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Relic, can checking be reproduced intentionally?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Arnie, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Arnie


    May 14, 2005
    Kingston, NY
    I think a well used bass is very nice to look at. Can the checking be reproduced? I know you can relic easily enough.

    What about forcing yellow fading on the neck also, can this be accomplished?
  2. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Checking can be done on a nitro finish, but it's easier to pull off when the finish is fresh. If you have a hard poly finish, it can be approximated with a steady hand and a razor blade- but it's not quite the same.

    Yellow neck tint is always a refinishing option.
  3. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    your (avatar) antiqua P-fretless is creamy - like a butterscotch malted - just awesome
  4. CustomTech


    Aug 25, 2010
    once you have the color or base coat of what you want, shoot some acrylic lacquer over it. about 10 minutes later, or when it becomes just hard enough to the touch to not leave a fingerprint, shoot a coat of nitro lacquer over that. watch it for a little while. if you dont get the desired results, shoot another coat. the heavier you lay it on, the more it will check up. no razor blade needed....figured this out mistakenly 30 years ago, been doing it ever since.....
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    With older bass bodies you can put the bass body in the freezer and then take it out and blow hot air from a hair dryer.
  6. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Take a nitro finish outside and get it cold. Bring it inside. Repeat to taste.
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Absolutely! Just look at the headstock on a Fender Roadworn bass. They're full of Checking.
  8. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I saw someone on YouTube using compressed nitrogen or whatever it is that freezes when it's sprayed like Co2 canisters.

    Freeze it, then heat it immediately, then freeze again, then heat again, and it cracks right away.
    This is on Nitro Cellulose paint.

    Polyurethane though, I doubt it'll work.

    As previously stated, a razor knife, but if you slip, or cut wrong what do you have left? One ugly mess that looks faked.
    Plus it'd take a ton of time to really get it to look real.

    I'd stick with methods that give a natural looking checking, rather than anything that requires artistic touch, & can be messed up with ease.

    As far as yellowing, there's probably a TON if different ways to go about this.
    Put it in a smoker type box, and burn off a ton of cigarettes. Clear it when you're done. :)
    Give it to a smoker who lives in a small apartment.

    Or maybe a yellow/amber colored wood stain?
    You could try yellow/amber ink from an art store?
    Food coloring would probably work on bare wood, then stain?

    Idk, just giving some random ideas.
  9. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey

    I personally don't like finish checking, but for some it's a look that they like. You could probably do this right now. Temperatures in the Northeast have been pretty low, and going from that outdoor cold to indoor heat levels will probably get you some finish checking pretty quickly. But it might also have the unwanted side affect of harming the wood of your bass.

    Funny though, I remember watching a Rig Rundown with Soundgarden, and those guys were talking about how much they like finish checking! I thought it was absolutely insane. But they were talking about how it was a real possibility since the venue they were playing was so cold.
  10. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    The yellowing on vintage basses does not come from the wood. It comes from the finish yellowing over time.

    A honey amber or vintage maple dye in the clear coat itself will yield the desired results.
  11. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012

    I'm aware, was referring to the neck as he asked about getting the yellowing on the neck specifically.
    Not the body.