Clean and shine question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by De-Spy, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. De-Spy


    Jan 13, 2005
    Hello forum,
    I'm somewhat new to DB but, not to other instruments both new and old. I recently aquired a late 50's Kay M1. I'd like to clean and polish it to start with since the bass is pretty much set up and running. However, I'm sure I'll have other questions in the future!
    I poked around the forum a bit and found that many have suggested OZ or Gaurdsman polish. I was unable to find either but, picked up a can of SC Johnson paste wax because it seemed to be the closest thing I could find. Says it "enriches, beautifies and protects wood, metal leather and plastics".
    The finish on my bass has some flaking, and looks like it needs a good cleaning and shining. I'm gonna try the Simple Green as suggested here to clean. Do you think it would be alright to shine the bass with paste wax? Everything else I could find was an oil. Thanx...
  2. I use standard furniture polish. Pledge usually, the lemon one is nice!
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Whatever you do, just make sure whatever you use does not contain silicone. The paste wax you bought probably doesn't, but it's just that - wax - which will have relatively little cleaning effect on the instrument. It's a Kay, so it's wearing nitro lacquer; You may want to try Meguiar's #9, "Swirl Remover 2.0." It's a very mildly abrasive polish that will clean and take care of some of the finer scratches in the finish while leaving behind a pleasing shine. You can use it by hand, and it's "paintable," meaning it doesn't contain silicones. Your auto parts stores should have it.
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Oh yeah -- as an alternative, Meguiar's #5 (New Car Glaze) also does a pretty nice job and is, again, silicone-free.
  5. Just curious Brent - what damage does silicone do? - its in a hell of al lot of products!
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Including Pamela Anderson. :D
  7. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Silicone poses problems for guys like me, cuz finish doesn't stick to silicone, which can be tough to thoroughly remove. Meanwhile, it poses bigger problems to luthiers in that, if it gets in seams, cracks, or other areas needing or eventually needing repair, it's a doozey of a time getting things to stick back together and stay stuck. In short, it poses potential problems if any refinishing or touchup is ever needed, and causes big headaches for the guys who keep your bass in one piece. Save the silicone for your basin, tub & tile!
  8. De-Spy


    Jan 13, 2005
    Hold on just a second here guys. Are you saying I "shouldn't", (given the opportunity) let Pamela Anderson get on my bass?!?
  9. dvmweb


    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    You guys are just too goldarn funny. I would, and, I mean I would pay to see that. Especially if you could edit out those little incisions near the underwires. :hyper:

    Silicone is not "organic". Wood, of course, is. What really happens? ie. if you use silicone vs. carnuba wax?

    Saturn, Titan, Huygens, Pics. too cool, eh?

    Walt MI/US
  10. There's this stuff i'm always talking about called Johnson & Johnson Scratch's just furniture polish with a little stain in it. This is for scratches only! But, i've used it for years and it works really nice. Do be careful with lighter color woods because it will darken. In fact, if you do want to darken your bass color, this'll do it. Don't let your wife see that you're using this stuff in the house, because if you spill it ....good-bye carpet.
  11. Don't let your wife see you using Johnson & Johnson products with Pammy on the carpet or that could be goodbye too.

    Good points Brent (and Pammy) - yeah nuttin sticks to silicone - I'll try and keep my hands off it :D .
  12. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I use "Howard Feed-and-Wax" which is mix of beeswax and orange oil I get at Rockler's. My luthier- Rob WIlson- said sure, it won't hurt anything. He prefers cleaning only and no wax. It cleans and leaves a very thin layer of wax.

    (For my fiddle, mandolin and acoustic guitars I use plain orange oil- also from Rockler's. )
  13. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    My brother's cello teacher always said the best way to cover scratches in older instruments was to chop a brazil nut in half then rub that onto the scratch. Anyone here ever heard of/tried doing this?
  14. A singer I play with put a hot cup on a polished beech coffee table of mine and told me this would put right the white ring she caused. Next week she turns up with half a Brazil nut out of her breakfast cereal. Made no darn difference in this case. :( She assuers me its a well know thing :confused: .

    The cleaning method I haven't got the bottle to try is the one reccomended in my copy of the Evolving Bass Player by Rufus Reid. Using super fine wire wool and handy-oil or some such, one small aptch at a time in circular motion and wiping away the oil afterwards. Neither have I seen anyone mention it other than in the aforementioned tome.
  15. Nope, but we use to rub Brazil nuts on our gut strings to lubricate them.
  16. De Spy,
    Try your local Ace or True Value hardware stores. They are the local purveyor of Guardsman polish in the sticks here outside of Richmond. I haven't found Oz polish anywhere yet.

    Still can't get that vision of Pammy on a rug with a Brazil nut.
  17. jlattuada


    Apr 25, 2001
    Richmond, Va
  18. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    I know a lot of string players who use xylene to clean off the rosin gunk. It will not hurt a spirit varnish but it will eat lacquer. Once the greyish-black gritty stuff is gone I use a "meth lab" version of French polish to remove the scratches. Maybe it's not a legit practice, but I take a half a jar of denatured alcohol, add about a third that amount linseed oil and the same of shellac. I shake it up before each dampening of the rag. Use judiciously; it literally melts down the varnish and re-destributes it so apply very lightly and don't let the rag stop on the bass and create a light spot. Since it does dissolve the varnish you don't want to remove any more than what it takes to cover the nearest scratch. You will be surprised what crud comes up out of the finish though. Then you have to go back and polish extremely lightly to remove the swirl marks and leave a smooth gloss. It blends in all the little dings and minimizes large worn areas in the varnish, and will remove the frosty white spots from sweating on the bass. The new thin layer of shellac makes it less vulnerable to new sweaty frosty spots (I've tried sweating on it to make sure) :smug: It takes some practice, so start with the bottom of the bass. Once you get it to "come back" with a smooth gloss, adding layers deepens the gloss. It takes a couple evenings to get all around the bass. I have heard people talk about doing this procedure and read some pretty extensive articles about it but never actually seen it done the right way.
  19. Doing a French Polish is an art. I would not advise trying this without many months of practice!
  20. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    I'm sure that's true...I forgot to mention that I have only polished on a couple of instruments that were low-value and the varnish was in such bad condition that a mishap with the alcohol would not have made them any worse! One had been gone over with Minwax stain as a scratch cover and the "French" polish did take that all off. I would definitely feel too inexperienced to try it on a fine instrument.