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getting my oil finish to look glossy?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by NCorder, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Hey guys, If this is the wrong forum for this post, please feel free to move it appropriately, and please accept my preemptive apoligies.
    Anyhow, here's my thing: I have a gibson-made Tobias Toby Pro-5 b custom that has a 'hand rubbed oil finish' over bubinga body wings and wenge/maple neck. I want to get the bass to really shine and get super glossy! I've religiously used my Warwick wax that came with my Thumb bass every other week on this Toby.
    So, what are everyones suggestions as to how I can get the finish to really gleam? Should I strip the existing wax, re-oil and buf like hell? If so, what should I use to strip the wax, and what kind of oil?
    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Have you ever seen an oil finish that really gleamed the way you want it to? No oil finish can approach a surface finish like lacquer or polyester in terms of gloss.
  3. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Yes! I have seen a couple oil-finished alembics that seriously looked like they were lacquered! Absolutely beautiful! Now, I know it may not be possible to get my Toby to look like those Alembics, but i was thinking that if its time for a re-oil, why not try to improve on its looks?
  4. I don't know about that Matt. There are some examples of instruments in the gallery over on the MIMF with all oil finishes that are truly the equal of nitro in gloss and depth. These are mostly acoustic instruments - I remember a mandolin and an archtop guitar off hand. Of course, they don't have anywhere near the protection that nitro or poly give but they showed exceptional beauty with the attention these guys put into the oil finish.

    Ncorder, Here's a link to the ongoing discussion here in "Luthiers" on how to get a good glossy oil finish...

  5. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Thanks for the link Hambone! I tried everything I could think of with the search function, but was having trouble getting results, which is why I posted here. I know I've seen some pictures of Oil-finished instruments that wade me think,"man, thats oil finished?"
  6. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I dont mean to side-track the thread, but out of curiousity, whats the difference between laquer and polyurethane? Is one glossier than the other? I know laquer is thinner but thats about it..

  7. Polyurethane is a crosslinked polymer and lacquer is nitrocellulose fiber dissolved in a solvent with other things. Simple difference is poly is synthetic and lacquer is not. There are plenty of physical differences that make one or the other more desirable for instrument finishing.
  8. krisnowicki


    Nov 8, 2004
    so i bought a bass like this one that is sanded down to 400 and wax i need advice on how to finsh it and i should definitly do it before i put all the hardware on it /..... any advice i am argueing between tru-oil tung and laquer... let me know this is my frist bass any help would be appreciated
  9. I don't mean to hijack this thread, but krisnowicki, how is the bass? I mean, that guy's products look great from the pics, but some of his feedback was terrible. All I know is that I would like to have a replica of my favourite bass for 300 bucks, but if its going to play like a log, or break my back, or warp or whatever, it's not worth 50 bucks to me, let alone 300.
  10. krisnowicki


    Nov 8, 2004
    it will be here in ten days... i have talked to people he has sold too and they rave about them... good bassplayers too.... But you know each one is hand built so they are all different if the body or neclk has any problems he fixes them ooup it just takes time ... but i wil keep you posted
  11. krisnowicki


    Nov 8, 2004
    but still i need advice as to how to finsh and what not any help would be wonderful
  12. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Hi krisnowicki (kris?),

    Seeing as how you're not getting responses right away, I'd suggest two things while you're waiting (unless you've already done them, in which case...oh well :) ):

    First, take a look at the Luthier FAQs for some general help, answers, and ideas on where to look for answers. Second, try using the search function...it's just above the top thread in the Luthier's Corner forum, on the right of the screen. Of course, since this thread was revived from a couple winters ago, I should assume you've been using the search ;)

    One more thing: if you would, please try to avoid double-posting the same thread twice (this one and that one ). It'll help things stay less confused/scattered in the long run.

    As far as finishing that bass goes, you could try any number of finishes. Since it's your first, an oil finish may be easier to apply and more forgiving. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
  13. The bass in my avatar is finished with Tru Oil, 40 coats worth. The first 3 were done by saturating the surface then wiping off, being very careful to keep a flat even surface with no runs, then sanded matte with 800-grit foam pad (which is almost like 1000 grit really).

    The next 27 coats were put on very thin, too thin to run, at full strength. Sanded to matte with 1500-grit Abralon pad 3 times in between (so every 9 coats).

    The next 9 coats were cut 50-50 with naptha, 3 coats at a time, sanded matte with 2000-grit Abralon in between. The very last coat (also cut 50-50 with naptha) was applied over that.

    After 2 weeks, I buffed very gently by hand with a clean T-shirt. It was very close to a buffed lacquer finish, but not quite a perfect mirror. Very easy to do.

    I don't have any great shots of the body, but here's one of a scroll (walnut-ebony-bocote).

  14. krisnowicki


    Nov 8, 2004
    how do you apply it with a brush or rub in on by hand or whats the deal with the areosol i dont tyhink it would be a good idea