Epiphone LP 59 - complete refinish

barryflan

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Hi,

I mentioned a while ago I was thinking of totally stripping my Epi '59 back to bare wood, and refinish it. Well, I took the plunge, and so far it is looking great I think. I'll update this thread as things progress.

I stripped the poly, as well as the veneer top using a heat gun and scraper. It actually was not as hard as I anticipated once I got into it. Slow and steady is the key. I am not uploading any pics of the stripping in progress, because it is just messy and not that interesting! One funny thing, and it just shows how thick the poly is - the serial number came off completely with the poly, not even an indent in the wood! I'll make a transfer of the serial before the final clear coats :-) I am leaving the headstock faceplate alone, although I will give it a buff and clear coat when the time comes.

My top appears to be 7 pieces, and I really don't know if it is worth leaving the grain visible, so I am leaning towards doing the top in an opaque colour instead of translucent cherry which is my other preference. The back and neck though look really nice, so I am in a bit of a quandary - my initial thought was to finish it in black all over, but I am wondering should I leave the back/neck natural, and only do the top. Of course I could try Cherry first as I can always revert to black.... Suggestions are welcome!

Anyway, here are some photos of the stripped and 180grit sanded "naked" '59. In some I have wet the top and back to show the grain better.

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Norton

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looks great! nice work.

yeah that finish is THICK... mine came off in big pieces maybe 2mm thick??

good luck on the re-fin!!
 

barryflan

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looks great! nice work.

yeah that finish is THICK... mine came off in big pieces maybe 2mm thick??

good luck on the re-fin!!

Yes, it will be interesting to weigh the guitar once finished to see how heavy all that poly was!
 

28 Flathead

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Nice job, that looks like a ton of work.

Looking forward to seeing the progress.
 

Keefoman

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Surely a lot of poly! I also didn’t expect that many pieces of maple top. How thick was the veneer? How many pieces of mahogany in the body? Veneer on the back as well?

Cool project! I agree with the suggestion of natural back/sides and neck with a solid colour on the top. Dark metallic red perhaps? :applause:
 

barryflan

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Surely a lot of poly! I also didn’t expect that many pieces of maple top. How thick was the veneer? How many pieces of mahogany in the body? Veneer on the back as well?

Veneer was more than paper-thin, but not by much. Gentle heatgun on that softened the glue enough that it came off cleanly. The back is two piece, center-seamed just like a Gibbo. No veneer on these, only on the Std '50s and '60s thankfully - who knows how many pieces of mahogany are under there.

Cool project! I agree with the suggestion of natural back/sides and neck with a solid colour on the top. Dark metallic red perhaps? :applause:

Yes, having seen the back and neck, definitely leaving that natural. I have Cherry Red stain ordered, so will try that out, and if not, then solid black I think. The binding is quite thin, so I won't be able to get much showing on the top, but I'll try.
 

barryflan

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Really awesome thread! I stripped a 1999 Sheraton II it was a natural finish and it didn’t take long at all. I did not refinish it. I just wiped it down with Carnauba wax. It looked great.

Watching this thread. :)

Pat

That's good to know. I have a beautiful '89 Sherry Natural and when I took off the pickguard, underneath it is very light compared to the rest. I was imagining how nice it would be with a refin. Any photos of yours, and is the difference notable?
 

barryflan

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Really awesome thread! I stripped a 1999 Sheraton II it was a natural finish and it didn’t take long at all. I did not refinish it. I just wiped it down with Carnauba wax. It looked great.

Watching this thread. :)

Pat

@Space1999 - Regarding the Sherry, did you strip the headstock face as well? Would be worried about damaging that..

-Barry
 

Norton

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nothing could be gained from stripping the face of the headstock of a Sheraton. only destruction.
 


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