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F Bass: BARE! What to do?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by T. Brookins, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. Due to some unforseen circumstances, My F Bass is now without paint. This is a player's bass and won't be let go. I need a strong, hard, clear finish over the Ceruse job I plan to do. Should I use wood hardener or a thinned epoxy/superglue as a sealer under the finish to help with inevitable future dings? will spar polyurethane be enough? I have plenty of time and can get professional results with my effort. I've tried two auto shops. NEVER again. They are used to painting large, FLAT surfaces, all due respect.

    I gigged the bass carefully and COULD hear the difference. It sounded BETTER with a finish on it!! More focus, more bite, more TONE!!

    HELP! Need a finish!

    Thanks TBers!
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I can't help you but I'd really like to know how your bass lost its coating.
  3. GRoberts


    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I'd be willing to bet the coating was lost because of the thin Nitro-cellulose lacquer that George Furlanetto uses when he builds F Basses. The Nitro finish on F Basses seems to be very succeptible to scuffing, surface wear etc. I am fairly gentle on my basses, but my F Bass looked like it was few years old after about 6-9 months of steady gigging. My Roscoe (hard polysester clear coat) looked brand new after a couple years of similar playing. I attribute that difference to the finish.

    That said, I LOVE my F Bass infinitely better than most any other bass I've ever played. So I live with the 'player wear' that is unavoidable. It's that Good of a bass.
  4. bassksun


    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    Minwax poly is pretty durable stuff. I'm at about 30 coats of minwax poly on top and about 10 coats of Spar on the fb. Spar is looks more like maple syrup and poly looks more like honey amber. So I used spar for the fb only.

    I like Tru Oil undrneath

    There are sooooo many coatings out there though.
  5. THANKS all!!
    I can't lie. Didn't want to dis' the finish right off the bat, but on the body, it was in deplorable condition! I TRIED to retouch it with lacquer, but the finish, so difficult to level out, was not worth the work. So with chemicals, it was completely gone in 30 minutes. This bass, Besides the finish, is in excellent condition. It has a new life and shall have a formidable finish. NO OIL on top, at least, and NO NITRO LACQUER, which is not solvent resistant enough for me and my pyrotechnics.


    WIPE ON?

    So many coatings indeed!

  6. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The polyurethane that you can easily buy in paint departments, such as Minwax Wipe On Poly, is not at all as hard a finish as the polyurethanes and other hard coatings used by manufacturers in their production basses. The Minwax, and similar finishes from other companies is simpley a thinned out varnish with some polyurethane resin added to it. It's designed for easy application by persons with very little experience in finishing and who lack the spray equipment needed for the commercial coatings. If the hardest finish possible for your F bass is what you want, hardware store poly is not the way to go. Do a search and look at the catalyzed coatings designed to be sprayed on, such as conversion varnish and other 2 part finishes.

    The Minwax Wipe On Poly can give you a nice looking finish if applied very carefully, and when it fully hardens, like after a couple months, is fairly durable, but it still will mark and scratch easily compared to the commercial coatings. I've used it on a couple refinished instruments and pieces of furniture. It's biggest benefits are ease of application, quick drying time and a fairly chemical resistant coating with decent waterproofing qualities. It unfortunately is not very durable under strong UV light so I don't use it on wood trim in homes where there is prolonged exposure to strong daylight. Another drawback with these types of polyurethanes is you can't easily rub them out to a high gloss like you can with some traditional varnishes. The spray on polyurethanes are basically the same but designed to be sprayed on from a can.

    Spar varnish is softer and has a UV blocker added. It's designed for outdoor use where there are extreme vaiations in humidity and temperature, such as on boats. It's good for those applications. I wouldn't bother with it on a bass. If I wanted a tough coating for a fingerboard I'd use something else because it'll mark quite easily.

    There are a few guys on this forum who have the equipment and experience needed to do a good job with the very durable types of commercial coatings and they'll be along shortly to give you advice about that.
  7. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses

    Is your body made of ash? If it's not you'll never get a Ceruse finish out of it.

    Are the pores of the ash sealed? If they are sealed you won't be able to do the Ceruse finish either. You'll probably have to sand the bass through the sealer layer to be able to do it.

    The way this finishing technique is done is by painting the ash body a certain pigmented colour. That colour will penetrate in the pores, let it dry. You then use coloured putty to fill the pores on top of your pigmented coats and wipe off the filler that didn't penetrate in the body. Once all done and dry, clear coat the thing.

    Google up ceruse on this forum you should find a few threads on the subject. I personally wouldn't try this type of finish without a spray rig. If you're stubborn enough to go through with it though, you can probably buy a compressor for $90 and a spraygun for $25.
  8. bassksun


    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    +1 on the Minwax Wipe On. Don't use it, save it for your Aunt Martha's Jewelry Case or whatever...

    If you can get spray equipment and have the space that is the best thing.

    I don't. I disagree with the poster about Spar and Minwax Poly. I used both. On custom cabinetry, furniture and my wood floors too. It does stay soft until it cures...a week for me at 106 with 5% humidity...YMMV...but when hard and finished correctly both are scratch resistant and retain their gloss.

    You may want to look at a coating like KTM-9.
  9. Do you have experience using spray equipment on the level required for guitar finishing? It's not easy. I've been spraying with pro equipment for two years now and still am not satisfied with my results. Getting a flat surface that is thick, level and glossy like you see most F basses have is very difficult and requires quite the investment in equipment and materials. If you're gonna spray solvent based finishes, then you have the added problem of risk of fire.

    There are some shops that do specialize in finishing guitars. I suggest you google up and go that route.
  10. You've been a great help!

    I just knew a naked F Bass would get some attention!
  11. DSB1


    Mar 8, 2006
    Just curious, why not just have a professional do it? Someone who has experience spraying guitars obviously.

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