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My first ever refinishing project:

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Luke73, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. ....so....I was sitting in my office today thinking about all things bass, and a thought came to me.

    I'd swap the necks from my Black fretted Warwick Rockbass Corvette and my Blue Fretless Warwick Rockbass Corvette.


    Just for fun.

    This is what my blue one looked like a couple of days after I got it (with Ultra Jazzes in it at the time).


    I've been wanting a change for a while, and thought the Black would be nicer fretless, and I could have the blue one as my main fretted bass.

    So, I'm going to need to do some rewiring too, because I haven't been using my series / parallel swith much on the fretted, and think I'l go back to vol vol tone tone.

    So, on the way home I bought a stack of new pots, and a few caps, and headed back to make a start.

    Got home, pulled the strings off both basses (due for a change anyway :D), pulled the neck off the black fretted bass - all good so far then pulled the neck off the blue fretless.

    Oh crap!!!


    A large chunk of the finish lifted from the blue one on the edge of the neck pocket when I lifted out the neck!



    Damn it! What am I going to do now?

    I guess I could glue it back down...


    ...hold on - I was just thinking this afternoon that a natural finish would be sweet wasn't I?

    I'll refinish the bass!!!

    Something I've been wanting to try anyway, so why not?

    Off to the hardware store, pickup some paint stripper and some sandpaper...and get to work.

    Here's the body without any hardware with some paint stripper applied:


    Here it is after letting the paint stripper do it's thing, and a little scraping:


    All of the scraping done now....phew! The body is stripped back to the base clear coat, and ready to start sanding:


    Some initial sanding done now...it's actually a nice piece of timber - this is going to be a sweet natural finish!



    OK...enough work for tonight.

    More sanding tomorrow.

    I think I'll use Tung Oil as a finish - off to do some research on finishes now.


    More to come soon.....

    In the meantime - I'd love any advice on natural oil finishes....Tung oil, and the like.

  2. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    It will look very good!
  3. vintager


    Jan 29, 2005
    nice story.. and nice wood, but i hope its not too soft for tung oil finish, maybe you should try thin clear nitro spray job. good luck !
  4. nice
  5. The body is Alder.

    Is that too soft for a Tung oil finish?

  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I would've been lazy and just used some thing CA glue to put the finish chunk back on.
  7. LOL

    Yeah, but that wouldn't have been any fun now - would it?

  8. Go for the simplest and most foolproof finish and you'll be fine: TruOil. Whether you go light and satiny or thicker and as hard as lacquer, you can't go wrong.
  9. Thanks for the comments.

    After some research, I've decided to go with a Tung Oil product made by Feast Watson, sold as China Wood Oil.

    ...been sanding all morning :D


    She's nice and smooth :)
  10. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    True... :D

    I have a jazz bass where this happened, and I just did the glue thing. I couldn't imagine stripping it down. I couldn't handle having it out of commission for that long!
  11. Very true.

    I have a gig tomorrow, but fortunately have another bass I can play ;)
  12. OK - so I've done some more work on the bass today :D

    Lots of sanding:

    Starting at 100 grit, then 120, then 180. then 240, then 280, then 320 and finally 400 grit.

    The bass is now lovely and smooth and ready for some oil!



    I went to the hardware store after some doing some research on the web and bought a product called China Wood Oil. It's a pure Tung oil made by Feast Watson.

    This is the bass straight after the first coat of Tung Oil:


    After around 5 hours drying, and rubbing back with 0000 steel wool, this is the finish after the first coat:



    It's looking so sweet!

    The pictures don't do it justice. A really smooth finish with a beautiful satin sheen!

    I've still got lots of work to do though.

    Another 4 or 5 coats of Tung Oil, rubbing it back with 0000 steel wool after each coat has dried.

    Once that is complete I'll be tidying up the control cavities and pickup cavities and shielding them.

    Then I need to re-wire the electronics, and re fit the hardware.

    Well on the way though, and it's been a huge success so far!

  13. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Looking good!

    (Giving me flash-backs from when I did a similar job on a bass....geez that was a learning experience...and time consuming!)
  14. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Looks nice man!
    I guess its all in the prep work. You Had to do a lot of sanding but it looks like it paid off.
  15. vintager


    Jan 29, 2005
    i like it so much.. on my alder jazz im building now i decided to try shellac, but this is just fine..
  16. That's a great looking piece of wood. The key to a good finish is to let the layers cure. When your done be sure to wait a while before you reassemble it.
  17. It never ceases to amaze me how soooo many people go ape over a blue finish...

    You earn points in my book for going from blue to au naturale...well done!
  18. Thank you all so much for the kind words :D

    I'm thrilled with it so far!


    Thanks spudmaster34 for the tip about curing. I'll be sure to let it cure fully before I reassemble it.

  19. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
  20. I'm on my way downstairs to do the fifth coat of Tung Oil now.


    Once the Tung Oil is fully cured I'm going to apply a wax over the top.

    I'll start shielding the pickup and control cavities too.