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Finish 101

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rick Martin, Jul 18, 2001.


  1. I've ordered a Swamp Ash body from Warmoth for my P bass project. Any advice on finishing the raw wood? I'm trying to decide between going with Lake Placid Blue Nitrocellulose aerasol spray laquer from Guitar Reranch or going with the natural finish. If I were to leave it natural, is it necessary to use the nitrocellulose clear laquer or is polyurethane OK? What about the wood finish products found in the local hardware store. Things like Minwax stain and seal products. Why use nitrocellulose finish?
     
  2. You could definitely use poly rather than the nitro, the big F does! The nitro would take longer to build a perfect surface since the poly has a bunch more solids in it. The nitro finish is, in some circles, considered the premier guitar finish because of it's thin, hard, and tone friendly characteristics but I'm of the opinion that solid bodies don't benefit from nitro as much as a hollow or chambered instrument.

    Some of the stuff in the hardware stores is good and some of it's junk. I use Minwax stains for coloring but recently I'm really into polymerized tung oil or Tru-Oil as a top finish. Aside from ease of use (damn near idiot proof - good thing), it makes about as rich and beautiful a finish as you can imagine. I've seen some guys that have taken it to a level of super high gloss and it's incredible. Your ash body (perhaps stained) would take on a very nice aura if you were to do an oil finish. It's just going to boil down to a personal preference. But if you want everyone to gasp when you pull your axe from it's case then go with the oil top coats.

    Trust Me! :rolleyes:
     
  3. I spoke with Bill from Guitar Reranch and he was all about Nitrocellulose being the only way to go. We talked through the process of first using a grain filler, then a sandable sealer spray, then several coats of a pigmented laquer spray (either a tinted clear or a color) and then several coats of a clear nitro laquer spray. Lots and lots of sanding between coats. Yow! The materials to do this add up to over $60. It sounds like Dr. Bone is suggesting a Minwax stain and then Tru-oil. Is that all there is to it? What about the grain filler and the sandable sealer?
     
  4. You can use grain fillers but check the labels as to whether to use them before or after staining. My vote would be before. Other than that you've pretty much got the idea. It would also be a good idea to check the results on a piece of scrap. Perhaps you could get Warmoth to send you a piece. If not you can probably find some ash at most hardwood suppliers.
     
  5. What sort of finish do Warwicks have? It sure is different from the glossy Fender style.
     
  6. Warwicks have an oil finish. This type is great because small imperfections are less visible and scratches and marrs are easily rubbed out.
     
  7. Would that be tung oil?
     
  8. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I've used polymerized tung oil, the only tung oil that really dries hard, and I've used Minwax wipe on polyurethane and have gotten good results with both, but prefer the poly, it's much easier to work with, relatively speaking. What I would do prior to applying the finish is to get the body as smooth as possible. There's a product called micro mesh that contains very fine abrasives that will get the wood so smooth you would think that it was finished.