Finishing the body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by d K A p S, Feb 16, 2009.


  1. d K A p S

    d K A p S

    Dec 30, 2007
    I will soon be receiving an alder body that I plan on applying some sort of finish to to protect the wood. The body is going to come sanded to 320-grit sand paper, would I be safe with just applying several coats of this satin clear guitar lacquer? Would I need the sanding sealer or could I just put coats of the lacquer straight onto the wood? And how many coats of lacquer?

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishi...e_Aerosol_Guitar_Lacquer/Details.html#details


    edit:

    Or would this tung oil be better? And how many coats of that would I need to apply? My goal is just to protect the bare wood, so I don't know what would work and what wouldn't.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_supplies/Finishes_and_solvents/Behlen_Tung_Oil.html
     
  2. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    The oil may be your best bet for a quick and easy finish. If your looking for a slick surface, you'll need to fill the pores. Most woods need to be sealed because the grain will raise a bit after the first few coats. I generally seal and pore fill with epoxy in one step.

    You can also use whatever your finish material is to seal with. For example on my open pore finishes I usually seal with a couple of coats of poly, I then let those coats dry a few days, scuff the bass with a green pad and spray the finish coats. The first few coats have sealed the wood, so the later coats sit on top of the wood rather than absorb into it.

    I can't really give any advice on Lacquer because I don't use it. It's best to always follow the directions on the can!
     
  3. d K A p S

    d K A p S

    Dec 30, 2007
    If I used minwax wipe on polyurethane to coat it like 10 times would that alone do the trick?
     
  4. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Yes. Let the first coat soak into the wood and keep it wet for ten minutes or so. The wipe all the excess off and let it dry. This well deepen the look and fill the grain better. Then apply multiple coats in a warm room, up to 3 per day (for Minwax) sanding very lightly between each coat with 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper. Wipe off all the dust after each sanding. Apply each coat thin so you don't get any runs or drips.

    If you work carefully you can a very nice high gloss finish. The last coat you put on should be your best work. You can decide in the end if you want a high gloss or satin finish. Use gloss Minwax for each coat as it is more transparent.
     
  5. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    So far, wipe on poly is what i have used (event though I have the facilities to properly spray). I have actually gotten away with 5 coats, thin finish, depending what you buff it back to, high gloss, satin..etc. So far, it's working for me. Just gotta smooth up the previous coats, so that the next one goes on smoother, fine steelwool will do it.
     
  6. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass

    For the Stains would you use this
    http://www.minwax.com/products/wood_stains/wood_finish.html

    Then hit it with finisher?
     
  7. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yes, It can be used after a stain, or tung oil. Essentially, once the stain or oil slightly raises the grain (If it does at all), lightly sand down the rough spots and go for it.
     
  8. Tdog

    Tdog

    May 18, 2004
    Stew Mac's rattle can lacquer is nitro-cellulose and will need a sealer prior to spraying the lacquer itself. With Alder you may not need to do any grain filling.

    BUT!!! if you have spray equipment, I highly recommend ML Campbell Catalyzed Lacquer. I've been using this stuff for a few years and I love it!!!! No need for a sanding sealer...Just spray. Also, this lacquer is dry, ready to handle in 15 minutes. This is actually a commercial kitchen cabinet finish.

    Stew Mac's nitro cans will take a while to cure (up to a month depending on humidity and other variables) to a point where you can buff or rub out your finish without much fear of blowing through the layers down to the wood. Gotta be careful here.

    The rattle cans are $10 each and a can of sealer is also $10. It looks like you'll be into over $60 if you figure in the shipping. You can get a gallon of the ML Campbell lacquer for @$50....Again....IF you have spray gear.

    Just thought I'd pass this along.

    Greg
     
  9. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    +1 on the spray gear. The StewMac route is too expensive.

    For oil just rub until you are happy. giggity

    For laquer:http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=504392

    I would advise against polyurethane. It does add an amber tone when applied and will continue to yellow. This may be just me, but I like to add amber in the form of linseed oil and then top with lacquer for a shine coat.
     
  10. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    [​IMG]


    The amber is the reason why I love poly, especially on maple!:D
     
  11. d K A p S

    d K A p S

    Dec 30, 2007
    What would the process for using tung oil be?
     
  12. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Wipe on a coat. Wipe it to almost dry. Let dry. Buff lightly with steel wool. Apply another coat. Repeat. The first coat should be allowed to soak into the wood for a few minutes to seal the wood. Succeeding coats don't need to soak in because they won't. You're just leaving a thin film of the tung oil each coat.

    Wipe on poly and tung oil are both very easy to apply by hand without spray equipment. The poly will give you a glossier finish that has built up on top of the surface. It looks good. The tung oil is more of an in the wood look, like some Danish or Scandanavian furniture. It's a nice look too. Not as glossy looking. Feels more "organic"

    All oil based finishes like poly, tung oil, etc. will turn amber with age. I like the look myself. Very rich looking. It really compliments the look of many woods and brings out the grain. But if you want it absolutely clear looking don't use it. Like if you wanted maple to look as clean as it is when sanded and unfinished.

    If you take that alder body after you give it a final sanding before finishing and wipe it down with some paint thinner it will look a lot like it will with a coat of finish on it, while the paint thinner is still wet. That's also a good way to see if you've missed sanding any imperfections.

    Once again let me recommend a great source of information about simple finishing techniques. It's a book named "Hand Applied Finishes" by Jeff Jewitt and available from Taunton Press (Fine Woodworking magazine) Jewitt's website or your library. It explains all these finishes and more much better than can be done on a forum like this. Jewitt has been doing this type of work for many years and knows his stuff.
     
  13. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    For oil just rub until you are happy.



    giggity


    [​IMG]


    -Scotty-

    I am inlove with a HEAVY coating of Watco Natural and the lacquering. This is the way I get my amber. For my furniture and floors I love Minwax Polyurethane. But there is something about the feel of a lacquered neck versus a poly neck....

    Maybe that is just me; my $.02
     
  14. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    Thanks Jason...:)

    I might be working with some unfinished swamp ash soon.
     
  15. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    I've used the minwax poly on a swamp ash body, and that worked just great. It doesn't fill grain though. If you want the grain texture to show, it's super easy.

    wipe it on with a clean rag (something that won't leave lint. I used an old t-shirt).
    The first coat will seem to dry super fast because it soaks into the wood. Let it dry completely (4 hours minimum), repeat until it looks like you want it. (later coats will take less finish, since the wood will be sealed from early coats)

    A couple minor warnings:
    Always let it dry well between coats. Some other finishes fuse with previous coats, but not Polyurethane. It forms individual layers. If you don't let it dry properly, you'll get clouding/blistering from trapped moisture/solvents which can't evaporate from the previous coats.

    For the same reason, when you do sanding between coats, keep them very light. If you actually sand through it you may get a line in the finish which could still be visible through later coats.

    Also, note that it'll take a long time to harden up fully. mine still had a slight smell to it, and felt "tacky?" for a few weeks. By tacky, I don't mean it was actually sticky, but I could tell that it wasn't really hard, and that playing with dirty/sweaty hands was a no-no.

    -Nick
     
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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