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Finish Question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kelly Lee, Apr 23, 2005.


  1. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I have seen a couple of finishes that have really caught my eye and was wondering what type they are and how they (if anything special) are done.

    Here they are.
    #1) Lefay Pangton. I won't post the pic as it is huge so a link will have to do. BTW, can anybody tell me what kind of it might be? Their site is in German and can't find what wood they used. Here is the pic: http://lefay.de/albums/Pangton-5/IM002239.jpg

    #2) MTD 435. Here is the pic: http://i17.ebayimg.com/01/i/03/dd/d9/55_3.JPG

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'm considering something similar for my first self-built bass. Thanks.
     
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    There is no mention of what the body woods are on the LeFay site. Since they are custommade, it can be many things, but it looks like swamp ash to me.

    Finish:12 Schicht deckend/transparent lackiert oder Nitroballenmattierung mit Ölfinish

    That is: 12 layers covering (meaning solid-colour, non-transparent) or transparent lacquer; or nitro-??? (nitroballs? :eyebrow: ) matte-ing with oil finish.

    It looks like unfilled grain, too (you see the grooves in the grain of the wood; typical of swamp ash, once again).

    The MTD looks also like swamp ash - and Mike Tobias usually builds ash-bodied basses, so it is very possibly it. And a wenge neck, too.
    The grain is filled, and it looks like an oil finish to me. (I don't see any lacquer-gloss or fingerprint/scratch marks)


    For grain-fill vs non-grain-fill, look here (scroll a few posts down):

    http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=9113&st=165

    Also, you may find some more interesting things on that forum

    Good luck with your project!
     
  3. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    That LeFay looks to be wenge with a blue dye. Pretty cool! Never seen that before... :)
     
  4. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    WHY oh Why did you have to give me that link Frank?! :p Actually, thank you very much! That was very informative. I guess I could do something similar just with a satin finish, I think :confused:

    In reference to the "why oh why", this made me think of another idea:
    [​IMG]

    Some of the ideas from that forum have my head spinning!
     
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    That forum also has a lot of information regarding building.

    Happy to ruin your day. :smug:
     
  6. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yeah, might also be wenge... though then it would be pretty heavy :eek:
     
  7. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    The LeFay is stained Wenge with an oil finish and the MTD is stained ash with his oil/urathane finish. I do very similar finishes and I like the stained look very much. I really like the LaFay's finish :)

    Pete
     
  8. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    OK, here is the hunk of wood I'm currently working on. I'm pretty sure it is basswood. Its from my '90 Innovator. Let me say, stripping poly sucks! :spit: As you can tell I'm still not done stripping it. This was my first bass and I really want it to look nice without going with a solid color.

    Anyways, would it be possible to duplicate one of the above finishes on this wood? If not, any suggestions as far as finish? Thanks again!
     

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  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yes, it is possible, but don't do it.
    Oil finish is not a hard finish. It does not form into a thick layer that guards the wood underneath from damage.
    Basswood is a soft wood. Some can even be dented by pressing your fingernails into it :eek: That's why a simple oil finish is not a good idea.
    Thicker layers of clear lacquer with a transparent poly-urethane coating would do the trick, but basswood is still not such a nice-looking wood for a clear finish IMO.

    Body blanks, even pre-cut and pre-routed are easy to come by nowadays. But since you already started this, you might as well finish it just to gain experience and refine your skills
     
  10. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Yea, this bass is kinda sentimental to me so I definately want to finish it.

    Could I get the grain to open up enough to do that black laquer with white epoxy finish? If not, I might look into duplicating the body in Ash! :p
     
  11. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    You'd still have the green streaks and the knots with a clear finish. A solid colour finish is the default for basswood. The black lacquer/white epoxy thing... I'm not sure how it's made... maybe you hit upon how it should be done, or it's a miss... If it's a miss, then you'd already have the grain filled up, so it's hard to undo...

    That looks pretty much like the conventional Jazz shape. It's easy to get J-style blanks in swamp ash - Warmoth, Allparts, etc.
     
  12. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Well the only streaks are on the upper horn. Could I do a tinted clear then do a burst to hide the horn?

    The dark areas in the control area are where I still need to sand so it will be a pretty clear top. The knot isn't a problem as the Hipshot Type A will cover most of it.