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Ok, I've heard a few ideas on just how to strip lacquer from a sax, but I've run into a few experiences that make me wish further insight...

By the way, if there is a thread on this, anyone feel free to just paste me the link as well. I did a brief search, but my luck is to find threads regarding whether or not to do the lacquer stripping, not so much on how to do it.

Just for the record, this is a horn I'm doing free for a friend's son, a very good player who would otherwise not be able to afford a tenor. I'm taking the opportunity to do some relacquering practice, so little aesthetics are no big deal--and I have no issue with the mechanical overhaul.

Anyway... I've heard honorable mention of Aircraft and Tal-Strip II strippers, and I've tried both. Oddly enough, in my case, they both seem to do a patchwork job. I've tried this on an old Conn and the one at present is a Martin Imperial. So yeah, I took out all the springs, have the body disassembled and all, tried one, then cleaned it, then tried the other....and I'm still left with appreciable spots that don't seem affected...even if I scrub with 0000 steel wool (because the body is kind of a mess anyway aesthetically), some spots are just as if I never used anything.

So I'm wondering what I'm missing here... Is there some toxic swamp monster dip that will eat the lacquer in the remaining places (especially around posts and such), or do we typically use several different buffs of a few ply that can get in the crevices without catching and sending the saxophone into the floor?
 

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Morning luke.

Basics - Lacquer is applied straight to the brass surface, no primer coats no etching coats etc. The lacquer can be acrylic, enamel, paint, poly, 2 pack, you name it. So the removal is subjective to the material itself. What is the material made out of, ?? the million dollar question.

The reason I started my response with what it could me made out of, gives you some idea on how to remove it.
If its a paint example then any automotive stripper will remove it.
If its an acrylic lacquer then simply immersing it in hot water will lift the acryluic of the surface.
If its an enamel, then you need to soak the instrument in enamel thinners to soften the surface and then paint stripper or submerse in thinners for a long time to competley remove the coating.
If its a poly coat then you need to soak the instrument or immerse same as for enamel but this time in an alcohol based solution
If its two pack heavy duty car stripper apply many times.

The reason hot water works so well, is because there is no binding agent (primer) used to apply the clear coat, so being able to get under the clear coat will allow the water to lift the lacquer

I had a special concoction made for me, it is enviro friendly, is a two part mixture alcohol based but expensive, under heat at 60 degrees celcius it can strip a sax in under 5 minutes, then with a wash and dry you can put the lacquer back on (I use 2 pack poly urethane)
 

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I use Tal-strip II
I coat the horn, let it sit for 30 minutes and rinse. Then, I do it a second time. I have never had to do it 3 times. You must use chemical gloves and have water standing by in case of spill or accident. That stuff will burn your skin in seconds. Eye protection is a must!.
 

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You're being too gentle with that 0000 steel wool. Just use Scoth-Brite pads. They come in various grades including a less aggressive blue type that you can find at your local supermarket. Your 0000 steel wool is better for polishing. I have also had good results using a brass brush.

Being a one time brass player, I spent a lot of time removing the lacquer from various horns. For your Conn, hot water is safe and effective. It certainly has worked for me on older Conn horns. You will always need to do some clean up tough.

Old Martin horns are even easier to strip in hot water. Get a used stock pot or roasting pan from a local junk shop. Put it on the stove top, fill it with water, heat to a simmer and immerse the horn as best you can. You can add a bit of dishwasher detergent (Cascade). I stripped a Martin Indiana this way. I had to rotate the horn in the water but eventually I got it all clean. A bit of brushing afterward removed the remaining flakes of lacquer.

The toughest lacquer is the epoxy stuff that Yamaha used for a while. Nothing chemically removes it effectively.

Best of luck!
 

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glad I checked back here and this thread in particular. What bugs me is advice on here sometimes is vague and like you, in actual experience you get the patchwork results that people tend to gloss over. I'd like to try doing this to a YTS-23 and YAS-23 and don't want a half-assed look.

Ok, I've heard a few ideas on just how to strip lacquer from a sax, but I've run into a few experiences that make me wish further insight...

By the way, if there is a thread on this, anyone feel free to just paste me the link as well. I did a brief search, but my luck is to find threads regarding whether or not to do the lacquer stripping, not so much on how to do it.

Just for the record, this is a horn I'm doing free for a friend's son, a very good player who would otherwise not be able to afford a tenor. I'm taking the opportunity to do some relacquering practice, so little aesthetics are no big deal--and I have no issue with the mechanical overhaul.

Anyway... I've heard honorable mention of Aircraft and Tal-Strip II strippers, and I've tried both. Oddly enough, in my case, they both seem to do a patchwork job. I've tried this on an old Conn and the one at present is a Martin Imperial. So yeah, I took out all the springs, have the body disassembled and all, tried one, then cleaned it, then tried the other....and I'm still left with appreciable spots that don't seem affected...even if I scrub with 0000 steel wool (because the body is kind of a mess anyway aesthetically), some spots are just as if I never used anything.

So I'm wondering what I'm missing here... Is there some toxic swamp monster dip that will eat the lacquer in the remaining places (especially around posts and such), or do we typically use several different buffs of a few ply that can get in the crevices without catching and sending the saxophone into the floor?
 

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