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Old 02-01-2006, 01:26 AM
Aldo Roldan Aldo Roldan is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: pottstown , pa, usa
Posts: 18
Default I know this is a long shot but

I know this is a long shot but here it goes. I have tried to have a luthier friend of mine try to refinish my guitar. I have seen his work it's very impressive, but anyhow he has not returned any of my calls to get my guitar going so i have been thinking about tackling the job myself as far as sanding it down for paint. Eventhough this is robinlovers please don't hate me for posting this ad here as i am looking for guidance. My guitar is 1980 gibson explorer E2. but it has been refinished to look like a gothic like finish. Most of the paint on the neck has been wearing out and i know i would be up to the challenge of doing this. any pointers as far as what grade of sand paper and tools i would need to take this project on. any help besides me taking to another "luthier" who is not going to return my calls! i already have looked on the internet for guidance but most of the stuff that is outthere does not help much. thanks
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:09 AM
Chuck's Guitar Shop
Posts: n/a
Default Man listen, It's a LOT of

Man listen,
It's a LOT of work.

Here's a great Luthier in California whose very
reasonable & will answer the phone. Lee Garver

If you do want to try it yourself
All of the sandpaper & materials are available at

You would have to start with a stripper
most do not cut through lacquer very well at all.
start with 80 grit sandpaper but be very careful
not to reshape the guitar when pulling the

When you finally get the finish off re sand with 100 grit sand paper

then re sand with 220 grit sandpaper
then re sand with 320 grit sandpaper
then re sand with 400 grit sandpaper
then re sand with 600 grit sandpaper

You should be wiping the guitar down between
coats with either water or thinner.
I use both ... one to remove any finish & dust &
the other to raise the grain for the next sanding.
after the 600 grit you'll need to apply a grain /
sanding sealer. Follow all the manufacterers
instructions with each product & WEAR A MASK

Then stain or paint it.

If you use lacquer you should allow quite a bit of dry time between very thin coats...
& I mean thin
I would imagine 24-48 hrs between coats...
wet sanding with 1200 grit in between coats
Anybody wanna correct me here or on any other points please feel free

It's been several years since I've done this but
you're probably talking at least two dust free
weeks with the guitar hanging in your garage to
apply the finish.
It would help to make yourself a little spray
booth buy hanging some plastic around your work area.

Then after the final coat let it sit another week

The start the buffing & be VERY careful
It's very easy to burn right through your lacquer
with a buffing wheel & you'll have to resand &
start applying the finish all over again ...

You'll need a buffing arbor or the small drill buffing wheels Stewmac sells
along with swirl remover & corse & Medium buffing paste.
You can go all the way to the fine paste if you
want but I find medium to be just fine.

This is where things become rewarding... when you finally apply the buffing pastes.

Personally if it's a great guitar I'd pay
somebody the $600 the jobs worth...

Take that from somebody whose done several.

Although if you want to tackle this stuff by
yourself there's a few great books & even some
free info on the Stewmac web site.

The main thing is patience between coats.
Don't forget the sealer or your lacquer will look pitted as is soaks into the grain.

Patience patience patience...

One slip with a screw driver re attaching your
hardware & you'll be stating all over again!!!

Hope this helps.

When I finally found a woman that would put up with this crap the kitchen in my apartment was my workshop & I had about 30 guitars in that one bedroom. It took about $2 grand in tools & supplies to get setup to do this kind of stuff...
along with fret work
I was using a drill press to buff out the guitars...
There was a ring of buffing paste all the way around the room ...

Good clean fun eh?
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:40 AM
Ken Jones's Avatar
Ken Jones Ken Jones is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 719
Default Well, since this is robinlover

Well, since this is robinlovers...

There's three guys here in Houston who have their own shop. They all worked for Robin Guitars for years.

Ron Pace was the final assembly guy, and Hoang was the painter. Hoang actually was with Robin forever and is capable of doing anything, but he specialized in painting the guitars. He does an awesome job. They re-finished an old Hamer of mine and did an incredible job. They were actually able to save the very detailed logo on the headstock and it looked perfect when they were done. In fact, when Hoang left Robin Guitars he continued doing some contract work for a few months.

Keep in mind that any re-finishing job is very time consuming and will probaly take a few weeks/months.

Tell Ronnie that Ken Jones sent you.
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:14 PM
Aldo Roldan Aldo Roldan is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: pottstown , pa, usa
Posts: 18
Default Thank you all for the quick re

Thank you all for the quick replies. I knew that coming into this is not easy. So i maybe rethinking my strategy here. Now as far as pace guitar repair. I have dealt with ronnie in the past and unfortunately i don't want to use him. He refretted my 1975 gibson les paul custom and did a great job, but while waiting on a status from my guitar let's just say that he treated me a customer like crap. He basically shouted and got pissed off on the phone at me for simply asking what the status was on my guitar. It had passed the two weeks he said it would take to do the job. needless to say i will not be using him anymore and unfortunately that really does not leave alot of choices here in Houston. Again thank you all for the replies you guys have been alot of help.
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:26 PM
BCRGreg's Avatar
BCRGreg BCRGreg is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Lemoyne, Pa (surrounded by cool guitars)
Posts: 1,366
Default Hoang is the man.

Hoang is the man.
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Old 02-02-2006, 05:33 AM
Brian Presley Brian Presley is offline
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
Posts: 51
Default Man do I know how you feel abo

Man do I know how you feel about this stuff. My 82 RH-2 (Batman) is getting a fret job as we speak. I'm fortunate to have found a guy that is quite meticulous in his work but also very understanding of the fact he is working on something important to me. Since we knew this would take several weeks, he calls regularly to give me updates and insisted I inspect his work halfway through the process. This is his first scalloped fret board too. As a side note on my Tokai built RH- He said it was a great neck. The maple board required no leveling and there was no tear-out or chipping when the frets were removed (whew!). Only a couple of frets were off after pressing (3/1000's was the max spread across the entire board). The job should be done about one week from now. I would recommend this cat to anyone.
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