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Refinishing question for a Nude Bass

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by banjo-tom, Mar 30, 2006.


  1. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    I'd like to politely ask about different approaches to refinishing a double bass " in the white"
    Below are the particulars:
    The body is based on a Christopher 200 series 3/4 busetto shaped.
    No inlay, no fingerboard , maple back & sides, maple flame top over spruce.
    ( Your basic everday plywood bass ) :)
    The following is my current thoughts on the process.
    I don't want to re-invent the wheel
    My desire would be to maintain an old traditional look
    (not blonde ) so I guess I'm trying to pinpoint the correct pigments or dyes to apply . (I have test panels to try colors)
    Then a shellac application to seal the wood .
    Finishing with a Hofner violin varnish of a particular tone, or perhaps a Waterlox finish.
    As much as I'd like to think I have it all figured out, I feel that input from others in the know would dramatically increase my likelihood of success.
    That is why I'm here asking for opinions /advice / tips.
    Ready to learn something

    Sincerely
    Tom
     
  2. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    Perfect !!
    Thanks I was using everything BUT that word .

    Siincerely
    Tom
     
  3. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    I used Waterlox finish to refinish my bass last summer, turned out nice, but it really puts your buffing skills to the test if you use it with a dark color. I'll try and post some pictures of it next week.

    Good luck on your project.

    Aaron N
     
  4. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    I was eyeing that busetto Norton as well. I wanted to be the only person with a blonde busetto.

    Good luck, and post a couple of pics when your done.
     
  5. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    Thanks for the good luck wish.
    Hmm ... A Blonde Busetto
    I will definitely snap and post some photos along the way.
    Might as well start now with a couple of " before " pics.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Tom, I would glaze it and get a nice antique finish. You can still use Shellac sealer followed by a few clear coats with rub out and then the glaze coats. Transparent or semi transparent artists oil colors mixed with some varnish. The process is like fingerpainting the whole bass and you end up with an antiqued finish depending on where you rub off the glaze and where you leave it thick. Scroll down this page and you can see a bass I made that I glazed www.upnorthstrings.com/custominstruments.html
     
  7. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Personally, I'd use flocked contact paper.

    :) :) :)
     
  8. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    Ken:
    I enjoyed scrolling through your site. Well Done !!
    I like the effect (of the glaze?) on the varnishbass.jpg
    The first two bass pics show bassback.jpg in a natural finish / the other bass.jpg showing a red-brown shade.
    Are these two pics before and after shots of the same instrument?
    My approach to resolving the colour/finish question will be to work on some test panels.
    I'm leaning torwards a traditional approach to the finish process ( Use of orange shellac to seal & raise grain / followed by applications of violin varnish of various shades to deepen the colour).
    That said, I'm all for try some different methods of achieving a vintage look without fogging up the finish.

    mje
    Is that an artist supply?
    I don't know if I've ever seen the stuff.
     
  9. Tom, The photo with the back showing is with an application of gamboge followed by a ground coat of varnish/beeswax/otherstuff (don't try!!) the photo next to is is the finished instrument with the glaze applied and french polished.
     
  10. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    Hey Guys:
    I've started the bass finishing project.
    The first thing I did was a quick sand with #280 paper to knock off any dirt , etc. followed by some earth pigments to rub on the wood.
    First was yellow ocra followed by raw sienna, burnt sienna,and burnt umber.
    I 've attached some photos. The before and after is quite dramatic. I'm loving it !!! Can almost hear it playing!!
    Next I'm working on the shellac application.
    More to come.....
    Tom busetto2. yellow ocra

    busetto1. raw sienna
     
  11. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    more photos...

    busetto5. burnt sienna

    busetto6. burnt umber


    The wood is definitely showing its character .
    I've got a late night ahead as I want to get two coats of shellac on the bass.
    The bass doesn't look so nude .

    Tom
     
  12. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    Looks good so far....

    After all those different color pigments, it looks like just a nice shade of blonde. Do you plan on Keeping it that way?

    Are you going for a matte, or gloss shellac?
     
  13. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    The shellac coats went on great.
    The wood is sort of a blonde shade.
    I gave the shellac a good rub with 0000 steel wool.
    It made the surface very smooth and ready for the violin varnish.
    Here is the bass after the two coats of orange shellac. shellac.

    b2.
     
  14. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    The shellac set up very hard .
    I proceeded over the weekend to apply five coats of violin varnish. Starting with red-brown for two coats and then to brown for two more coats. A final coat of yellow amber varnish Time between coats 6-8 hours with a light rub with #1000 scotch pad. The varnish was applied with cheesecloth and went on thin.
    The darkening effect was subtle with each coat.
    A few more pics.
    DSCF0044.JPG

    DSCF0046.JPG
     
  15. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    Good work, I was kinda hoping you would keep it blonde, though.
     
  16. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    It still looks a little on the blonde side.
    Like a strawberry blonde ( not too dark )
    The next pics shows the final finish outside in the sun.
    Mpoppitt
    What do you think?? Not too shabby ??
    I've only wet sanded & hand compounded the front face.
    Had to stop for a while (my biceps got a charlie horse):rollno:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Groove Theory

    Groove Theory Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2004
    The Psychiatric Ward
    AH HA! so you're the one who got that from Norton Customs...I was eyeing that one for a while, but decided to just get a complete one from him, should be ready soon...congrats, it looks like it'll be a great bass...
     
  18. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Ya know... I'm mainly a fan of dark basses... but that is one purty bass. By yimminy. Nice job.
     
  19. banjo-tom

    banjo-tom

    Mar 9, 2006
    Toronto
    Thanks mje .
    It feels good seeing the finish on her. My sexy beast.
    I delivered the bass to my luthier today who will finish the FB and full setup. Hey Groove: you are going to love the Norton Custom experience. I cannot thank Brent enough.
     

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