View Full Version : How to remove tape residue from lacquer?

06-23-2010, 09:44 AM
Last night I taped off part of the soundboard where I was gluing on the bridge and now I have a bunch of tape residue on my newly lacquered top. How can I get the residue off without harming the lacquer?
Lacquer is deft spray can gloss, about 10 coats sprayed about 12 days ago.

It was the painters blue tape, 3M scotch, not the cheap stuff.

Ahnko Honu
06-23-2010, 09:58 AM
Wow that's weird, usually the blue tape does not leave any residue. I have used WD-40 spray lube on a soft cotton cloth to remove adhesive residue in sensitive surfaces using very little pressure with no ill effect though YMMV.

06-23-2010, 10:05 AM
Naptha or lighter fluid. It wont react with the lacquer finish. I think the darker blue painters tape will leave residue whereas the lighter low tack tape wont.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-23-2010, 10:32 AM
What you're experiencing is pretty common. Masking tape can be murder on a lacquer finish. If it were simply tape residue it would be no problem. In that case lighter fluid, naptha, anything like that would work. But I believe in your situation the adhesive on the tape has reacted with the lacquer itself, leaving a foot print that has marred the surface of the lacquer. Lacquer and blue tape don't mix! Especially with the rattle can lacquers, that stuff is just too soft. Even with the instrument lacquers I use, if I have to mask off an area I will leave the tape on for no more than five minutes. Any longer than that and it will likely leave a foot print. No big deal if you are planning to buff out anyway, but it still requires wet sanding. There are different kinds of frisket films available that may be more suited to masking the bridge area. I have yet to try them but they sound like they would work because they are a lot less tacky.
The other problem with lacquers like Deft is that they can pick up an impression from the case strap. One time I did a monthly workshop with about 25 students and because time was a factor I had them shoot Deft on their ukuleles. After hanging for a month they were finished and put in their cases (the foam core zippered ones) where they sat for another month until they were delivered to the charity they were going to. The night before they were to be delivered I noticed that 75% of the ukes had strap impressions left on the lower bouts. I cut all the straps off the cases and spent the rest of the night buffing those impressions out.
Deft, Watco, or any of those home improvement type sprays really shouldn't be used on an instrument IMO. It stays soft forever.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-23-2010, 10:40 AM
BTW, please be aware that there are two kinds of Scotch blue tape. They both look alike from the outside of the roll and are sold side by side on the shelf. The tape you want for masking on lacquer has an orange and blue colored core. It is 60 day release #2080. It is medium/low tack.
The other blue tape has a white/blue core and it is 14 day release #2090. It is 14 day release.
Scotch could have made two different colors of blue tape but that would've made our lives too easy.
With either tape you still need to be watchful for the problems I mentioned but the orange core stuff will give you fewer problems.

06-23-2010, 11:50 AM
Thanks for the quick replies! The naptha seemed to do the trick, although it mostly just softened the gum and spread it around in a nice even sheen! I had to wipe it with the naptha and then quickly wipe it off with a clean dry section of the rag. It went really slow but I think I got most of it off.
When I used to build tennis courts and gym floors, we used to use a 3M tape that was light green and really expensive. It came from an auto paint supply store and I seem to remember it was formulated for use with lacquer. Although maybe that just meant that the gum was just lacquer resistant.