paint does not cure; it dries.
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Unread 06-01-2013, 11:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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Nitrocellulose paint does not cure; it dries.
All paints cure. Drying a short-term process, curing is long-term.
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Unread 06-01-2013, 11:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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All paints cure. Drying a short-term process, curing is long-term.
No, you should talk to someone who knows his nitrocellulose paints. Curing and drying are two different processes altogether.

Nitrocellulose paints do not cure. They dry.

Last edited by Jabberwocky; 06-02-2013 at 09:14 AM.
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Unread 06-02-2013, 06:53 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

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No, you should talk to someone who knows his nitrocellulose paints. Curing and drying are two different concepts altogether.

Nitrocellulose paints do not cure. They dry.
OK. I bow to your superior wisdom.

What was the point of this, besides pedantry?
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Unread 06-02-2013, 09:31 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Atomic explains it better than I can: Does nitrocellulose lacquer ever "firm up" completely? .
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Unread 06-02-2013, 10:45 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Ronsonol Lighter Fluid (Contains Naptha) for cleaning?

Now that you've mentioned how "cure" is different than "dry" in a pedantic sense (it's in an application sense, in that the product will be useably dry LONG before the process is complete, with a secondary time frame to wait before you can do things that are a bit rougher to them), but what I was asking is how this is meaningful or relevant to the current conversation. Were you simply pointing out that the nitro will often still be soft after that second timeframe?
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