First Build - Finishing Help/Opinions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mansjasont, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,

    So I wasn't going to do a thread on my build, but now I am about to start the finish on it... and I am stumped. I need your help guys.

    I'm going to start the finish on my bass soon (taking my time). I found a wipe on poly at my local RONA store. The wood in the body is Curly Maple and Purpleheart.

    At this point I haven't done finish sanding yet, but will do that soon. What do I need to do between Sanding and applying the Poly? Do I need to Grain fill? With what? Does this sound like a good idea or should I try a different approach?

    Thanks in advance for your help. BTW this is my first build, let me know what you think.

    Attached Files:

  2. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    It looks very nice. :)

    You don't need to grain fill maple. I don't know about purple heart, look up whether it's open or closed grain, if it's open grained it could use it if you want a flat, smooth finish. A lot of people dye curly maple, then sand the dye back to make the grain pop more once finish is applied. You don't have to, but it's something to look into. It's easy to search on google or youtube with something like "making figured maple pop."
  3. Yelo


    Jul 2, 2012
    South Africa
    I'm sorry, I can't help with the wipe on poly, but that is a sweet looking bass!!!
  4. Thanks Yelo, I'm fairly new here, and I still remember reading through my first LC Build. I read yours from start to finish and was amazed. So it means a lot for you to say that.:D
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    What are you wanting the finish to look like? Are you wanting a high gloss mirror finish or do you want the bass to look and feel like natural wood? The word poly gets thrown around alot, a lot of the wipe on polys are just oil finishes.

    Either way, with the woods you used grain filling isn't necessary. Both are tight grained and should finish easy.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I haven't used that stuff, so I am not sure if you can build it up thick enough to wet sand it and buff it to a mirror finish. I sure you can get a very thin gloss out of it though.

    Something like this

    But I have never used that product so I can't tell you for sure.
  7. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    That Minwax poly is the devil, I'll never use that stuff again. Very difficult to apply evenly, and difficult to buff uniformly.

    If you want to pop the grain, I'd suggest applying a brown Transtint dye, letting it dry out, and then sanding it back. The dye will stay in the lower rays and create a really nice contrast. There are a few good example videos of this on youtube and on the luthier's forum.

    You'll still need to apply a clearcoat over that - I'd recommend looking into some of the other stuff (oil varnishes, auto finishes, nitro) rather than the Minwax poly.

  8. Ok I've been lagging on this build for a while. It's been a pretty busy summer. I'm going to kind of turn this thread into a build thread if you don't mind.

    Last night I went into the "shop" and did some work, I realized that I was asking all kinds of questions about finishing, but I'm still not ready for it yet. Last night I started the control cavity cover.

    First I took a cut-off from the body, that had matching grain, and cut it with a hand saw to about 1/4" thick.


    Next I started routing out for the cover. I didn't get any pics of this... because it was kind of a frustrating thing for me. I used two straight edges butt into each other to make a 90 degree angle pattern for my bit to follow.


    Ok so as I was routing out the cavity cover into the body, I had trouble with my router tipping on an angle. So after I had my two straight lines done, I just moved the straight edge along every pass. then my straight edge started tipping too. I got really frustrated with how this was turning out. So I grabbed a longer straight edge and was pushing down on one end of it, so it wouldn't tip, and was using the router with one hand (I know, it's probably against all safety rules). As I was doing this I ended up routing into my straight line.

    This pic is with the cover on (not thicknessed or final size)

    Luckily it is at the back, so I cut a small triangle out of the cut off from the cover, and will glue that in later.

    I assembled this bass a while back, and played it at a couple shows, and so far it will be my favorite that I have owned. I'm really looking forward to finishing it so I can use it again. :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  9. ella basses

    ella basses Commercial User

    May 9, 2008
    owner/luthier of Ella Bass Guitars
    Handsaw? That's hardcore! On the finish the formbys tung oil finish applied in a French polish style can yield some really nice results. It'll take a lot of very very thin coats though.
  10. Ya my arm was a little sore after that. Last night I hand planed the cover down to close thickness, will use the orbital sander to get it flush. I also glued in the small triangle infill piece, but didnt get any pictures. I leave for holidays tomorrow so will be at least a week before any more progress.
  11. Noice!