Protecting an ash neck from grime and such

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I was planning on filling the grain of this ash neck with epoxy and then sanding it down to the flat wood again, followed by regular finish approach. After some thought I realized that my next step was boiled linseed oil over the whole thing (body, neck, headstock) and I'm guessing that the epoxy in the grain might interfere with absorption of the oil, leading to some funky looking/textured neck. If I'm wrong, please correct me.

    I'm not necessarily looking for a super-smooth finish that grain filling will give me, but rather protecting the wood from building up any sort of grime in the pores from normal use. In other words, I'm not dead-set on filling the grain with epoxy: just wanting to prevent the grain from filling up with hand gunk.

    An alternative would be to build up a finish...sand in some oil, use multi coats of tru oil (had a lot of luck with that in the past), or multi coats of urethane (General Finishes Arm-r-Seal) with some sanding in between to encourage a build up in the grain.

    At any rate, I'm looking for suggestions as to finishing that would help prevent the mentioned gunk. If it takes filling the grain, I'd probably go with epoxy and then urethane...any foresight into the feasibility of this? Oh, and by the way: if I wet sanded with tru oil, what would be a good thinner to cut it with? All the times I've used tru oil it's been pretty thick.

    Thanks guys
  2. I was going to suggest tru oil. I know a few guys who have had good success using it on ash bodies.
  3. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Will it build up to a point where it will (at least somewhat) fill the grain, after multi coats and sanding?
  4. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Don't use any oil over anything except bare wood. It'll gum up because it won't sink in. If you're going to use epoxy for a filler, use a varnish oil which can be built up to a certain degree on top of the surface, or a varnish or a lacquer. Truoil is a varnish oil and should be okay. Not all that hard though. It looks best when it's applied to bare wood where it really brings out the grain, but it would take a lot to completely fill the grain of ash.

    I don't like a really smooth finish on a bass neck. I'd use a couple or more coats of something like a tung oil varnish such as Waterlox to seal the wood well against water penetration and leave a still rather grainy surface.

    But if you must have all that grain filled, seal it with the epoxy or whatever grain filler you like and then coat with something rather hard when it dries.
  5. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've successfully filled the grain of ring-porous woods like ash and oak by wet-sanding products like General Finishes Arm-r-Seal (my favorite is Liberon Finishing Oil).

    I wet-sanded the last several wooden hand planes and spokeshaves I made using General Finishes gel urethane. It works well and polymerizes quickly - you can apply a new coat after 4 - 6 hours, instead of waiting 24-hours.

    Here's a link to the method I use:
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Zpoxy is meant for that. You can also use shellac (sanding sealer) to fill in and finish with whatever you prefer.
  7. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    I was thinking about doing a few wash coats of shellac...maybe that or Seal-a-Cell (another General product) and then go from there.
  8. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Ditto on clear shellac.