How to remove black overpaint from 1973 Gold top

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Innes McCartney, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Innes McCartney

    Innes McCartney Junior Member

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    HI Everyone

    I have owned the guitar for a while knowing it was originally a gold top. The overpaint looks like a thick, possibly acrylic paint layer.
    I found a spot to pick away some of the black, which seems to come apart from the gold, so I am wondering how to get the all black off without ruining the original gold top.
    Grateful for any advice
    Thanks
     
  2. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    Start with something mild like naphtha.
    It might soften the paint enough to carefully pick/scrape it off.
    It's very mild and no amount of it will hurt nitro.
    It's tricky!
    I know there are water-based strippers that aren't very powerful, and ones that are intended to strip only one layer of paint.
    I did use one of these once on a really clapped-out old Danelectro that I think was painted with Schwinn bicycle paint with a brush, or something.
    It did, in fact, do very little damage to the 2nd layer of paint, but it was also not critical because the guitar was such a beater, so I wouldn't swear by it.
    Heat gun may work, too.
     
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  3. shickma0

    shickma0 Member

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    If it’s acrylic, while not technically water solluable you should be able to get it to loosen by soaking it with a rag soaked in warm soapy water, which, assuming there is a complete coat of nitro underneath, should not affect the wood. Then you can peel it off. If you research online you may find that rubbing/isopropyl alcohol effectively removes acrylic paint from wood but DO NOT USE IT as it will react with and destroy the nitro underneath. Even if it’s polyurethane, there is a chance it may fog up if you leave alcohol on for any extended length of time. If it’s a poly finish underneath the acrylic, you should be good to just go at it with naphtha, but someone else here may know an alternative method. If you do you naphtha be sure to wear a respirator of some sort as the fumes released are toxic to humans.
     
  4. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    If it was poly underneath, you could use acetone!
    But it's a '73 GT...not poly.
     
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  5. slug_maine

    slug_maine Senior Member

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    This reminds me of people that put carpet over a hardwood floor. Hope it goes well, keep us posted. There might be a gem of a goldtop under there that somebody just had to fix because of checking and play wear.

    :facepalm:
     
  6. judson

    judson Senior Member

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    just the top got the black?

    maybe remove the pickup rings and gently try under there first or a small spot under the selector switch plastic..

    i love acetone but it will take the hardest paint off anything and keeps eating anthing in its path until it hits wood......BUT DO NOT USE ACETONE FOR THAT !!!!!!!!!!

    :photos:required

     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  7. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

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    If the black seems to be poorly adhered to the gold, that is good. I would try a hair dryer (not a heat gun, too hot IMO) and see if the warmed black will peel off. The two different finish materials should expand at different rates and hopefully break the mechanical bond keeping them together.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  8. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    I'd suggest sanding it off with nothing less than 1000 grit sandpaper. Even finer would be better but of course it's slower as well.

    Salvaging an old finish that's been painted over is an excercise in restraint, caution, and patience.
     
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  9. Norton

    Norton Senior Member

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    That’s Wisdom.
     
  10. Innes McCartney

    Innes McCartney Junior Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the advice..
    Having tried a few different ways, the sanding route looks to be the one giving the best results.
    Once I have all the black paint off, I guess its 2500 until smooth and then a light buff.
    I suspect that most of the lacquer was removed prior to it being painted black. I dont want to refinish it, so are they any other options, such as wax etc which give an aged-looking shine to it?
    thanks again
     
  11. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    Yes, it's called buffing compound. Fine grade. Sometimes called polishing compound. Get a bottle of Meguiar's M205 and some microfiber cloths and get busy polishing by hand. This won't take that long and is as gentle to the finish as anything can be and still get results.
     
  12. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    :photos:

    Pics or shens. :hippie:
     
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