Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Anthony_JB

I want to sand my Casino.

Recommended Posts

Hey everybody. Now, some of you might be shaking you're head when reading this but I want to sand my Casino and refinish it in nitro with a ES330-esque cherryburst finish. Kinda like this.

es330_1964_01.jpg

 

 

How exactly should I go about this. Oh and before you all tell me to forget about it. I just want you all to know that I've tried getting this done professionally but the price was just ridiculous. I want to do it myself and I just want some feedback and maybe a little bit of advice from some of the guitar techs in our forum.

 

And as always, your advice is always appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First thing you need to do is work out which method you will use to remove the poly finish as sanding is not the way to go. Then you have to decide what you will use to refinish it, I would go with nitro. You need to practice on some spare wood first, a burst finish is quite hard to execute. The clear coat needs to be applied expertly too, nitro will need a few weeks to cure before you sand it and polish it.

 

There are lots of things to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nitrocellulose lacquer is incredibly nasty to spray. The fumes will kill you dead (OK, exaggeration but really nasty!) if you don't have the right rig, and there are probably pretty severe restrictions on spraying and venting in your neighborhood. There's a reason why it costs an arm and a leg to get done professionally. It is also quite difficult to execute a really good sunburst. So maybe not "don't do it!", but be sure you really want to do it, because if it's your first time trying it will almost certainly look like an amateur job and it's pretty expensive to get the gear necessary to do it right. The first step would be getting and reading Dan Erlewine's book from Stew Mac on guitar finishing -

 

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Books,_plans/Building_and_repair:_Finishing/Guitar_Finishing_Step-By-Step.html

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to tell you not to do it.

 

But I reckon it might be worth spending a few dollars on a beat-up junk-shop guitar and practicing a bit first, before you turn yourself loose on your Casino.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll just tell you not to do it.

You know why it'll cost so damn much? Cause it's very hard to near impossible to do. You can't use heat or you'll de-laminate the body, and no chemical stripper will eat off the poly while leaving the wood and glue.

That leaves us with VERY careful hand sanding. The face veneer of the guitar is extremely thin, 1/32 or less in most cases. This leaves you very little room for over sanding without ruining the face of the guitar. This is a whole boatload of problems before we even get to applying the new finish. And not to mention the cost of the kit you'll need. Do you have a large compressor, a siphon feed spray gun and a jar for every color you'll be doing? A good dryer for the compressor? A clean room to spray in and allow the guitar to cure in? A large selection of lacquers, an arbor buffer and polishing compounds and a large selection of bonnets? If you have to equip yourself with this stuff it will be cheaper just to buy the guitar you want, unless you just want to get into refinishing. In which case you'll need about $2500, a couple practice guitars, and a few months of research and practice before thinking of tackling a real guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll just tell you not to do it.

You know why it'll cost so damn much? Cause it's very hard to near impossible to do. You can't use heat or you'll de-laminate the body' date=' and no chemical stripper will eat off the poly while leaving the wood and glue.

That leaves us with VERY careful hand sanding. The face veneer of the guitar is extremely thin, 1/32 or less in most cases. This leaves you very little room for over sanding without ruining the face of the guitar. This is a whole boatload of problems before we even get to applying the new finish. And not to mention the cost of the kit you'll need. Do you have a large compressor, a siphon feed spray gun and a jar for every color you'll be doing? A good dryer for the compressor? A clean room to spray in and allow the guitar to cure in? A large selection of lacquers, an arbor buffer and polishing compounds and a large selection of bonnets? If you have to equip yourself with this stuff it will be cheaper just to buy the guitar you want, unless you just want to get into refinishing. In which case you'll need about $2500, a couple practice guitars, and a few months of research and practice before thinking of tackling a real guitar.[/quote']

 

This sounds to me like the voice of experience, or someone who at least knows what he's talking about.

 

Anthony JB, it sounds like good news! If it's going to cost you $2500 for all the gear, you can probably pick up an ES-330 for around the same price and save yourself a tonne of effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me put it this way, I made NO major tool purchases this year and still managed to spend $2000 on little odds and ends for the shop. All just for working on guitars, and that's just the stuff I replaced, consumed, or fixed, I actually added very little if anything. A few new files here, fix a broken vise there, a couple light fixtures, glue, it adds up. I probably have more money tied up in tools for the trade than most have in guitars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll just tell you not to do it.

You know why it'll cost so damn much? Cause it's very hard to near impossible to do. You can't use heat or you'll de-laminate the body' date=' and no chemical stripper will eat off the poly while leaving the wood and glue.

That leaves us with VERY careful hand sanding. The face veneer of the guitar is extremely thin, 1/32 or less in most cases. This leaves you very little room for over sanding without ruining the face of the guitar. This is a whole boatload of problems before we even get to applying the new finish. And not to mention the cost of the kit you'll need. Do you have a large compressor, a siphon feed spray gun and a jar for every color you'll be doing? A good dryer for the compressor? A clean room to spray in and allow the guitar to cure in? A large selection of lacquers, an arbor buffer and polishing compounds and a large selection of bonnets? If you have to equip yourself with this stuff it will be cheaper just to buy the guitar you want, unless you just want to get into refinishing. In which case you'll need about $2500, a couple practice guitars, and a few months of research and practice before thinking of tackling a real guitar.[/quote']

 

Wow!

 

If we had an 'Advice of the Month' award, I think you can safely say that this would pretty much do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Musikron's right. I'm just trying to get a decent solid black lacquer finish on one of my project guitars and I'm on my third try. Sunburst? Maybe after I've done several more guitars. BTW, I've got my basement workshop mechanically vented (NOT explosion proof!) and a respirator. I don't even try to use it when the house HVAC is on or it stinks up the whole place. Nasty, nasty stuff, really need a physically separate commercial facility, heavy duty spray gear, permits, etc. And don't forget it takes about a month of dry weather for nitro to harden enough to sand between coats. It would be cheaper and way less hassle to sell your current guit and buy the one you want. You'll probably live a few years longer too.

 

PS: Here's some photos of Casino laminate. It's pretty thin stuff, easy to sand through....

 

P1020504.jpg

P1020472.jpg

P1020482800x400.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ugh! Damn me being so young and foolish.

 

I am going to attempt it. Not anytime soon, maybe within the next two or three months.

 

I've got a Stratocaster project I'm starting which is gonna be my trial run to see if I can paint a decent sunburst. It's a Squier that I got when I was 11, so I'm gonna run with it and start using it as a test bed.

 

 

Brian I sent you a PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's your guitar and no-one can stop you, but Musikron is spot on.

 

Actually, I found getting a sunburst finish quite easy on the second attempt, but I'd sprayed 7 or 8 guitars with solid finishes before, so my spraying technique was reasonable.

 

The bit that I absolutely guarantee you'll screw up is getting the poly off without sanding through bits of the veneer, leaving patches of different wood showing through. You have to sand quite hard / long to get through poly - it's much tougher than nitro, and the veneer is paper thin. Only way to cover the inevitable patches would be to go to a solid colour.

 

Is your Casino natural finish? The alternative might be to spray sunburst over the poly....in which case you'd have to use poly not nitro, and you'd need to be good at spraying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The painting may well be achievable, but removing the finish is going to wreck the guitar. If you choose not to listen to experience, you will simply demonstrate this for yourself, at the cost of a nice Casino. And if you think "yeah, but I am a careful guy, I know I can do this, it's something I just have to try" then I STRONGLY recommend you try stripping the finish from the Squier without doing any damage to the wood underneath. Start with the flat parts, and use a mild chemical stripper since you can't use heat on the Casino. Going fine? Now try the curved parts, see if you can get the finish off cleanly without damaging the wood. After you've given up in disgust, reflect on the fact that the ENTIRE surface of the Casino is curved and difficult like this, you can't safely apply any pressure to it because you might crack it, oh and the binding around the body and neck will be dissolved or removed by anything capable of taking off the polyester finish. Sanding? you'd have to press hard enough to abrade the polyurethane, which is hard plastic, so as soon as any wood is exposed, the same sanding pressure will dig down into that 1/32" of veneer and go through in a single stroke. Guitar ruined cosmetically. Seriously, you have no idea how hard these polyurethane finishes are until you have tried sanding one. I have, and I would think twice about doing it to a solid body, never in a pink fit would I do a hollow arch top. Lennon et al sanded their Casinos because they were finished in nitrocellulose lacquer, it comes off pretty easily, can even flake off, and you can dissolve it with acetone if you get a tough bit. Fine steel wool would take it off, in fact I bet that's what they used. No such luck with a modern polyurethane finish.

If you still feel like trying, before sanding / stripping, have a go at removing every single piece of hardware and electronics from the Casino and then see if you can get it back together and working. At this point, no harm done, because you can take it to a luthier for fixing if you get stuck.

Seriously. Buy a guitar the colour you want, you can sell your current Casino for a decent sum if you don't destroy it. And if you want to get into refinishing, start with a solid-body bolt-neck like the Squier, take great care and give it lots of attention. Or build a guitar from parts, get a cheap kit and do the finishing yourself, see if you have skills or you need to work on it. You will learn a LOT of hands-on truth that you can't get from opinionated strangers on the internet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yup' date=' and the $2500 quote doesn't account for the room, ventilation, etc. That costs many times more. I quoted a dirty DIY price.[/quote']

 

I refinished this 1974 SG with nitro rattle cans, it was cheap and fairly easy to do as I had plenty of practice. I hung it in my garage and opened the front and back door for ventilation. It turned out really well and cost me £60 to do.

 

I only paid £100 for it as a bare wood project and sold it for £500.

 

28052008241.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A large selection of lacquers' date='[/quote']

 

How large of a selection could there possibly be, and why would he need a "large selection"?

I only know of two types of lacquer- nitro, and acrylic. What others are there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Start with the flat parts' date=' and use a mild chemical stripper since you can't use heat on the Casino. Going fine? [/quote']

Poly finishes just shrug off chemical strippers. They actually make a pretty good guitar polish....

 

You will learn a LOT of hands-on truth that you can't get from opinionated strangers on the internet.

Hey, who you callin' an opinionated stranger? I may be stranger than most but I'm absoultely, definitely, NOT opinionated. And that's an undeniable, irrefutable fact!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First thing you need to do is work out which method you will use to remove the poly finish as sanding is not the way to go. Then you have to decide what you will use to refinish it' date=' I would go with nitro. You need to practice on some spare wood first, a burst finish is quite hard to execute. The clear coat needs to be applied expertly too, nitro will need a few weeks to cure before you sand it and polish it.

 

There are lots of things to consider.[/quote']

 

 

Yes, agreed. sanding is not an option. These are epoxy polyurethane finishes and tough finishes

to sand. One should also remember that the top surface of the laminate wood (plywood)

is very thin..sand through that and you've just ruined an otherwise usable guitar.

 

While it can be done..does the complexity and expense of doing it worth it?

 

Consider this?

 

Damage to underlying layers on headstock, top/back and sides

 

Removal of all wiring/replacement of wiring

 

Burst finishes (even out of spray can are VERY HARD TO DO, because you cannot

control a nitro can trigger button the same as a properly pressurized sprayer

and compressor running at 30 to 35psi. You will get blobs. runs. fish eyes, dust

particles settling on the sunburst and YOU CANNOT SAND THAT without ruining

it!

 

Environmental issues: Nitro finishes are explosive and toxic vapours..without

proper cross ventilation and masks...breathe in those toxic vapours and you

could do yourself some serious lung and brain injury

 

Application temperature issues: Nitro has to be applied within a given range

of room temperatures..otherwise it will not come out of a spray can properly

and will sputter/blob/run leaving a mess.

 

Curing the finish..although not as critical as applying it..still requires a

protected environment.

 

I've done some furniture finishing with nitro spray cans, and although

I learned the hard way and the results were acceptable, mistakes were

made in application..sometimes unavoidable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lennon et al sanded their Casinos because they were finished in nitrocellulose lacquer' date=' it comes off pretty easily, can even flake off, and you can dissolve it with acetone if you get a tough bit. Fine steel wool would take it off, in fact I bet that's what they used. [/quote']

Yes, any mild acting paste like stripper with acetone does a nice job to remove nitro finishes.

The thing you have to be careful is that the acetone will also eat into the bindings which

are ABS plastic that acetone likes to dissolve..if left on too long. The earlier Gibson bindings

were acetate, so strippers with acetone just cut through those like butter!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I've gone through a lot of posts here that recommend a heat gun for removal of poly. However, the application was for a solid body, not a hollowbody.

 

Maybe I can use heat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you even read my response to your question? I have already answered that....

 

 

Never mind, sure use heat, burn the goddamn $h!T off with napalm, your guitar will be fine. ](*,)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey now' date=' no need for sarcasm. I just overlooked that part. Fine no heat, no sanding, no stripper.

 

I'm basically out of options now.[/quote']

 

 

Well, you still have a really nice Casino. Play it. That's what it's there for.

 

On the other hand, it's good that you have an interest in luthiery etc. Why not just begin with a less ambitious project - a one colour paint job on a solid body guitar or something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I thought you were choosing to ignore the answers you didn't like. You'd be surprised how many people only listen when they are being told what they want to hear, or just plain old hear what they want.

But yes, you are pretty much out of options. The job is next to impossible. Not impossible mind you, but to remove that finish you would have to use extremely judicious hand sanding. You see how thin the laminate is for the face. You would basically be removing it one sq cm at a time, using very fine sandpaper, no blocks, just finger pressure, maybe an eraser with grit tape on it. Odds of you getting the finish off with the face of the guitar in tact is about a million to one. If I were to do it, and be paid handsomely for it I might add, it would still only be 1000 to 1 odds that I would be successful getting it off without damaging the guitar. In fact, I would have you sign a declaration that you would be billed hourly for the job, with NO guarantee of success and no liability for any damages I may cause in the process. If that didn't scare you (it's meant to, I don't want to do that job!) I would happily take your money, but you could buy about ten Casinos with what the running total would be, if not more.

 

Think of it this way, when just billing straight hours like that my rate is in the neighborhood of $50-60 an hour. I suspect I could easily put 100 hours into removing the finish alone, like I said, you must go SLOW not to damage the face of the guitar. It is a thankless tedious job, and not a fun one. So there's $5000-6000, and I haven't even sprayed a base color yet. Also, I have been doing this a long time and have loads of real world experience, this is your first rodeo, you WILL shoot the pooch.

 

Also, it bears mentioning you need a very clean environment to spray ANY finish. One spec of dust can ruin your whole day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're set on that particular lighter cherry sunburst, you'd better start saving now for a vintage 330 or Casino. A quick look on Gbase tells me it's going to run you about $3-5k, depending on the guitar. Or, if you can settle for the normal tobacco sunburst and a super-thin poly finish, might I recommend the IBJL Casino? That will only cost you a little under $1k. In any case, enjoy your current guitar while you're saving. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry' date=' I thought you were choosing to ignore the answers you didn't like. You'd be surprised how many people only listen when they are being told what they want to hear, or just plain old hear what they want.

But yes, you are pretty much out of options. The job is next to impossible. Not impossible mind you, but to remove that finish you would have to use extremely judicious hand sanding. You see how thin the laminate is for the face. You would basically be removing it one sq cm at a time, using very fine sandpaper, no blocks, just finger pressure, maybe an eraser with grit tape on it. Odds of you getting the finish off with the face of the guitar in tact is about a million to one. If I were to do it, and be paid handsomely for it I might add, it would still only be 1000 to 1 odds that I would be successful getting it off without damaging the guitar. In fact, I would have you sign a declaration that you would be billed hourly for the job, with NO guarantee of success and no liability for any damages I may cause in the process. If that didn't scare you (it's meant to, I don't want to do that job!) I would happily take your money, but you could buy about ten Casinos with what the running total would be, if not more.

 

Think of it this way, when just billing straight hours like that my rate is in the neighborhood of $50-60 an hour. I suspect I could easily put 100 hours into removing the finish alone, like I said, you must go SLOW not to damage the face of the guitar. It is a thankless tedious job, and not a fun one. So there's $5000-6000, and I haven't even sprayed a base color yet. Also, I have been doing this a long time and have loads of real world experience, this is your first rodeo, you WILL shoot the pooch.

 

Also, it bears mentioning you need a very clean environment to spray ANY finish. One spec of dust can ruin your whole day.[/quote']

 

Just to add one more point to Musik's wise counsel, even if you are successful removing the finish, you have no idea what the wood looks like underneath the finish. They do tend to save the good looking tops for the clear and translucent finishes and hide the ugly one with darker finishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...