1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Hornet Crackle Kraze Batman! Craquelure effect finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JIO, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Ok! Here we go with another fun JIO project! Just got this late '60s Silvertone 4143 Hornet (Craigs-list) for a nice price and picked it up today. Mostly original and the finish has been stripped off and it has a DIY clear coat on it. Since this is the case - of course that leaves it open for a new cool finish.

    The never-to-be-found pu surrounds are missing (drat!) and the original Dano bridge has been replaced with a slotted-saddle bent-plate ala Fender bridge. I have one of the '90s RI Dano bridges and will use it unless I can find one of the standard ones. I'll be returning it to original.

    Neck seems to be in good shape but I'll need to go over it to see what needs addressing. The output overall is a bit weak and the E string is even less output. I'll be looking into that as my other Hornet is pretty in-your-face output-wise across all strings. Will know more once I remove the pg and check under the hood. Nothing that can't be fixed.
    Body and neck are poplar - the dark/light sections are very chariteristic of the wood. Also incorporates a tilt-neck adjustment port and no neck plate. Some have them while others don't. My Coral does.
    Neck is poplar also - and has no tr. Instead there are twin steel beams that run the length of the neck.
    8lbs/11oz -
    Whoever stripped the finish did a wood graft - it's a little funky, but not terrible.
    Replacement bridge wasn't fully screwed in. (?) and a ground 'cable' sits under it... it'll be leaving.
    It's missing the finger rest but I have one off my Coral that will fit if I want to put it on. The red tort is really deep and rich - a very nice version of tort. Knobs in clean condition.
    Frets need leveling - similar to my Hornet. I was lucky my Coral neck was as good as it was. Aluminum side dots, as all Dano's have.
    New GHS Precision flats installed but someone doesn't know how to cut excess taper length off...
    Silvertone badge in the house - the original is smaller than the one I found for my Hornet. Original string tree a simple washer and screw w/aluminum riser sleeve.
    Stubby Fender Mustang-like tuners in good shape -

    So here's the finish I will be doing on it. Although a crackle finish was most seen on the late ‘60s Dano/Coral Sitar-guitar, it appeared on earlier Dano guitars and their short-scale basses. The long-scale Hornets, Danes and Coral Deluxe Bass’s never came in a crackle finish.

    It looks good with the amber'd white pg, but I think this look will work well with the deep, rich tort on the Hornet.
    The tight crackle is a great look because it will look like black-cherry from a distance and the detail will come into focus up close. This is the opposite of the loud garish pointy-guitar crackle look.
    Not sure why black is under the red - but I dig it and will mimic it.
    Love the way this looks! You can see every layer - I will use this as a template for the Hornet The neck doesn't have the black undercoat like on the body - only yellow, red and solid black.
    Headstock face only the red/black crackle finish.
    The bigger crackle is the result of a heavier coat of the black.
    another example of the similar finish on a 6-string Dano -

    Montana rattle-cans - bought at Blik's Art Store on the way home. I'd done my homework to determine that this is the product I wanted and Blik sells it. Will start by sanding clear-coat off the body/neck, dye the wood yellow, then spray solid (satin) black, then the red and finally the crackle black. Should be fun!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
    Goatrope, Indiedog, mikeGJ and 31 others like this.
  2. Last time I had a finish come out like that I thought I’d messed up! :laugh: Who knew I was ahead of the times...

    Looking forward to seeing this one come together.
  3. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Crackle finishes have been around for a long time in Decorative Arts and Craft. Furniture, picture frames, decorative boxes... and since Dano, guitars. You see it more these days on pointy guitars with wild garish colours and bigger, bolder crackling. They are a little like the more modern day 'swirl' finishes - something crafty and a bit over the top. It's also a little like gilding, as it's a process that happens with the application process. With gilding, you apply the sizing and after waiting for a specific matter of minutes for it to achieve the perfect tact - you then promptly apply the leafs of gold or silver.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  4. shaggy45

    shaggy45 Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Can’t wait to see how it turns out :thumbsup:
    JIO likes this.

  5. I do remember the pointy metal guitars with that type of finish from when they were new. I agree that the Dano version looks much better.
    TerribleTim68 and JIO like this.
  6. C Stone

    C Stone

    Sep 4, 2020
    Looks like a fun project, nice score. Looking forward to it.
    JIO likes this.
  7. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    bdplaid, TerribleTim68 and mikewalker like this.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    ooh that 12er :drool:
    Crater and JIO like this.
  9. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Yah, pretty awesome right? :bassist:
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Go for it, JIO! I love that black worn through to red and yellow (maple) at the edges. I saw an old Ampeg Scroll Bass that looked like that. It had originally been red, was repainted black, and then was worn through all around the edges. It was gorgeous, and was the inspiration for the finish I did on my own sweetheart AUB-2 #060: Black with red worn edges. I did it as a subtle effect, not as dramatic as yours.




    The worn spots on the 3rd & 5th positions are genuine wear from almost 15 years of gigs!
  11. subs
    JIO likes this.
  12. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Excellent Bruce! Black & red, and yellow, black and red are always cool!

    daveman50, Rabidhamster and bholder like this.
  13. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    Always loved subtle crackle finishes more than the in-your-face ones. Good luck with the project!
    JIO and MordBass like this.
  14. I'll be keeping an eye on this and looking for some detailed "how to" on the crackle finish. I've got a future project idea that needs a crackle finish, but I really like the big "in your face" crackles of the 80s hair metal days and my research on the Montana product is that it works very well for that small, subtle crackle and not so much for the big heavy crackle. I want more of that crackle in that Keisel video.
    JIO likes this.
  15. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    There are a few different products out there but experimenting may need to be done. Essentially what causes crackle is applying a fast drying product over a slower curing product. Once applied the top coat starts curing quickly and shrinks/seperates over the lower coat. The thicker the top-coat followed by airing it with an air-compressor or fan, the broader the crackle. The prompt airing after applying the top-coat is critical for getting the crackle effect to accelerate. As you can see un the vid, once coated with paint - he switches to air and blows the surface activating the effect.
    TerribleTim68 likes this.
  16. Right, that was what my research had shown too, it's all about applying that top coat "heavy" and then that air being blown over it. I'm concerned that there isn't a product out there that can do that out of a rattle can and I don't have a spray gun setup.
    JIO likes this.
  17. Nice project. Looking forward to watching it happen!
    JIO likes this.
  18. subbed, yeehaw!
    JIO likes this.
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    About the weak pickups: I don't know if they are just magnets getting weak from age, but my two Dano Silvertones, a 58-ish guitar and a 65-ish bass both have low output (all the original ones used the exact smae pickup, whether a guitar, bass or sitar). The guitar wide open could barely make the matching Silvertone amp (not in the case, a standalone amp) break up when playing chords. I thought that amp was kind of quiet until I plugged in a modern guitar with "hot" pickups and the amp started snarling and feeding back.

    I'm jealous, I'd like to own a Hornet but current prices are higher than I'm willing to pay. I'm glad I found my Danos 40 years ago when they really, really, really cheap. I paid $65 for the bass and $20 for the guitar and amp together. We just don't see those sort of deals on used gear any more.

    Waiting to see the finished bass, I always loved that Dano crackle finish.
    JIO likes this.
  20. JIO

    JIO shaken - not stirred Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    So 1st off, I wanted to get it set-up to play nice before finishing. I leveled the frets, and dressed/polished them. The neck was a bit wonky, but with some work it's tight now. Cleaned up the fb and lubed it - a nice piece of rosewood.
    Then, I replaced the bent-plate bridge with the '90s version of the Dano bridge. Before doing so I checked to see if one of the simple original ones were available. Found one for ... $160. (!) Also found one like the one I installed from Japan for $250. (!?!) I bought mine new a couple of years ago and I know I didn't pay anywhere near that. (maybe $35?) Yikes. To get proper intonation, the original location for the bridge was moved 1/4" lower. It's a solid (brass) plate to body connection compared to the 'floating' style of the original and has fully adjustable saddles instead of a randomly adjustable piece of rosewood. Same base shape but a much improved design.
    Bridge cover also lowered. The solid well grounded bridge eliminated the lower output of the E and G string and allowed dialing in good action. The aluminum nut slots were also filed to achieve lower action. Plays nice now.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 2, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.