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Refinishing Ash

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by godoze, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I'm about to purchase a 10 yr old solid ash bass. It currently has an oil finish and looks pretty yellow-ish. Is it possible to refin this and get that brighter new looking ash appearance ?

  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Well, if you sand (belt sander + sanding paper for the curvatures) the uppermost layer off, then the wood deeper down will most probably be still whitish, after finishing, it will return to fresh ash colour.
    But don't forget that by sanding you'll remove some of the thickness - this can go from a few tenths of mms to even whole mms.
  3. thedoctor


    Jun 20, 2005
    I love ash bodies for a lot of reasons. Frank is right that you may have to go deeper than you want to get through the oil finish. Maybe not but once you start, you can't go back. If it has a pickgaurd, I would take a covered area under it and see how far the oil finish has penetrated. Ash that has been oiled will not bleach well. Comes out splotchy and undramatic.
  4. fair warning about ash. I'm just finishing my first ash bodied instrument and found that you have to be very careful when using soft pads to sand contours. Because the growth rings are less dense you will have little dips on those parts of the figure. That can really mess up your instrument.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I'm going to leave it alone. I've got my hands full with the new claro walnut and cocobolo 5 that i am makin...
  6. You don't have to leave it alone. Abrasives aren't your only route to removing the finish. You can use scrapers and shavers and literally take millionths off at a pass. The old finish will come off first before you ever break through to scratch soft sapwood. And it leaves a nice smooth finish for putting somethign back. Try a cabinet scraper or google cabinet scraper and see what a valuable too they are.
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Thanks, but i meant i am going to leave it alone because of a new order for a bass. priorities...
  8. Now THAT's a good reason! :D :hyper: