Harmony H1260 Finish

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including fixing errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.

Harmony H1260 Finish

Postby Joe Wilson » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:36 am


Working on this old 60-70 harmony sovereign. Customer found it in a trash can. I reset the neck, replaced stripped truss rod, and fixed belly bulge with a little steam/clamps. Unfortunately the steam bubbled the finish which was toast anyway but the top is nice and flat again :D This is for a repeat customer/friend of mine who is not the picky type he just loves the way the thing sounds. Going to just go ahead and refinish it completely for him. I cannot find information on finish types for these. It seems to be shellac/lacquer. I hit it with some denatured alcohol and it softened it but hardened very quickly so it might be lacquer/shellac. I haven't hit it with lacquer thinner yet.

My question is whats the best way to strip it. Scraping seems to be giving the best results but was hoping for a tip or two.

P.S. I just found this forum. The old timer that I went to locally that always had a solution for every instrument related conundrum I had died on me very recently so good timing. Lots of good information here.
Joe Wilson
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:03 pm

Re: Harmony H1260 Finish

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:12 am

Paint stripper should work but just don't get it on the plastic binding/parts.
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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Harmony H1260 Finish

Postby Freeman Keller » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:12 pm

I'm working on an old harmony tenor right now and was trying to remove some gunky glue that someone used on the pick guard. I assumed that the finish was lacquer but when I tried denatured alcohol to remove the glue it did slightly soften the finish (white gas worked OK, naphtha would have been next to try). Anyway, you might be right about there being some shellac on it.

Chemical strippers will work to get the finish off but as Barry says, will damage binding, decals, maybe rosette. Also, as you know, finishing is difficult under the best of conditions, a refin is particularly hard. Sometimes its best to just live with the old finish - call it mojo.
Freeman Keller
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Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:34 am

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