1. Welcome to TalkBass, the Premier Bass Player Community and Information Source. We've been uniting the Low End Since 1998!

    We're glad you've found us. Register a 100% Free Account to post and unlock tons of features.

Advice or tutorial for hand rub poly finish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rickett Customs, Sep 24, 2007.


  1. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Already have some of the components, just wondering if there was a past tutorial for a hand rubbed polyurethane finish.
    I have,

    3m rub on polyurethane.

    microfiber pads

    acetone

    a bass to do it on

    000 grade steelwool

    polishing compound, to say the minimum.
     
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Disclosures:
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Interesting. I didn't know you could rub on poly. I use a wipe on poly as the first coat then go to spray poly from there.
     
  3. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Disclosures:
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    I've always done a hand rubbed oil and wax finish... never tried a hand rubbed poly.

    Based on the list of materials you've compiled above, I would make one suggested change.

    Go with some really fine grit wet/dry sandpaper over steel wood. Steel wood sheds all over the place and makes a big mess. Yes, with really fine wet/dry sandpaper you'll still get sanding dust and what not, but you won't use up 10,000 (okay, I exaggerated.... only 9567) tack rags cleaning it all up.

    Also, if you're wanting a hand rubbed feel but with a poly type finish, I'd also suggest using satin poly instead of gloss or semi-gloss.
     
  4. 62bass

    62bass

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    The polyurethane varnishes sold for consumer use, like Minwax and Varathane, do not rub out evenly to a high gloss like conventional alkyd varnishes do. The commercial cataluyzed finishes used by production companies do, but applying them without the experience and proper equipment is beyond your abilities.

    Minwax, Varathane, Deft polyurethane etc, will polish up to a satin gloss with oooo steel wool and wax after they've hardened enough. I usually give it a week or more. You can get a nice looking finish that way, but you won't get that mirror like piano finish with these products. If you let the last coat dry naturally you'll get a high gloss allright but it doesn't look all that good because of dust and other little imperfections that are impossible to avoid. Spraying the last coat, if you do it well, can help give a glossier finish that looks pretty good. But nothing really beats that hand rubbed mirror gloss if that's what you want.

    For that I use an alkyd varnish, like Benjamin Moore One Hour Clear Finish. It's a lot of work to get it perfect. You have to build up many coats, sanding very lightly with 400 grit between coats to take out imperfections, before you put on a very level last coat, which you should let dry for at least a couple weeks. Then polish out using the methods you mentioned. Besides the Benjamin Moore I use, there are a few other varnishes which dry hard enough to polish out. Waterlox Gloss is one. Another one is Behlens Rock Hard Table Top varnish. With the Behlens you need to use their own special reducer for thinning rather than standard mineral spirits or naptha. If you can get the Behlen's it's the best. The Behlens uses a phenolic resin and is very hard when fully cured.
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2000
    Location:
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I just did this using Minwax rub-on poly. For the most part it worked great - but it kind of tricky to get the coats to go on uniformly, and any surface imperfections are going to be amplified dramatically under a gloss finish. I'd suggest starting at 320 wet and dry and working your way up to 1500 to get out all the blemishes (and there will be blemishes!) and surface niggles after each coat. And make sure you give it a solid couple of hours at a minimum to dry, otherwise you will just be scraping around tacky gunk. Give it time to - I think I did 8 or 9 coats of Danish Oil following by at least 9 coats of poly with sanding in between. Took nearly a month to get it where I was really happy with it.

    Here's the thread on my build...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=360024&referrerid=6499

    Lonnybass
     
  7. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    beautiful build Lonny,
    Anyways this is what I'll be starting on shortly.....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2000
    Location:
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Sweet! Don't forget, it's better to go with many thin layers than a few heavy ones. And surface prep is absolutely key - you're only going to get as good a surface as the one you left below. So use some mineral spirits and wetsand with increasing fine grits to get out the scuff marks.

    Lonnybass
     

Share This Page