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What is this oil and what will it do to flame maple?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Alex Xander, Nov 24, 2012.


  1. Greetings all,

    I'm nearly at the end of a frankenbass build (old Ibanez soundgear with two Gibson mudbuckers and a defretting job) and am planning what to do next.

    To finish the body of the frankenbass I used some oil that I found in my father's shed. I have approx 10 gallons of the stuff. He thinks it is tung oil, but is not sure. Perhaps someone can identify it.

    It isn't quite as red as the image appears, it may be tinted

    [​IMG]

    When I discovered that you are supposed to sand oil finishes in, I got a result I am really happy with

    [​IMG]

    It brought out features in the grain that I didn't know existed and turned an otherwise dull guitar into something I quite like. Also, it feels beautiful.

    This then got me thinking if I should try a refin on this bass

    [​IMG]

    It is the first custom I ever bought and it was done on the cheap. From memory, the finish is a wipe on of some variety. It has little depth and in places I can still see ~120 grit scratches.

    As you can see from the photo (sorry for the terrible photos; need a new phone) the is some flame there, and in the right light, it turns out the whole top has flame, it just doesn't pop much.

    So my question is -

    Will rubbing this mystery oil I have make the figure pop and bring some depth into the flame?

    No doubt it will tint is a bit (the Ibanez was as white as white when I started), which I am fine with. Also, sanding it back will give me an opportunity to reshape a few things I don't like about it.

    It sounds like the ideal xmas break project or me since it is cheap (only sandpaper), and I enjoyed refinishing the frankenbass, but I would like to know what to expect will happen with the flame in the maple.

    Thanks in advance, guys :)


    P.S. If you have not heard a mudbucker in the extreme bridge position on a fretless, you owe it to yourself to. Hands down my new favorite sound.
     
  2. Meatrus

    Meatrus

    Apr 5, 2009
    England
    I could be wrong as its hard to tell from the picture, but the only oil I can think of that is that colour is Oil Of Alkanet (a root), which is used a lot on gun stocks. It basically darkens the wood to a redish/pinkish colour and brings out warmth. Though I believe you normaly put a different finish over the top. You can also add the Alkanet to an existing finish (homemade or otherwise) to darken it, so its sounds like this is what you have got. What does it smell like?

    Anyway, I think it will darken/redden (if thats a word) your maple....is that desirable?
     
  3. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I'm guessing dish soap.






    Alkanet sounds about right, but what I have seen of it is much much darker red, so it may have been mixed with something else...like mineral oil, or even varnish or something. When in doubt, try it on a piece of scrap.
     
  4. If you see 120 grit scratches now, you will see them later unless you sand them out. Adding mystery oil may even make it more apparent. Beyond that, try an unseen portion of the bas you're considering.