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Fullerplast, DuPont paint and other flammable substances
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cashcow
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Joined: 27 Jun 2008
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Location: Blue State

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:31 pm    Post subject: Fullerplast, DuPont paint and other flammable substances Reply with quote

The Plastic Coating of Guitars since 1963

"Fact:
All Fender Guitars made since 1963 are Polyester coated. Lacquer is put on top of the poly to satisfy the general publics belief that Nitro Cellulose (nitro) Lacquer finished guitars "breathe", "dry" and generally have become the bottom line for creating great tome. I'm talking USA, Vintage collectable instruments that the general public has bought, traded, and sold for over 50 years. They came from the Fender factory with a hard plastic jacket underneath it. a suffocating wolf, masquerading under a cloak of Lacquer Fender later switched to 100% Poly and UltraViolet cured resin on Squire, Mexican, Japanese, some USA and all other imports till this day.

Fact:
The two-part catalyzed coating named "Fullerplast" (Fuller for Fuller O'Brien, the products creator, and plast for the obvious PLASTIC"), solved all of Fenders finishing problems; encasing the deep wood pores in a self-hardening plastic that wrapped the body in a rock-hard solid coffin. In some cases we have found it to be as thick as a.060 string. Yes, all of the wood moisture and characteristics are sealed in a virtual time-capsule, only to be vented from the body through screw holes and paint fractures. Share this info and be the hit of your next guitar gathering!


Fact:
Fender rarely mentions Fullerplast, or the way it prepares its bodies before applying Lacquer. If they mention it at all
So, when someone tells you that a Fender "nitro-cellulose" or "nitro" finished guitar will sound better, have more warmth, or will dry out... they really don't have the full story.

Ask any seasoned guitar craftsman what happens when you will apply paint stripper to a Fender "nitro" finish. The nitro color comes off within minutes, leaving the guitar with a rock-hard plastic coating that can not be removed with any chemical means. Sandpaper barely scratches this coating, but will remove it with mechanical help. Heat Guns will remove the coating, but not by softening it. Apply heat to the Fullerplast coating and it will remain solid until about 300F, at which time it will crack, and pop off of the guitar.

It's a fact, , its scientific, and it's the skeleton in Fenders closet, that they never want to be seen. They have kept it locked away like a bastard child, allowing players, collectors, and experts to spread the "nitro" legend as the holy-grail of tone!

When did Fender start the plastic coating process, and why?

Most experts agree that Fullerplast was started to be used by Fender in 1963
There are many experts that are willing to share the facts with the guitar community, just as I am.

The most time consuming part of finishing a solid guitar body, is the process of filling the wood pores, and allowing the paint to lay flay, with a gloss found on Grand Pianos, or automobiles. Fender needed a fast and easy solution in order speed up production during the guitar craze of the early 1960s. Encasing the wood in a smooth, hard, "glass" jacket would eliminate up to 20 hours in each body prep. Fender even experimented with a hot dip that resembled a candy apple method. The problem was that the dip mixture would need to be at a temperature that would damage the wood, or cause body moisture to create "steam pops" in the coating

When Fender switched to Alder (from Ash) as it's primary body wood in mid 1956, many books and authorities state Fender started using the product called "Fullerplast" This is a very misunderstood product. For example, there is a picture in Tom Wheeler's American Guitars, page 54 (upper left corner), of a man with long rubber gloves dipping bodies into a tank at Fender in the late 1950's. The description incorrectly denotes the man is applying Fullerplast to the bodies. Most likely, this man is staining the Alder bodies yellow, a process used on Alder from 1956 and later before spraying the sunburst finish.. Thanks to VintageGuitarHQ for this info


Fullerplast is a clear, sprayed chemically curing sealer, unaffected by solvents after it dries. It's invention is often given credit to Fuller O'Brien (but often though to be named after the city of Fullerton, the home of Fender) Whether either is the case, it is now manufactured and distributed by Van Dee

Fullerplast soaks into the wood and creates a seal that prevents following coats from soaking into the wood like a sponge. This means spraying the color coats is easier and the coats can be applied thinner (saving material, money and dry time). Even though alder is a "closed pore" wood, the first few coats of lacquer will soak in like a sponge without some type of sealer coat. Fullerplast dries in 15 minutes, and is paintable in one hour. It is also applied very thin.
Most experts agree the actual product Fullerplast actually started to be used around 1963 at Fender. Prior to that, Fender used other products as their sealer coat, but they did the same thing. The sealer allowed any color coat (be it sunburst or a custom color) to not soak into the wood. Since the sealer is essentially a clear inexpensive primer, less color would be needed (and color costs a lot more money than a cheap sealer).

Another misconception about Fullerplast is it's color. The sealers Fender used including Fullerplast were clear, not yellow. The yellow seen in the unpainted portions of a 1956 and later Alder body is actually a stain or dye applied under the sealer coat. This was used to simplify the sunbursting process. The Alder bodies are dipped in a vat of yellow stain/dye. Next the Alder body is sealed with a very thin coat of clear sealer (i.e. "Fullerplast"). After drying, the sunburst procedure is continued by spraying the translucent red (starting in 1958) and dark blackish-brown on the edges of the body, which completes the sunburst look. Finally a clear coat is sprayed over the entire body to seal the colors. By dipping the alder bodies in a yellow stain first, instead of spraying yellow lacquer, there is one less step of lacquer to mix, spray, and dry. *

By fall 1964, Fender changed the yellow making it more whitish and opaque to better hide flaws in the wood. This allowed Fender to use cheaper Alder with more cosmetic flaws. The more whitish yellow was then sprayed over the sealer coat, as were the red and brown of the Sunburst. That is why the red and yellow now looks much different on late 1964 and later Fenders. This new whitish-yellow bleeds through the translucent red making it more orangish. Note that even though Fender was now spraying the yellow after the Fullerplast, they still continued to stain or dye the bodies yellow before the sealer coat.

Current use of Polyester and UV coatings on Fender Guitars.
Probably cause for another article is the case of Ultra Violet cured paints and sealers now used by most production guitar manufacturers. UV allows a very thick and durable coating to be applied directly over bare wood without any need for pore filling. UV cures the paint to its hardest state within minutes, not allowing the finish to soak into the wood.

If you have ever chipped an Ibanez guitar, you know what I mean.
Essentially, beneath every vintage Fender is an Ibanez coating in-waiting for you.

WIN A BET,
BUT GET A PUNCH
The next time someone brags about how good their "lacquer" Fender guitar sounds, because it breathes, try this.

Take a cotton swab dipped nail polish remover, and take a wipe at an inconspicuous area on the guitar. Either
1) The finish will remain un-touched, or
2) You will wipe away the color coat, and see the rock-hard, insoluble Fullerplast.

If all the finish comes off and you get to bare wood, the Fender guitar has been stripped and refinished.

Either way, you get to say you know something, before you hit the floor."

Thanks to VintageGuitarHQ


Last edited by cashcow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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soundcreation
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fact: 60's fenders are not the one's people rave about in terms of finish and "nitro".

The early 50's one's are. And those ones were completely poly free full nitro guitars. Just the way the top end MIJ guitars that copy them, are.

So yeah....your long winded post really doesn't mean a whole lot. And the fullerplast thing is no big "secret" anyway.

And IN SPITE of ALL of that...it wouldn't matter anyway. Use logic.

How thin a finish is, is a factor as well. So thin nitro over poly is STILL going to be better than MORE poly over poly. Like the garbage 70's guitars.

And even if fender changed their methods....it doesn't mean that Leo didn't some how stumble onto the best combination in his first attempt with the all nitro 50's guitars.

Because he abandoned those earlier finishes for cost cutting reasons, doesn't change the fact they WERE better ( in terms of resonance) finishes. A fact subsequent manufactures (such as the high end MIJ builders) have recognized and adopted...to make better guitars than fender ever built in the 60's.

See....if you just logically reason the fullerplast issue through completely...you realize it doesn't really matter. His recipe for the body finishes of the 50's guitars makes the best fender style guitars.

Of course if you're the type of person that believes no kind or amount or thickness of finish ever matters...well then....there will be no convincing you either way. In which case you shouldn't really care about stuff like this anyway and should just be playing your cheap thick poly encased whatever brand guitars you like...thinking they are as good as the best examples ever made.
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somebodyelseuk
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why use no words when thousands will do? You've said nothing that most guitarists didn't know anyway.
A dead give-away to what's underneath the finish and what the nature of the finish is... Check for damage. Polys and their ilk chip, nitro dents. My 79 Strat has plenty of dings and the chips go down to the wood. As for sandpaper not touching it, T Cut was all I needed to polish out some scratches a while back, and I KNOW it's the original finish.
If you can make out the wood grain pattern, even on a solid finish, it's a cellulose based finish (nitro). Nitro sinks into the grain over time, no matter how much filler was used. How do I know. Been there, done it. Two custom made guitars which I specced nitro cellulose finished. On delivery, they were mirror finished, 20 years on, the finish has sunk into the wood.
Only two things matter - how it feels and how it sounds.
The problems with 70s Fenders were the crap 'concrete' ash they used, cheap hardware and over drilling the neck fixing holes. They ended up applying thicker coatings to tighten the neck cavity and fill in the neck screw holes.
The majority of Tokais have poly finishes, even the 'legendary' early ones...
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jacco
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

somebodyelseuk wrote:

The majority of Tokais have poly finishes, even the 'legendary' early ones...


Of course, because there were more lower end Tokai's made than ST-80/100s. A matter of supply and demand..

As a supplement to the OPs post;
I know a guy here in Holland that worked for the european Fender importer during the 60s. He told me that there were periods that Fender only shipped batches of sunburst finished guitars. His job was to spray those with solid colours over the sumburst finish. So another layer of lacquer. Don't know what kind of lacquer though.
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cashcow
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

soundcreation wrote:
Fact: 60's fenders are not the one's people rave about in terms of finish and "nitro".

The early 50's one's are. And those ones were completely poly free full nitro guitars. Just the way the top end MIJ guitars that copy them, are.

So yeah....your long winded post really doesn't mean a whole lot. And the fullerplast thing is no big "secret" anyway.

And IN SPITE of ALL of that...it wouldn't matter anyway. Use logic.

How thin a finish is, is a factor as well. So thin nitro over poly is STILL going to be better than MORE poly over poly. Like the garbage 70's guitars.

And even if fender changed their methods....it doesn't mean that Leo didn't some how stumble onto the best combination in his first attempt with the all nitro 50's guitars.

Because he abandoned those earlier finishes for cost cutting reasons, doesn't change the fact they WERE better ( in terms of resonance) finishes. A fact subsequent manufactures (such as the high end MIJ builders) have recognized and adopted...to make better guitars than fender ever built in the 60's.

See....if you just logically reason the fullerplast issue through completely...you realize it doesn't really matter. His recipe for the body finishes of the 50's guitars makes the best fender style guitars.

Of course if you're the type of person that believes no kind or amount or thickness of finish ever matters...well then....there will be no convincing you either way. In which case you shouldn't really care about stuff like this anyway and should just be playing your cheap thick poly encased whatever brand guitars you like...thinking they are as good as the best examples ever made.


Well well well, a know it all. You sound like you have a hair across your a r s e. I spied the article and copied and pasted it, thinking it would be interesting. Why don't you enlighten us with something that we don't know? Any pre CBS Fenders are out of my price range. I do however have one the first G&L basses produced so I can attest to the fact that Leo knew what he was doing....
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soundcreation
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you posted it like it was yours...now you're back pedaling. How come you didn't say it was copied from somewhere else? Seems like you were the one believing the post..hence why you posted it as your own.. and you were the one with a "hair across...blah blah blah..." whatever that means....lol I mean...most arses do have hair...mine included...

And no...I don't know it all....again...I just apply a little logic to stupid arguments like that "fullerplast proves the nitro hype is BS" argument and that usually does the trick. Anyone can do it.

Enjoy your G&L.
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cashcow
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I should have put quotation marks around the article. Again, it was a copy and paste job. So what if I'm back pedaling? It's my prerogative.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cashcow wrote:
Perhaps I should have put quotation marks around the article. Again, it was a copy and paste job. So what if I'm back pedaling? It's my prerogative.


Well, I'm glad you posted the article - I hadn't read such detail before. But it's both useful to readers and good manners to properly attribute other author's work. So citing the source is at the very least necessary.
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Peter Mac
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought he had given the article its credit. See Section 9, last sentence.
"
....."Thanks to VintageGuitarHQ for this info"......

Peter Mac
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monstermash
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Fender's dirty secret Reply with quote

cashcow wrote:
leaving the guitar with a rock-hard plastic coating that can not be removed with any chemical means.


You don't say? Well lend me a Fender and a vat of high molar sulphuric acid and we'll see about those chemical means.
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cashcow
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 2 Squiers ain't going anywhere.
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funkilius
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just to throw a spanner in the works..........my dad had a mid 60's fender precision bass with sunburst finish......over the years the finish got badly worn and guess what.....underneath was an off white finish as hard as concrete (what was this?)....a few more knocks to this finish and it started to chip in place........it didn't dent at all.......was this fullerplast with a colour?
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cashcow
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No it's not a color. Part of the finishing process. For a long time Fender was using DuPont auto paint on their guitars. Don't know how long that lasted. Fender also painted over a lot of earlier sunburst models. So that off white color may have been the original color.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nswcAPvH0P8
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funkilius
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok....i understand what you're saying but i'd imagine it would very difficult to get a sunburst finish from an off white finish?????
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cashcow
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not necessarily. White isn't darker than sunburst - it's the other way around. But I hear what you're saying. The majority of old Fenders were mostly sunbursts that they colored and not the other way around.

Last edited by cashcow on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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