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Removing "pearlaroid" Finish

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I would like to re-finish my pearlarized/oid/MOTS concertina ends, have worked with wood finishes, and can competently do the job, as long as I can remove the original plastic - that's where I need your help.

In some places it can be lifted slightly, but others seem as if the MOTS layer is melted into wood, as if it was liquid at first, forming a tight seal.

Any suggestions on how to safely remove this plastic layer, without disturbing wood underneath too much?

Thank you in advance,


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I have no experience of how to remove it, but I can tell you that the traditional accordion finish is celluloid (highly inflammable) and it is applied by first softening it in acetone, so it does kind-of melt into the wood.


Another consideration is that the woodwork is likely to be poorly finished, seeing that it was intended to be covered up in the first place.

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You might try using an old clothes iron, using a sheet of thin teflon between the plastic and the iron to keep the iron from sticking to the plastic. Starting with low heat, rub the iron to the plastic and see if this would relax the bond of the plastic to the wood. Slowly raise the temperature and see what happens.



Wade :rolleyes:

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traditional accordion finish is celluloid (highly inflammable) and it is applied by first softening it in acetone


Very highly inflammable, more like semi-explosive. If you remember the way that the trail of gunpowder burns in old westerns (where they are about to blow up the abandoned mine with the heroine/children/dog etc inside), well it burns like that. Chemically its very similar to cordite. I have used old accordion parts as firelighters. Very effective.


Acetone is not very nice stuff either. I believe that the traditional accordion makers method of softening uses a mixture of water and acetone. This means that the softening of the celluloid is more controlable. They also used an adhesive made of celluloid scraps dissolved in acetone. This might be what you are seeing the remains of. If you get the red stuff off and the wood underneath is too rough to refinish, I can supply you with plain black celluloid to put back on!



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