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Natural Satin vs Painted High Polish finishes: Which one easier to refinish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Matthew_84, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Hi All,

    The bass I'm currently looking at comes in either a natural satin finish, or a painted high polish finish.

    I may be getting two of these basses (one fretless, one fretted), and want the fretless to stay at the natural satin, but want the fretted to be stained to a darker colour, and then covered with glossy, possibly poly, finish.

    Out of the natural satin and painted high polish finish, which one would yield better results?

    I know the satin finish will seep into the wood a bit, and that could cause an issue, so I should sand into the wood more. The sealer coat under the high polish's paint should seep in as well, but I'm not sure if it would be more or less.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Thought about it and realized the natural satin model will likely have a nicer grain to it, so I'll just go with that to be safe.
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  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    We need more information to answer your question. If it is a satin poly finish then it will be no different. It is the same material as the high gloss with either a matting agent to so it drys satin or the gloss has been knocked down with sand paper. Either way it is a hard shell finish.

    If the satin is an oil finish then it is just rubbed into the wood with very little built up on top of the wood.
  5. Thanks Hopkins.

    It's a Warwick bass with an alder body. I'm pretty sure it will be an oil rubbed in. Possibly with some melted wax put on top and rubbed in.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Ok, in that case. I recommend a couple wipe downs with a liberal amount of grease and wax remover before you even get started.
  7. Thanks Hopkins any special kind of grease and wax remover?

    And after that, I just sand it down right to the raw wood, before applying my stain?

    Is it recommended to use any mineral spirits or acetone to clean the wood before applying the stain? Do you think I may need to use some grain-filler? I'll be completely honest, I'm not really sure what the benefit of grain filler is.

    Thanks again!
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    You can get grease and wax remover from any auto parts or auto paint supply. I would use it before starting, and again before you start your finishing process. Grain filler is used when you want a high gloss finish, or even a dead flat satin finish. As the name implies it fills the grain and pores in the wood.
  9. Great, thanks Hopkins! Sounds like I'll want some grain filler then too.

    Just a quick follow-up question regarding the grease and wax remover, you say to use it again before starting the finishing process. Just to clarify, do mean after sanding, before applying any grain filler and stain, or after stain before applying glossy poly finish?

    Thanks Hopkins.
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Use it before the stain. Its a solvent so it may lift some of the stain out of the wood if used after
  11. pasco jacorius

    pasco jacorius

    Jan 4, 2010
    Natural satin all the way(my next bass by Tom Marceau) :



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