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Poly over stained wood?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by brane, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Hey all,

    I have an Ibanez BTB, natural walnut finish. There is no gloss coating over it, it seems like just a stain. However, I'm finding that it's taking too much wear and tear, despite my caution. When I bought it, there was already a thumb groove above the neck p/up, and some scratches between them. I've made the thumb groove deeper now, and added some some nice scrapes below the D and G strings, between the neck and p/up. I keep my nails trimmed as much as possible, and try to be careful, but it just ain't happening.

    (No Warwick for me, I guess. LOL).

    So, my question is: can I fill the scratches and grooves, and then apply a poly gloss coat (or 2 or 6...) to protect the body? I'm guessing some pre-treatment would have to be used... it's kinda shiny, so I'm guessing it's been oiled, which would have to come out before the poly, right? Or could it just go right over?

    Thanks in advance for any help, folks. :)
  2. You can put poly over oil but that might not be all that's on the bass. It might have waxes that won't allow the new coatings to stick. I would use a wax remover/degreasing solvent like the body shops use and wipe it down over and over until I was sure that I had removed all of the wax. As for filling, you can use amber shellac as a filler. It will take several coats with sanding inbetween but the shellac dries quickly and is ready to go in a couple of hours. Shellac will "warm" up the color a little - it takes the gray out of the walnut. Then go with the polyurethane or polyester as the final stage.
  3. Awesome, thanks for the info!

    So you wouldn't recommend using wood filler to fill in the grooves and scratches? I saw at Home Depot they have sticks you can buy, and one of them was walnut... I figured it would do the trick.

    I remember seeing Shellac too (and unfortunately, my grandfather told me a long long time ago where Shellac comes from... and can you believe they put it on chocolate covered almonds?) Anyway... I digress. Thanks again!
  4. No, those wood fillers can swell and the sticks don't harden. You can apply several coats of shellac with some course steel wool and it will make some dust that will help fill the pores. But the trick is to build it up enough so that you only have to sand it once to get it perfectly smooth. Besides, you should be sanding to at least 1000 grit before starting to finish.