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Thread: Stripping Nitro Off the Back

  1. #1

    Default Stripping Nitro Off the Back

    Hello All,

    I have a Loar 600. It has great power but the tone is not as clear as I would like. The nitro-cellulose is very thick and I am considering removing it from the back with paint stripper in an attempt to get more tone out it.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    3,099

    Default Re: Stripping Nitro Off the Back

    In the rare cases where I strip finish, I generally avoid chemical strippers. They're highly toxic, more so than just about anything else in my shop. If you do use them, you must clean the wood after several times after stripping with a solvent such as denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner. You must also mask off any bindings very thoroughly because the standard strippers eat plastic. It is best to let the masking overlap 1/8" past the binding in case any stripper wicks under the masking. Then those areas will have to be stripped by hand with cabinet scraper and/or sandpaper.

    I have heard others recommend Citristrip. Supposedly it is less toxic and leaves less residuals in the wood.

    Note: Although The Loar used to claim a nitrocellulose finish [they don't now], the finish may not be nitro at all, or it might be nitro over some sort of polyurethane product.

    Refinishing an instrument and getting it to look really good is an art, and it takes time and experience to get good results.
    Last edited by rcc56; May-16-2022 at 7:40pm.

  3. #3
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
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    5,752

    Default Re: Stripping Nitro Off the Back

    Previous thread from someone who did a lot more......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...he-Loar-LM-600

    If you go to "advanced search" and type in "refinishing a The Loar mandolin" you will see other threads that people have posted in the past about this topic.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  4. #4

    Default Re: Stripping Nitro Off the Back

    Mando Mat, two things to consider:

    1) In searching for a more "clear" tone, you're not likely to gain a noticeable improvement by stripping the back, which more regulates the bass response of the instrument. The top might offer some improvement perhaps, if the finish is really thick and soft.

    2) The sunburst on this instrument is almost assured to be sprayed on, not dyed into the wood. Thus if you strip it, you'll lose all or most of the sunburst.

    I'm not sure of your definition of a "clear" tone, but there are several things I'd try first-
    • picks- the thickness and material of a pick, along with your technique in using it, have a huge effect on tone. There have been tons of threads about picks here. If you haven't already, I would experiment with different picks as a first step.
    • bridge- if the bridge isn't perfectly mated to the top (will a sheet of paper slip under it anywhere?) that would be something to address. They often aren't on lower cost instruments. Also, replacing the bridge with a Cumberland Acoustics one often results in a stronger, more consistent tone. Be aware that the fitting of the bridge to the top is again critical and time consuming, thus expensive.

    In summary, I wouldn't touch the finish on your Loar. Try other remedies for intermediate improvement. Ultimately, you may want to start saving up for a higher quality mando. They can be prohibitively expense for many players though.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Stripping Nitro Off the Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Matk View Post
    Hello All,

    I have a Loar 600. It has great power but the tone is not as clear as I would like. The nitro-cellulose is very thick and I am considering removing it from the back with paint stripper in an attempt to get more tone out it.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks everyone for the help.

    Saved me a lot of wasted effort and hazard.

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