Warwick lovers help please! Oil finish; sand or not to sand?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by MattLou, Sep 20, 2017.


  1. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Hi fellow bassists,

    I have finally found a corvette double buck 5- 2008 which is beautifully abused:) Her tone is amazing, the wood is pretty dried and plays like a dream. But, on the other hand it needs some clean-up I think. (Does it?)

    My luthier (and someone else) told me that a light sanding was enough and he would apply a thin layer of polish (or varnish, I don't know) after the sand down process.
    Some experienced natural-oil-finish-warwick owners in the talkbass forums say that 'never sand it down, don't do it'. That scares me and I am hesitating. I cleaned it up a little and there is a small improvement in the color. I am adding the pictures below.
    Shouldn't I get it sanded? What about the polish after sand? Isn't it dangerous, and more important, does it kill the tone?

    I'll appreciate all your ideas.
    Best,
    MattLou
    20170918_125319.jpg 20170918_125327.jpg 20170918_125345.jpg 20170918_125357.jpg 20170918_125404.jpg 20170918_125426.jpg 20170918_125432.jpg 20170918_125440.jpg 20170918_125823.jpg 20170918_135500.jpg 20170918_135505.jpg 20170918_135512.jpg 20170918_135516.jpg 20170918_135521.jpg
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Why do those who say "never sand it down" say that?
    If you want to make it look new, you disassemble it, sand it and refinish it with oil then wax.
    If you like the distressed look then you can just reapply wax.
    A light sanding will help even out the color but will not remove the deep scratches and dents.
     
  3. A few applications of warwicks beeswax should remove the discoloration, make the grain pop a little better, and keep the body from drying out further. As for the dings. They probably won't be as visible once the bass is clean and I'd just consider them "character" marks.

    There's a lot of options though. It looks like Ash. Ash looks awesome with stain in my opinion. There's a lot of ways to do it. Alcohol based stains, water based double stains. Id probably do water based if you say the wood is dried out and water based will make the grain pop a little better. Do a search for videos on staining ash. Guitars, furniture whatever. Here are some ash bodies with some cool finishes (imo anyways)

    IMG_3521.JPG IMG_3522.JPG IMG_3523.JPG IMG_3524.JPG
     
  4. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    I've owned over 20 German Warwicks and refinished 5 of them. If you wax or oil over scratches they get enhanced and look even deeper. I would personally sand it down a good bit until ALL the dents, dings, scratches are gone. Even though there seems to be just a light finish they use a sanding sealer and light varnish if you want to dye it in any way you will need to go down at minimum 1-2mm unless you want a blotchy dye job. Wax and oil alone are not a finish and I would not recommend doing this after you sand it without doing some sort of even a thinned Tru-Oil, varnish, Poly-Rub, or something even a little Danish oil first at least a few coats with a light sanding in between. Just my 2 cents..
     
    Le Basseur and MattLou like this.
  5. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Thank you all very much. Dear Means2nEnd; does painting kill the tone? If so how much do you think? Now it has a very crunchy, crispy, treble resonance. Does it owe this tone to a dried body?
     
  6. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Mattlou, well I will tell you the options on this are as varied as there are people who play stringed instruments. My opinion is yes it does, not a ton but there is a difference. These differences are so small though in real-world live playing and even in the studio where they use 24 different plug-ins it really is for you and yours ears 99%. You can hear small differences more so at home while you are practicing on a small amp quietly by yourself.

    You first of course and your touch and attack, construction and solidness, pickups and preamp, pickups placement, Strings, Bridge material and mass, scale length, neck woods, body woods, finishes I think of in the more common equations for tone and it goes mostly in that order of effect in my mind and maybe in a lot of cases after Bridge material and mass it almost doesn’t even matter and finish on an electric instrument is near the end of the line. I hear differences but I build instruments and I am looking for all those subtleties even almost more so than the basic tone.

    This is just my opinion of does woods or finishes have an effect on tone yes as a guy who builds I still believe the sum of all its parts is what creates the outcome I find that to be true in everything. There are so many convinced woods and finishes have zero to do with tone and just as many who do. So that tells me in most cases there is an effect but it may be hard to quantify. I choose woods for construction mostly. Finishes whatever the person likes is what I will do. I hate the feel of thick clear coat or paint it isn’t natural to me and feels sticky and I grew up on Warwicks I like the lighter finishes.

    I like that hand applied varnishes over clear coats that’s just me though.
     
    MattLou likes this.
  7. JAKeverline

    JAKeverline

    Jan 16, 2015
    Austin Texas
    You will save yourself a lot of time sanding if you steam the dents to raise them first. Do this after removing the old finish so the wood can absorb the steam better.

     
    MattLou likes this.
  8. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Sanding is recommended by Warwick, so I guess it's cool with me
     
  9. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Perfect answer. Thank you very much
     
  10. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Thank you all guys. I dared to iron the guitar. For the smooth surfaces on the back, I directly applied a big steam iron:) I used a soldering iron on small dents. The result was perfect. I saved 90-95 of the dents. Now I am getting it stained by a professional painter. I will share the results with you hopefully soon.
     
  11. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Follow ups; don't do that. First I tried ironing on my Ibanez btb1205e prestige, which I love too much. You can see the track of the iron on the upper side of the bass:)) Ironing is not working good on flamed maple with a matte polish. Then I tried a soldering iron and it did not work well on maple either. But ironing works perfectly on a natural ash body. Anyway, I was going to get it painted too:)) 20171003_115102.jpg 20171003_115110.jpg
     
  12. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    And the Warwick. The oil finish is removed with thinner by the luthier. No sanding yet. But it looks already very clean. I am surprised to learn that it has two pieces of ash. I thought it was a mono-block one.
    It will be stained. Probably orange or burgundy red.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. JAKeverline

    JAKeverline

    Jan 16, 2015
    Austin Texas
    When you tried the ironing on your Ibanez, did the wood have any kind of finish on it? I suspect the iron left the mark due to interaction with the finish. The technique works best on bare wood. On my first bass that I built, I dropped the bridge on the body while laying the holes out.:banghead: It created a 1/4 inch round dent on one of the flame maple stringers. I used 220 grit to sand the Tru-Oil finish off to about 1/2 inch around the dent. I only lightly sanded in the dent just enough to penetrate the center and allow the water to soak into the wood underneath. I used a hand-held butane torch set on the lowest setting possible, and hit the dent with the flame in quick, split second bursts, to avoid charring the wood. I was able to completely raise the dent, sand it even with the surrounding wood, and touch up with Tru-Oil. It worked great!:thumbsup:
     
    MattLou likes this.
  14. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Yes there was a finish on it and I knew I was doing something wrong in fact:) I will refinish it anyway because it has an unbelievable tone.
     
    JAKeverline likes this.
  15. MattLou

    MattLou

    Dec 23, 2016
    Before-after pics.
    I have got it refinished. It took 45 days but worth to wait. Sexy isn't it?
    Whatever I do the pics can't reflect the colour. It is burgundy red high polished.
    Thank you all for your support.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. JAKeverline

    JAKeverline

    Jan 16, 2015
    Austin Texas
    Wow! That red color looks great! It's like a brand new bass.
     
    MattLou likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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