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Burl Walnut finishing lesson

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by camthebassman, Dec 8, 2013.


  1. camthebassman

    camthebassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    I'm building a Warmoth parts bass. The neck is "wenge" and I was not happy with the appearance of the headstock, so I have veneered burl walnut to the headstock.

    [​IMG]

    This is my first experience working with burl and I'm struggling to develop a finishing schedule. The goal is a gloss clear finish.

    First attempt (on test pieces):
    Light sand 220
    wipe with mineral spirits
    Minwax lacquer sanding sealer - one or two coats

    This dried to a chaulky white..normal?

    I wiped it down with Mineral spirits and sprayed a few coats of Minwax gloss laquer

    The walnut is absorbing the laquer like a sponge.

    Is there a better technique and/or products that I can use to seal the burl to allow build coats? I do quite a bit of boat building and I'm tempted to reach for the epoxy or spar varnish.

    Any thoughts? Thank you!

    Cam
     
  2. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    Limestone, TN
    Epoxy would be the way to go, in my book...FWIW.
     
  3. camthebassman

    camthebassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Epoxy - sand - shellac - sand - lacquer ?
     
  4. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    Limestone, TN
    Naw...just epoxy over the burl...it's strong enough to protect it, with a finish that won't yellow. I would use at least a couple of coats...sanding between coats to get it level.
     
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  6. camthebassman

    camthebassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    thanks. I use clear epoxy for bright work on boats with great success. One coat on the test piece last night....working as expected. Will require multiple coats as the type I use is very low viscosity.

    Thanks for the input. I'll post some shots as things progress.
     
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    Burl and spalted woods are the hardest to finish because the wood absorbs the finish unevenly.
     
  8. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    Limestone, TN
  9. LightGroove

    LightGroove

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Location:
    Happy Bottom, VA
    I agree on the epoxy. For a small project like this Id go over to your local hardware or art store and pick up some of that "counter top" self leveling epoxy. A small box should last you quite some time.
     
  10. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    Limestone, TN
    ^Yup...I couldn't agree more!^
     

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