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Clear Finish on Maple and Swamp Ash

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by top028, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    I Just bought a new maple/maple neck and Swamp ash body from warmoth. I was wondering what is the best clear finish to go with. I was thinking about buying some of the clear laquer from STEWART MACDONALD, but I have some MINWAX clear varnish at home. THe minwax seems to penatrate the wood and make a "deeper" finish than the normal guitar finish, but does it protect as good? tell me your thoughts
    thanks rob
  2. Leave the Minwax for the furniture!

    Any of the products offered by the supply houses will do a good job in the hands of someone experienced. All of them have the potential to really screw up when a rookie uses them. The difference is the amount of time spent researching the selection and application. The spray bombs will do an "adequate" job but cleanliness and good wood preparation are a must. Costlier equipment and more spraying experience are required for the more intricate finishes and it goes on and on. It truly boils down to making up for lack of tool money by really learning the less expensive ways to a great finish.

    You might want to try www.reranch.com for an even wider selection of this type of finish. Especially look at the gallery to see how some other do-it-yerselfers accomplished it.

    My current favorite finish is one done with penetrating, polymerized tung oil or Tru-Oil. I can put this type of finish on after staining and I am always impressed with the depth and beauty in the result. Aside from the staining, there isn't anything difficult with the application - a monkee could do it. If your top has got some flame in it the oil finish will really bring out that figure. It is possible to get a nice bright satin without much exertion other than a few coats. A more polished look can be attained (especially on your maple top) with a bit more attention.

    But this might be more than you wanted to know! ;)
  3. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    Thanks Hambone I went to the site and checked out some of the pics. They had a swamp ash tele that turned out just how I wanted with nitrocellulose finish. I bought some blue dye and some of thier nitro in gloss for the body, satin for the neck, and some sanding sealer. Their prices are considerably better than stewmac too. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again
  4. Leave the Tru-Oil for the rifle stocks. :p

    Seriously though, I've heard great things about Tru-Oil finishes and it is certainly an option to consider but don't discount Minwax. Check out this TBL article written by Karl Hoyt titled DIY oil/poly finish. Karl Hoyt is a master luthier and certainly knows what he's talking about. I've yet to try this technique but I plan to on the Gecko bass I'm going to be building (when I get the $).

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