Stripping a poly finish?


Epic Member
What's the best advice of those on this board for stripping the poly finish from the top of a LP body? Body is mahoghany with a flame maple laminate top, has a top binding and a botched sunburst....
Sure its poly?

Nearly (but not quite all) Gibson LPs are nitro.  But you know that I'm sure....

The only way I know of that seems to do well is a small diameter hot air gun, and scraper.  until you get close to the binding, then its scrapers (curved) and sanding... to try and save the binding.  Even then its gonna be iffy.
Not a Gibson; neck thru body I ordered from Hong Kong on eBay to experiment with:


Got it for $257 to include a cheapish hard shell case and shipping on a REAL slow boat fro China. It's surprisingly good quality, pretty much equal to one of those $499 Epiphone LPs at GuitarCenter. The only really odd thing about it is that the predrilled tuner holes are smaller than any tuner known to man,  just checked with drill bit set and they're 9/32". Wood appears to be a darkish mahoghany in rear routes where there's little overspray and carved flame top measures 9/16" thick measured at bottom of bridge PU cavity. Relatively light, a little more than 5 lbs.

Want to strip the top and maybe try a black dye job on the flame. It IS a poly finish and judging by the overspray in the PU routes its' pretty heavily applied. Haven't bought a hot air gun, sounds more desirable than Stripeze or something. Maybe in the a.m. I'll try the 1800 psi power washer???
Keep in mind, the Epiphones... many times... are not solid tops

Most that I've seen are pressure fit veneer on top of some "other wood".

That goes for LPs and SG styles.  If you look real close, you can see that on their SG's, while the LPs have binding... and its more or less hidden unless you look close in the pickup routes.

Telling you this so you dont "sand thru"... and we dont know how your guitar is made.

It very well could be made in the same place that the old Epis were made before Gibson set up shop over there.  Trying to remember the name... can't right off top of my head.

You know, this is gonna be a mother to make look nice.  Its going to be very difficult to strip and have the edges at the neck and body binding look good.
wait... the tuner HOLES are 9/32?  Thats really weird.  Sounds like 7mm bushing holes to me, but I thought ... ah nevermind, we're talkin' China here, anything is possible.

That would probably be 5mm tuner shafts in 7mm bushings.

You can ream (not drill) to 10mm and use most tuners.  Or if a reamers not on hand, plug the holes with a tight fitting plug, and then you can drill 'em to 10mm.  I always hate to enlarge an existing hole by only a little bit... just about guaranteed rip out.
I don't have metric bits, 9/32" is the first bit that will go through the predrilled holes.

There does not appear to be any veneer at all on the carved top, if you look in the bridge routes there's maple grain going all the way up to the edge of the route and no discernable veneer line.

Have a set of black Gotoh SG38's and reaming tools so no issue there, maybe I'll just put it all together and make sure it sounds good enough to warrant refinishing. Have all black hardware, will look like this w/o refinishing, dunno, maybe I need to get different PUs and BFG it like all you cool kids are getting into.....


Company name is "Eden" they sell on eBay through seller store "Vermont Guitars". The goldish finish poly neck on the Tele Deluxe posted on the Tele gallery came from them; the ash/alder Strat/Tele bodies are wonderful for practicing/experimenting with finishing techniques, wouldn't use them on a real build.
Take some lacquer thinner and put a small amount in the pickup route,  if the finish is lacquer it will get soft real fast.  If it is poly and I'm sure your correct that it is try Eldorado Solutions.

Eldorado Solutions makes the only stripper that I have seen work on 2 part poly finishes.  I had their rep demo the stuff to my sales staff and it does every thing they say it will.  He started the demo by poring it into his hand and talking for a minute about how it works then he put it on a steel plate with a 2 component epoxy.  After about 45 minutes he wiped off the paint with his finger.  They are the main supplier to the aircraft industy for stripping planes.

Does it work on wood?  Yes.
Is it fast?  No it has to sit for a while to be effective.
Is it safe?  Ever pour stripper in your hand? 

It should be very easy to control. Double tape the side and back off. Double tape the binding and as soon as you brush a heavy coat on pull the top layer of tape off.  Let it sit and do it's magic. 

Do a search for Eldorado Solutions and read up on it.  They have a contact number and they can help you find someone in your area that carries it.

PS You should be able to tell how thick the veneer is on the top by looking at the edge of the P/U route.
Thanks for the tip, Tonar, as I'm not in the league of  "It is recommended for use in Petrochemical Plants and Nuclear Facilities" do you know which product is most applicable? The 3031? Is that what they demo'ed you? I'm sure I'm not the only person on the board that will be checking this out.....
The 3031 is the correct product.  I spoke to the salesman from Eldorado to confirm that it was correct for your application and your good with the 3031.

He said you will be ok brushing it on but that you need to get it on fairly thick.  I would recomend you load it up pretty good, almost like your poring it on.

Follow the directions on the product information sheet from the websight or with the can.  It will  rise the grain of the wood a little since it is a waterbase stripper so you will have to do some light sanding.  I still like to give all the stuff I strip a final wash with Acetone befroe I do the final sand and get ready to refinish.
Hmmmmmm, have to do some hard thinking about kissing the binding goodbye.... You mean you think it will lift up even if masked off?
Hot air is dangerous.  Chemical is suicidal for bindings (or dots/inlays on maple necks).

I think Frank Ford has something on it at  but the StewMac book "Fretwork" shows a maple neck that somebody "stripped".  It was a Fender modern finish neck.  Chemical strippers eat dots, inlay, binding... like a bandsaw thru balsa.

The binding will be fine if you are careful and follow the directions on the product.  That is why you double tape it.  Pull the top layer of tape off after you apply the remover it will be fine.  CB is correct, do not put strippers on binding but binding can be protected.  

Before.  Notice I scraped the binding to check how far I needed to tape in to protect the binding.  I scraped what little finish was left after it was stripped.  





So if this Eldorado stripper is waterbased does that mean it can be shipped by air?

Yes it can be shipped by Air.  Call Eldorado at 800-531-1088 and find the closest distributor to you and have them ship it.   The list price on it is $61.88 per gallon so you have an idea of the price range.
Tonar8353 said:
So if this Eldorado stripper is waterbased does that mean it can be shipped by air?

Yes it can be shipped by Air.  Call Eldorado at 800-531-1088 and find the closest distributor to you and have them ship it.  The list price on it is $61.88 per gallon so you have an idea of the price range.

Do they have a website? I don't think I can call a 1-800 number from Taiwan...