Epi LP top refinish ....... maybe.

thampton

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I am keen to take on a new project (pushing my boundaries) and may have something in mind. I have an Epi LP Tribute in Black Cherry. I am not so keen on the finish.

I am contemplating refinishing just the top, probably to either a translucent amber or maybe even going a step further and doing a simple (??) burst.

My questions are –
Can I refinish the top in nitro (currently it’s all poly)? Can the 2 finishes coexist on different surfaces? I ask as I know some good suppliers of nitro sealers/colours/finishes etc.
Is anyone aware of how these are finished at the factory, i.e. is the maple top dyed or does the colour come from a coloured poly layer? It might be that removing all the colour from the maple could be a challenge.

Any and all responses welcome, even the ones that tell me to sell it and buy the vintage sunburst version.
 

PhilR

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You need to be very careful when stripping the poly from Epi tops. The maple is just a thin veneer and it's very easy to sand through it.
 

thampton

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You need to be very careful when stripping the poly from Epi tops. The maple is just a thin veneer and it's very easy to sand through it.

I believe the Tribute is a maple cap rather than veneer, but of course this would not negate the need for a steady hand! Cheers
 

andreww

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I believe the Tribute is a maple cap rather than veneer, but of course this would not negate the need for a steady hand! Cheers

Its a veneer over a maple cap. You would still have to preserve the veneer or gamble that what lays beneath it would be acceptable. The top is not dyed, just coloured layers of poly.
 

etzeppy

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I believe the Tribute is a maple cap rather than veneer, but of course this would not negate the need for a steady hand! Cheers
Is it a Tribute Plus or the older Tribute Standard? I'm pretty sure that all colors of the Tribute Plus feature a flame veneer over the maple cap. The older plain top Tribute could be a solid top. I'm not sure about that.
 

thampton

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Is it a Tribute Plus or the older Tribute Standard? I'm pretty sure that all colors of the Tribute Plus feature a flame veneer over the maple cap. The older plain top Tribute could be a solid top. I'm not sure about that.

It's a 1960 Tribute Plus. With a special Tribute veneer it seems :)
 

ARandall

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If I were you, I'd work on a different project. If it were a nitro LP that you didn't like the top on....well maybe it would be easier to get a good result. What I'm seeing is a lot of work, possibly resulting in a poorer quality finish and also perhaps losing the flame veneer into the process.
Poly is a bugger to remove, and you're going to have to go deep to get what you want - a new colour. Then you have to worry about the transition from new finish to old.....not only in how you remove the old finish but in seamlessly getting the new finish to mate in.

I would seriously look to buying a kit from precision. The upside here is that you'll end up with a foundation which will most likely blow the Epi away. Its actual mahogany and maple, as opposed to Poplar or Basswood (or whatever is under the back and front veneers).
You just glue the neck in with some titebond, and you're straight away into finishing. No compatibility issues and no transitions.
 

thampton

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If I were you, I'd work on a different project.....
Poly is a bugger to remove..... Then you have to worry about the transition from new finish to old.....

I would seriously look to buying a kit from precision.

Thanks for the honest appraisal. I will check out the kit idea. I have put a couple of Tele's together that were pre-finished, so perhaps a more natural next step.

Cheers
 

houston

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So in general, is refinishing a veneer-top guitar simply a huge risk? Not for a Tribute Plus specifically (which I considered myself, but decided against due to not getting on with the finish choices), but if you had, say, a veneered MIJ that you wanted to refinish.
 

ARandall

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One of very first projects was a refin on a Poly samick. I kept on thinking I'd got all the finish off, but there were more to go. Its so easy to just sand straight through the veneer.
 

houston

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One of very first projects was a refin on a Poly samick. I kept on thinking I'd got all the finish off, but there were more to go. Its so easy to just sand straight through the veneer.
So how did it go? Were you able to fully strip it and maintain the veneer?
 

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