HOWTO: Satin Finish To Gloss

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by IcoHolic, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. IcoHolic


    Aug 31, 2004
    Hey all.

    I'm sick of the gloss spots that show up on a satin finish. So I think I just want to go 100% gloss.

    Anyone have an suggestions on what sort of compound(s) would do the best job. I plan to use an electric drill w/ buffing pad to do the job.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I'm spoiled as I have access to a high speed wheel and rouge - the Stew-Mac stuff is good stuff. It will be messy as its liquid so you'll have to be sparing with it when you apply it.

    Luthier's Mercantile has the rouge but this stuff is meant for buffing arbors - it is certainly cleaner and this is what I use. It ought to work with a drill-mounted buffer but I have never tried that.

    They suggest a different buffer per grit as a suggestion.
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I think this would be better on the Luthier's side - moved.
  4. IcoHolic


    Aug 31, 2004
    The Local Music Store has a 4 step Fender Polishing Set. Im going to assume Fender doesnt actually make polish.

    Anyone had experience with it? Might it possibly be Stew-Mac?
  5. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Out of my mind, back in 5 minutes! Supporting Member

    I thought some finishes had a "flattening" additive that is in the finish to make it less glossy. If your finish is made that way, you might be wasting your time trying to polish it.

    Dan K.
  6. IcoHolic


    Aug 31, 2004
    That doesn't matter when doing a wax/oil based polish. You're essentially adding coats of stuff to the finish.

    I ended up purchasing the Fender 3 Step Kit. It's made by Meguiar's and it appears to be doing exactly what I want.

    Thanks for the insight guys/gals.
  7. What about going from gloss to a duller finish? I have a Fender which has a few nice chips in it, but it looks too shiny.
  8. Satin, matte, eggshell, semi-gloss etc. are all names for levels of surface imperfection! It's actually that simple. Anytime a surface doesn't reflect, it's because it is rough (scratches, pits, regular or random pattern) and breaks up the straight beams of light that provide reflections. Granted, a matte finish is a perfectly even surface imperfection but it's nothing more than that.

    Polishes can do 2 things - remove the tops of the rough material, leveling it with the lower valleys OR a polish can fill the valleys level to the tops of the peaks of the surface. Icoholics problem is oils that fill these microscopic flaws and it appears like a smooth glossy surface.

    The easiest way to bring up a brighter polish on a matte finish bass is to do a cheap version of a finish technique called "french polishing". It's done with mineral oil and shellac. You dab a paper towel into oil and then into the shellac and then rub it into the finish. It will get glossy immediately. Move on to other areas spreading and rubbing the concoction into the surface. Let dry, buff and then wax with a pastewax and you'll have a pretty nice finish that won't show those nasty spots.
  9. IcoHolic


    Aug 31, 2004
    The French polishing technique would be a good one for a guitar that is bare wood from my understanding.

    The Bass I'm doing already has a blue/purple type of satin finish. So I assumed just polishing the heck out of it would do that job. So far so good.

    As far as I know the only way to go matte is to rough up the surface. i.e. get some 2000 grit sand paper and start sanding. I could be wrong on that though.
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I once had a bass with a matte finish, which got glossy where my arm went around the side, where my thumb rested by the pickup, and by the knobs.

    Got the standard Gibson Guitar Polish from my brother's guitar case, polished the body, and it worked- all glossy, done. Perhaps not the dipped-in-glass professional gloss, but it all matched.
  11. IcoHolic


    Aug 31, 2004
    I did the following to get a mirror shine from a matte bass.

    1. Bought Fender 3 Step Guitar Kit (Made By Maguiar's) $30 CAD

    2. Went to Wal-Mart and bought a 5" Buffer/Polisher for $25 CAD & some Terry Cloth Applicators. 4 of them. One to apply Haze Remover, One To Remove. One to apply polish, one to remove. And I got a dry buffing thing for it.

    3. Did 5 coats of the haze remover (Fender Kit)

    4. Did 10 Coats Of The Polish/Conditioner. (Fender Kit)

    I can see my ugly mug in the thing now. Worked Great.

    I did have to use a dremel polisher in a couple of the hard to reach curves. Though you could get away with just using the 5" pad.

    Maybe my quest will help somone else out there.
  12. Has anyone changed the back of the neck to a satin finish from high gloss? The reason that I ask is that I have an MIJ '75 reissue. I love the sound and feel of the bass except that the gloss neck that is somewhat sticky. Does going to a satin finish help this?