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Finish advice

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by RAHAZ, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Oil Finish

    9 vote(s)
  2. Nitrocellulose

    2 vote(s)
  3. Nitrocellulose with sunburst front and back

    0 vote(s)
  1. RAHAZ


    Feb 12, 2007
    As a noob to building I am trying to figure out what finish I want to use on my first Bass. I am only familiar with the laquer finish on my Les Pauls and haven't had the pleasure of trying an oiled instrument for the feel factor. Here are my few questions:

    With an oiled finish will a figured piece of wood still have that "pop"?

    Is it a requirement to wax an oiled instrument? If so, how often?

    I'm just undecided on how I want to finish this http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=405370
  2. allenhumble


    Oct 22, 2004
    Acworth GA.
    I think the maple top would look best with a satin or high gloss finish. IMO.
  3. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Maple looks just fine with a coat (or several coats) of oil... here's an example of a flame maple neck with oil, then a coat of hard wax (I use Briwax):


    Of course, in this case I used Tru-Oil, which is actually a polymerized linseed oil... it builds well enough, and makes a beautiful, repairable finish, although it is not a "hard" finish. I like it. I'm tempted to try a tung oil product called Waterlox... it's a varnish, IIRC, and gets *much* harder than Tru-oil... Of course, Tru-Oil is less expensive, and eaasier to find locally, at least around here.
  4. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The Waterlox is good stuff. More expensive and harder to find for sure but worth the money in my opinion. I'm lucky there is a distributor 20 minutes from me.

    I contacted Waterlox by phone and the nice lady rounded up all the distributors in Canada for me (there aren't many). The high end hardwood flooring places are the best place to look for it.

    It does dry quite hard but with a beautiful satin finish and can be built up with several coats for more protection. The first coat penetrates very well. If you go to the Waterlox website you can see some great examples of it on hardwood flooring and furniture.
  5. RAHAZ


    Feb 12, 2007
    Wow. Looks like the majority is for Oil finish. I didn't see any tutorials or pictorials on doing an oil finish. Does anyone have resources that are online?
  6. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Um... here's the quick and dirty version:

    Wipe it on with a soft cloth (I like the blue automotive paper towels - they're basically lint free, feel and work a lot like cloth, but you don't have to feel bad about throwing them away...), then wipe the excess back off... how long you wait depends on the type of oil you are applying. For Tru-Oil, I just sand the finish pretty fine (at least 600 grit, for that neck I went up to 12,000 grit Micro-Mesh, which is ~2000 grit), wipe the oil on, then immediately wipe it back off...
  7. What he said, only I like using pieces of old cotton shirts.
  8. RAHAZ


    Feb 12, 2007
    Thanks for the down and dirty. I'll look around at some of the local shops for availability.

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