For a while now I have had some Mexican Stratocaster parts lying around that I have made a 57 re-issue out of, I bought all of the parts separately off eBay.
The parts include a Mexican 57 Re-Issue maple neck with tuners, a Standard Mexican Sunburst three piece Alder body and a 57 parchment pick guard with 56 Custom shop pickups, including cloth wiring and CTS pots.
But, I have to admit that I never really liked the poly finish on both the neck and body, it felt like the whole guitar was literally dunked in a big tub of plastic, the coating felt so thick and fake, and it really made the guitar feel like a cheap budget instrument, so I decided I would have a go at removing the poly finish and repaint with a nitro cellolous laquer.
My decision to undertake this project was made entirely from a cosmetic view point, I actually didn’t mind the sound, although it did have a kinda thudding or a flat sound in comparison to a US 62 re-issue I have with a nitro finish on the body and neck, but to try and improve the tone of this guitar by undertaking this process was not really the motivating factor for doing this.
I made the decision to use the heat gun approach after reading tons of forum threads and some articles about repainting the Mexican Fenders, and it seemed like the quickest and easiest way to remove the poly coating.
I must admit though, that after going through the process, I would suggest that you only use this method on a body that you are prepared to damage or that you take extreme care during the process.
As you will see from the following images, there was some damage made to the wood during the initial stages of the process.
I started on the back, testing different methods as I went. First up I tried getting in under the poly , between the wood and the coating, trying to remove as much of the Poly as I could in large peices, this was a mistake.
I found that it became impossible to stop the scraper from digging into the wood. Where the arrows are pointing in the image above, the most damage was made during the entire process, I will more than likely have to use some filler to repair the damage before repainting.
Here’s a close-up of the worst of it.
I had to rethink the removal process after seeing that I was not getting the results I was after, So I started to scrape the poly from the top, this meant I had to heat the poly up a lot more. I was very conscious of not heating it too much though, I read a post that someone heated the body up so much that it caused the wood gluing the body together to unglue and end up in pieces, turning a three piece Alder body into three pieces of Alder.
You can see what I mean by scraping the poly from the top in the next pic. Where the arrow is you can see how I have not scraped down to the wood.
I found that doing it this way it took a bit longer than trying to remove larger pieces but the results were much better.
The sides took a far amount of care and in some spots were a bit tricky, but with a little persistence and patience I managed to get it done.
All up the whole process took a little over an hour and a half, a whole heap quicker than sanding, but unfortunately, the results were initially a bit rough.
The last remaining chunks of poly had to be removed with some wet and dry sand paper, and a little more heat with the heat gun. I found using the scraper was a little too hard to get into the curved parts of the horns without digging into the wood.
More pics to come on the sanding process.
In the mean time check out these Strat bodies on eBay and start your own Strat building Project…
Guitar Pick Necklace Pendant Fender Strat Body Photo
End Date: Saturday May-25-2013 8:24:18 PDT
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