Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Varnish - Final stages question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by basswraith, Jan 18, 2005.


  1. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    After the desired color has been achieved in varnish, how can one successfully go about rubbing out the varnish to acquired a smooth glossy shine? I want to know what kind of rubbing compounds to use and in which order. I have experimented with a few ideas but I am still not satisfied and have not achieved an even surface. Any info will be appreciated here. :confused:
     
  2. What kind of varnish? And then I'll answer.
     
  3. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    So far its Spirit varnish
     
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    400, 8oo grit wet paper then rub out with alcohol pad.
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Make sure you have a couple of clear coats above your colored coats. It's nice insurance so you won't go through the color...

    Micromesh is good, but try Novus #3 scratch remover after you level out the varnish with 600+ grit- (wet, w/foam pad for backing). It saves time, and produces a beautiful, finished result.
     
  6. I do what Jeff wrote except I use 400 wet dry, then a grey synthetic scotch brite type pad then the rubbing compounds.
     
  7. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    is the Novus #3 a specialty item or can it be found at a hard wear store?
     
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Novus is kind of a specialty item. Some places carry it, but most places don't. Do a web search, (Novus + Minneapolis)find the distributor #800, call them, and they will tell you who sells it in your area. It's a great rubbing compound, and saves a lot of elbow grease...
     
  9. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    my instrument has plenty of scrapes along the corners of the instrument. It's extremely visible for an instrument that hasn't aged. Is it a wise idea to get this little areas "re-varnished" ? Also how much would the run me? It's basically around both f holes, an the corners of the bass (that runs all around the instrument)...the parts that embossed if you will. Sorry I can't explain it much better.

    thx
     
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    What have you been doing to the F holes to knock the finish offen 'em?
     
  11. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    well that actually came with my bass. at the time i should have probably asked the seller to fix it up. along the left corner of the bass, the varnish is all scraped away. the previous owner said it was his first bass and it was from hitting the bow against the violin corners.
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Don't you just hate when that happens.. By the way, you are referring to the edges of the Bass and the Corners. When you lay a Bass down the edges get scraped up a little. Over time this starts to look bad. Some people put raised 'bumpers' on the Ribs to preserve them over time. I always lay my Bass on a Chair with only the Bottom bout of my larger Basses actually touching the Floor. The FFs get nicked from Sound Post setting, peeking inside with lights and stuff for repair planning and repairing from the outside thru the FFs. Also, the FFs are often painted Black on the inner edges but one must be carful when touching this up and not paint the Top. A majic/permanent marker will the FFs inside just fine. Edge touch-up costs depends on who does it and how much is needed.

    Back to the Corners, I am starting to dig the Gamba corners more as they don't get in the way as much. On occassion I hit the tip with either the Frog or the Tip of the Bow depending on the Bass. Some of my Basses have the Corners perfectly parallel to my Bow at the end of the fingerboard. The Gilkes is one of them and the Neck needs to be moved out a bit as the 'stand' is too shallow. When a Bass has a wide middle bout, low stand angle and the Corners are parallel to the end of the FB, you are going to bang the bow from time to time if not often. Also, as you already know, sloppy bowing is the cause of this as well even on perfectly dimentioned Basses.
     
  13. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Hi Mike. Since you have used spirit varnish, rubbing the finish up is relatively easy (compared to oil varnish). I like a new product from Zinnser (sp?) which they call simply "French Polish". It's got everything you need in one bottle. Just wet-sand the finish level (I'd bring it up to 1000 or 1200 grit), then pad the stuff on lightly using a cotton wad. It will bite into the existing finish and buff it up, while adding a micro-layer on top. Be careful not to use it too heavily or you'll pull varnish off. If you find the resulting sheen too glossy, knock it down gently by rubbing with the grain with 0000 Liberon steel wool. Liberon is much finer than hardware store steel wool, and contains no oil. I've read the other ideas above and they're all excellent too. I just find this method very easy and I like the resulting look.
     
  14. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    I found some thing very close to the Liberon steel wool at Rockler, wich just opened up down the street. Thank you for the info Arnold. Where can I buy the Zinnsner French Polish? Is this some thing u can find at a hardware store?
    I will try this , this week.
    Maybe I will post some pictures.