Restoring Antique Guitars with Sorokin Guitars

July 3, 2018 | Posted by Lexie Bragg


Restoring and refinishing antique guitars is a labor of love.  Traditional strippers are hazardous, so when Alex Sorokin of Sorokin Guitars needs a paint stripper he can trust on his delicate projects, he turns to BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane Stripper to help him get down to the bare wood and start again.


Tell us about your shop, who you are, and what you do?
My shop occupies a portion of my home's garage. I consider myself to be a hobby woodworker and guitar builder; focusing most of my attention on building instruments inspired/heavily-influenced by those made in the 1950’s. I also do restoration work, which is where finish stripping came into the picture. 


How did you find our product and why did you choose it?
My wife had purchased a 1950’s BiltRite desk in rough shape, for us to try and restore for use in our home office. Up here in Canada, Lee Valley is my go to store for high-quality woodworking products. I was purchasing some polymerized Tung oil, to finish this desk in, and mentioned the task of needing to strip it first. They’d suggested using this soy based stripper they had in stock, saying that it was super safe compared to conventional strippers and quite effective. Being that this was in the fall/winter, and I was working indoors, I figured I’d give it a shot. It worked amazingly well on the desk; especially in the areas where gravity would work against me, it would just gob on like marmalade. So when the need came up a few years later, where I needed to strip the nitrocellulose lacquer off of a guitar I had built, I knew the first thing to try was the left over stripper I had on hand from the desk project.

Tell us about the project you used our product for?

The nature of what I do, building guitars and then strategically aging those builds to emulate vintage patina, weather checking, etc, sometimes requires hitting the reset button. One of my builds which I had finished in this sparkly type purple vintage car colour wasn’t quite perfect, so I needed to try my hand at it again. The difficulty with vintage style guitars is that the ABS plastic used for the bodies binding and side dots can melt away with conventional strippers. The ABS plastics seem to fair pretty well against this product; however, the celluloid used for inlays is unfortunately prone to melting away, but no where nearly as bad as with the other strippers, so you actually have some time to work around and right up to those parts and wipe any away should any drip onto it. I’ll always test with scrap in the future, but knowing that it won’t instantly destroy these parts is quite comforting. 
What was your experience with BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane Stripper?

In both cases this product worked as advertised, emitted next to no odor, cleaning up easily and quickly. I was able to apply it to the instrument, and let it do its thing for 30-40 min; allowing me to continue working in the same space on other tasks. I instantly shared this new found trade secret with all of my fellow guitar techs and builders. I will respray this guitar in the coming months, so no after pics of it yet, unfortunately. 




We love seeing the unique projects our customers like Alex Sorokin create using BLUE BEAR's Paint & Urethane Stripper.  BLUE BEAR Paint and Urethane Stripper is a tried and true stripper, used by consumers for over two decades. This consumer trusted remover effectively removes multiple layers of paint, varnish, enamel, urethane,  other single-component coatings, and lead based paint. Made with soybeans, Paint and Urethane Stripper is a safe, low odor, non-caustic, green coating remover for any DIY project.


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