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Thread: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

  1. #1
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    so I bought that big ole project listed on the trading post a while back. An 81 V in natural with a huge route for a kahler and some other hot mess. I've re-routed the kahler to get it ready to be plugged. In process of doing the same for the S/S/S setup so I can get humbuckers back in there. Once that is done I'm going take all of the finish off.

    That's my question. How should I do this? Assuming it's nitro? Just acetone? If I do, given that it's all mahogany will I have to grain-fill? I'll be spraying it a solid color when done.

    Thanks!

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    Mojo's Minions hamerfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    heat gun and a putty knife
    I get the feeling the A8 will blow your skirt up more so - Edgecrusher

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    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Really? I thought that was just for poly?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    It's real Gibson nitrocellulose lacquer.... Get some CleanStrip or Citrustrip, follow the directions. DON'T use sandpaper, use Scotchbrite or a plastic scraper (old credit cards or bondo spreaders are great) to remove the softened finish. Remove the last stubborn bits with lacquer thinner and an old towel. Acetone would work, but it evaporates away very quickly (especially in warm weather). Do it outside or in the garage with the door open. That way the fumes won't make you sick or piss off your significant other.

    Grain filling is another subject. Let's talk after you've removed the old finish. Have fun!!!!!!

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    That finish is lacquer; it will come off very easily with paint stripper and a selection of putty knives.

    That said, see if you can avoid stripping the peghead face. The headstock overlay might be plastic, which will be marred by paint stripper, as might any inlays (if there are any in this case). The same applies to any other plastic parts on the guitar. You can brush the stripper close to them, but not over them.

    The stripper should melt off everything, even the pore filler. Careful sanding will take care of the areas where you did not apply stripper. Clean up the leftover gunk with something mild, like mineral spirits first (will clean up the gunk without messing up any plastics or dissolving any finish you decided to leave, such as the peghead face). Use progressively "harder" chemicals for stubborn bits left in the corners of the cavities, or in grain lines. Then when all finish and stripper residue is off, wipe the entire stripped area with naptha.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Mojo's Minions Ayrton's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Lacquer thinner and/or heat gun. Either will make quick work of the finish without damaging the wood. You will want to grain fill and stain to get a good match on everything.
    -Chris


    Quote Originally Posted by John Suhr View Post
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  7. #7
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    I'm just going to make this thread the home of my many many questions about this project. Thanks for the help on stripping the body. I think I got that covered.

    Next question--this used to have a kahler route. I'm going to plug it. Even with the pickguard and a new bridge and of course, my perfect paint job that will happen there is a decent chance that a seam will show. Wondering if I can just install a short maestro vibrola on this sucker? That would cover the plug-work and be a fun option. My only potential concerns are tuning, playability and will it fit on this body?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Gibson offered several different versions of their Vibrola....Which one are you considering?

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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Quote Originally Posted by blakejcan View Post
    If I do, given that it's all mahogany will I have to grain-fill? I'll be spraying it a solid color when done.

    Thanks!
    I've done mahogany without grain filler and boy does that take a lot of coats. I wouldn't recommend it. Bondo 2 part glazing putty is cheap, available everywhere, and works well if you're not doing a clear finish. Don't use the single part stuff you don't mix though as laquer paint softens it up and it leeches out. I have no idea why something intended for painting over would do that, it sounds silly, but it was a repeatable disaster for me.

  10. #10
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Gibson offered several different versions of their Vibrola....Which one are you considering?
    the little shorty.

    basically this


  11. #11
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    I was going to post earlier, but your added pic above makes it even more clear: That is NOT a Maestro Vibrola. It's just a Vibrola. The "Maestro" specifies the "long" version, with the cover plate. The short version is the only one you can easily install onto Vs.

    You can easily make the seam lines from the Kahler filler block disappear, so don't let that force you into putting a Vibrola on. Put a Vibrola on if you want a Vibrola, not to mask something that you can do well enough that it doesn't need to be masked. Just rout the Kahler hole to a clean, straight box, and cut a block to those dimensions to fill it. Some hand fitment will be required to fit the block into the hole. Afterward, the seams should be filled (two-part Bondo is great for this). Then the whole guitar should be seal coated, pore filled several times, and the pore filler should be encapsulated in another sealer coat before priming and color coating. If done well, that should give you a glassy smooth surface without any seams from the filler block.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

  12. #12
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Thanks! I'm feeling pretty good (so far) about my ability to do a decent job plugging the kahler and the previous S/S/H pickup setup. The bondo or I've heard people say feathering w/ kwikwood would work as well. I like the Vibrola cause, well, it looks fun and I don't have one on any other guitar and it would be a bit of insurance on my handiwork. It also looks a bit easier to mount versus drilling my own bridge posts w/o a drill press. Maybe I'm wrong?

    What I really don't know what to do with is this wonky hole on the wing. It was stepped down to move the jack there. Routing it out looks like a ****ty proposition. But can I fill it with something? Click image for larger version. 

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    I would make a wedge-shaped router template to clean that up, and cut a wedge of mahogany to fill it with.

    Another option is to cap it instead of completely filling it. Rout off 1/4" or so, instead of going all the way down.
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 07-30-2018 at 10:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    As I've mentioned to you, Blake.... fill all the holes, sand flat, glue on a veneer cap. Then finish, and no glue seams will show.

  15. #15
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    As I've mentioned to you, Blake.... fill all the holes, sand flat, glue on a veneer cap. Then finish, and no glue seams will show.
    Yep, I hear ya and appreciate it! Just like getting a few different perspectives.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Yep, I hear ya and appreciate it! Just like getting a few different perspectives.
    No harm done, no offense taken. There is more than one way to skin a cat!

  17. #17
    Toneologist blakejcan's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Making some progress here. Go the kahler cleaned up and re-routed. Chiseled out most of the pickup cavity and re-routed the super thin strip up by the neck without breaking anything. That's like 4-5 mm of wood left up there right now so I am very eager to go back in and add more to beef that up. Anywho, coming along for anyone who cares.

    Oh yea----one question--I have a great piece of wood to put in there. I'm of two minds about the depth/height of the piece when I put it in. Would love some opinions.

    Option 1-Have the new piece be just a hair taller than the rest and then sand it down to level. This might make sense knowing that it will be very hard to make the bottom of the newly routed area perfectly level

    Option 2-Make it the same height

    Option 3-Make it same height or even slightly lower then rest of guitar and just slather some famowood or whatever over the whole area to hide the seams.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18
    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    I don't have a clue what famowood is...
    But you want a minimum of filler no matter how you do it.
    Filler is NOT tone. Wood is tone.

  19. #19
    Mojo's Minions Ayrton's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    -Chris


    Quote Originally Posted by John Suhr View Post
    Practice cures most tone issues

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: stripping a 1981 gibson flying v

    Dan will not steer you wrong.

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