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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Stripping a 540R

It's time for a 540R thread. Too long without one.

I got a '87 redburst body that had some serious dings and checking. I want to refinish it black. Getting the original finish off is a task. I didn't try any chemicals because everything I could find to research the project said that nothing really exists. Most people resorted to sanding. A lot of sanding. A whole lot of sanding.

I was going to take the body to a wood shop hoping that maybe they could recommend something that would save me some sanding. The night before I remembered that I had an ancient heat gun. I fired it up and hit the body with some heat. Yes, that's the ticket.














After about 2 hours I had the top layer of poly entirely off. There is another layer of stuff between me and the wood however. The heat gun took off this filler(?) layer in a few places as you can see in the 4th photo above. I'm leary of seriously hitting that layer with the heat gun because I might burn the wood below.

Does anyone have a recommendation for getting that layer off without sanding? Or maybe I could fill the existing damaged areas of the filler layer and not worry about taking it off. Doing that, what is a good filler for the filler layer that won't show through the new paint job? Bondo? Other? Not possible? What do you think?

Last edited by ashbass; 07-25-2014 at 12:33 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 12:38 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

I would go back at it with the heat, but scraping it with a 1" plastic putty knife at the same time. it looks like the paint re-adhered itself to the body as it cooled. Yu want to get it off when it's still soft.

That may be filler, but I'm leaning toward sanding sealer. At some point your going to have to break out the sand paper- like it or not. Scrape as much as you possibly can with the heat gun, than sand whats left smooth with some #180.

BTW... don't worry about scorching the wood with the gun...... your painting over it anyway. Just don't let it catch fire..............or do...... that could be cool too.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 01:51 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

I don't know anything about refinishing so hopefully this isn't a dumb question but why go through all the messy work with the heat gun instead of sanding? I would think sanding would be easier and less messy and yield nicer results more quickly - especially since you are going to have to sand at some point anyhow....just curious because again I have no experience with doing this kind of thing...
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

RGT, thanks for the info. The paint is a thin coat on top of what you think is sanding sealer. The sealer is thick. It is as thick as the poly that I took off yesterday. I need to get this sealer off to get to the wood. Do you still recommend the heat gun to do that? I tried a plastic scraper yesterday and the tip got all melty bendy because it was in touch with the heat gun. I used a metal scraper.

DG, IMO (1) the finish is thick thick thick and would require very very very much sanding to get down to the wood. Sanding would take way more time and would be more messy because sawdust is harder to sweep up than chips. (2-the main reason) I don't want to accidentally change any contours of the body by oversanding or undersanding.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 04:03 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbass View Post
RGT, thanks for the info. The paint is a thin coat on top of what you think is sanding sealer. The sealer is thick. It is as thick as the poly that I took off yesterday. I need to get this sealer off to get to the wood. Do you still recommend the heat gun to do that? I tried a plastic scraper yesterday and the tip got all melty bendy because it was in touch with the heat gun. I used a metal scraper.

DG, IMO (1) the finish is thick thick thick and would require very very very much sanding to get down to the wood. Sanding would take way more time and would be more messy because sawdust is harder to sweep up than chips. (2-the main reason) I don't want to accidentally change any contours of the body by oversanding or undersanding.
No, If your going to finish it with a solid color- leave the sanding sealer on it. Your going to have to seal any exposed wood before priming anyway. You may as well take advantage of the stuff that's already on there. Sand everything with 180 til you can't feel any ridges/bumps/dents....etc. Then go over it with a light handed 220 grit. Come back here after that...... you should be ready for a sanding sealer after the 220.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGTFanatic View Post
No, If your going to finish it with a solid color- leave the sanding sealer on it. Your going to have to seal any exposed wood before priming anyway. You may as well take advantage of the stuff that's already on there.
There are several spots where the existing sealer has been removed. What do you recommend I use to fill those spots flush to the existing sealer before sanding it all? Whatever I use, I want to be sure that outlines of the holes I've filled won't appear after the final paint job cures.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Update.

I decided to take all the sealer off and get to bare wood. Still not wanting to sand I got some heavy duty stripper and put it to work.



Rather than brush the stuff on, I put the body in a stationary sink and poured the stripper on top. Then I left it for about 10 hours.



This worked great and the final finish scraped off easily with a plastic scraper. However, since I poured the stripper on the body there was no build up of stripper on the edges. It sat on the flat front and flat back, but just rolled off the edges. So now I have a body that still has finish left on the edges. Do I sand? No!.

I made a little trough and filled it with stripper. Then I put the body in so that each of its edges could get the treatment. 10 hours for each edge.



One seam on the back opened a little bit (1.5 inches) so I filled it with thin super glue. Then just to be careful I ran a line of super glue along all the seams.

Next I'll be sanding the final wood only body lightly with 320 and 600 sand paper to get it smooth enough for the next steps toward getting it finished. This will be as far as I go and I'll be looking for someone to take it up from here and paint it.

My daughter is upset that I'm painting it. She says that right now it looks "sick" and I should just leave it as it is. Sick to her means good BTW.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Here is a comparison of the stripped 1987 540R and a clean 1987 540R.



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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

doublepost
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 03:25 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Very nice work so far!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 05:02 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

Well looks like you got it stripped but I was going to say, that sealer stuff they put on there is basically impervious to fire. The top coat basically flies right off but that sealer won't budge. It just sort of boils. I scorched the hell out of a 560 body finding that out.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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Re: Stripping a 540R

If you decide to sell the blue one let me know! Good luck!
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