Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

StGB
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 am
Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3072Post StGB
Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:05 am

Got myself a beautiful 2018 Scissortail, and I love it! Fantastic sound, super responsive. It'll be a good teacher to me! But.. and I know I'm a heretic and an outlier with this... I'd like to remove the label to either reposition out of view or to keep in a sleeve separate from the guitar. Collings says that they use spray adhesive for the label, and that naphtha is the way to go for removal, but that the label likely won't survive. Has anyone else done this who might share their experience? I'd be grateful for your help!

P.S. I know it'll affect resale value. That's fine. I just don't want to damage the guitar, and I'd love to keep the label intact. I simply prefer the look of the instrument without it. (Also, I love the Collings label.)

Frank Sanns
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Location: Pittsburgh

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3078Post Frank Sanns
Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:05 am

Naphtha is a very unique solvent. Unlike solvents like acetone that dissolves a wide range of materials, naphtha (hexane) only goes after a fairly narrow set of material. The rest of materials it leaves untouched.

Smudges on delicate photographs can be cleaned off with naphtha and not bother the substrate. A laser or offset printed label should hold up fine to it. You can generously wet the label with lighter fluid or other clean naphtha source and it should come right off. Avoid using too much on the wood though as some resins can be dissolved and can leave a ring.

StGB
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 am
Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3079Post StGB
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:04 pm

Thank you so much, Frank! I really appreciate your help! Is the best way to apply the naphtha with a rag? Presumably I shouldn't just squirt it on the label? (I also want to disturb the handwriting on the label as much as possible.)

Frank Sanns
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Location: Pittsburgh

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3080Post Frank Sanns
Sat Nov 14, 2020 1:15 am

Being a chemist, I know what should work. Being a chemist, I also know it is better to confirm what you know before moving forward.

I took two Sharpies and then dabbed a generous amount of naphtha onto a standard piece of tablet paper. The lines on the paper did not run and neither did either of the Sharpie colors. While I do not know exactly what kind of marker Collings uses, it is my belief that most permanent markers will be fine for a short period of time with naphtha. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER SOLVENT as it will not turn out so well for anybody reading.

I would suggest getting a lint free cloth or cotton ball and get the label fairly wet but not sopping. It should come off fairly quickly and with no pulling. The naphtha should dissolve the adhesive quickly. Dry the label quickly in air so it has the solvent on it for the shortest time necessary to get it free.
Attachments
CollingsHexane.jpg

StGB
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 am
Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3085Post StGB
Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:20 pm

Oh, are you awesome or what? Thank you, Frank! :) You rock! I will make the attempt in a few days and document the whole thing. I really appreciate you going the extra mile to help me!

StGB
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 am
Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3093Post StGB
Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:45 pm

So... here's a wrinkle: Naphtha is illegal in (Southern?) California. Which I found out after ordering a can online and getting the order canceled by the vendor. A quick Google search tells me it's not going to be available in stores, either. Is there an alternative that you think is viable? Like Ronosol or Zippo Lighter fluid? Or do I have to drive to Nevada and become a naphtha bootlegger?

At least the cotton balls arrived. :D

Frank Sanns
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Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3094Post Frank Sanns
Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:12 am

Love California but their regulations often make no sense at all. In some circumstances naphtha can be used as a solvent to make illegal drugs so the rest of us have to pay the price. Of course regular gasoline can be substituted for drug manufacture so again, it makes not sense to outlaw a very low use item that does not significantly contribute to hydro carbon emissions to the environment.

What you need is the chemical called Hexane. It is very pure burning substance. It can be found in products like Coleman camping fuel for stoves and lanterns. It can also be found in Zippo lighter FLUID.

You DO NOT want Ronson butane. That is a gas and is not what you want.

With all of that said, please read the labels of either the Coleman camping fuel or the Zippo lighter fluid containers so they say naphtha or hexane. There are lots of substitutions going on these days with other compositions. Substitution will not give a good result so avoid all else.

StGB
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 am
Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3095Post StGB
Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:59 am

Thank you so much, Frank! I really appreciate your help!

StGB
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Real Name: Stefan Bucher

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3148Post StGB
Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:12 am

So here's the report: After talking with an art conservator I tried two less toxic methods first:

1. I heated a palette knife (bent at a 90• angle) on an iron, and transferred the heat to the label to soften the glue. The only effect of this was making the one slightly loose corner stick completely.

2. I tried 99% isopropyl alcohol. I touched a soaked Q-tip to the writing to make sure the alcohol wouldn't harm the handwriting. No ink transfer. The writing was unaffected, so I soaked the label with a cotton ball. No effect whatsoever.

3. Not having access to naphtha in California, I got lighter fluid—Ronsonol. Other guitar people advised against it, though, as they changed the formulation, and as you suggested, Frank, I checked the label. No mention of naphtha or hexane. Didn't want to chance it.

4. Feeling very sad to have to go this route, I bought a can of Bestine. Terribly toxic stuff that I learned to fear in art school, but it had been recommended by a colleague, and it's heptane, so that seemed good. I couldn't get a respirator, but strapped on a KN-95 mask and set up the guitar on the porch. Did the Q-tip test to make sure. Writing was fine. A soaked cotton ball and 30 seconds later, the label came off like a dream. Perfect result!

Left the guitar to dry and off-gas for a while, and now I have a pristine label in my files and a beautifully de-labeled guitar with the flamed maple doing its gorgeous flame maple thing!

Thank you again for your help, Frank!

Image

Image

Frank Sanns
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Location: Pittsburgh

Re: Help Removing Waterloo Label Safely?

Post: # 3149Post Frank Sanns
Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:32 pm

Back in the day, the table on a can meant that is what was in the can. In these days of regulations for air pollution emissions and illicit drug manufacture, you really have to read the contents. One never really knows what they actually put in there unless you read the fine print.

I did not want to see you destroy the table so I was very hesitant call out a particular product. I knew the chemical that you needed but did not know the which brand, of what lablel, in which state, at a given time would be that. Did I say that life used to be simpler.

As solvents, hexane and heptane are essentially completely interchangeable. They are straight chain molecules of carbon and hydrogen only. Hexane is six carbons long and heptane is 7 carbons long. The only difference is that heptane evaporates just a little slower so it gives a little working time. The emissions to the atmosphere are the same as is feasibility for illicit drug manufacture so I am not sure why California bans one but not the other but I digress.

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Now everybody on the forum is going to be doing this to their guitars too. Well, maybe not. ;-)

Glad it all worked out for you.

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