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Woods and the finishing thereof

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BassPuzzler, May 13, 2011.


  1. BassPuzzler

    BassPuzzler

    Mar 29, 2011
    I am in the final stages of planning out my first build, and I have a couple questions.

    How does a warmoth body blank compare to say...wood from home depot? Can I pick up wood of the same quality from a relatively inexpensive local place?

    As far as finishing goes, I am looking for something that dries pretty quickly, and doesn't require special equipment. (Nitrocellulose is out). I could use a water-based lacquer, but I understand that they take quite a while to dry. What about oils?

    For an alder body, I don't need a sealer or anything, do I? Just a topcoat?

    Thanks!
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    yes and no. the wood at home depot is in general not of the same quality as those selected for Warmoth necks. How the lumber is processed and dried is the primary issue. There is also a much weaker selection, in terms of species as well as dimensions. This is not to say that if you know what to look for you can't get most of the wood you need to build an instrument from a Home Depot type store, but you must be selective (and I would probably get a fingerboard somewhere else regardless).

    Now, if you have a hardwood dealer that specializes in hardwood lumber, then it is much easier to get all the wood you need and potentially of the same quality as Warmoth, and cheaper.

    As for finishes, use a polymerized oil finish. No need to fill grain or seal the wood. Requires no special equipment and looks good.
     
  3. BassPuzzler

    BassPuzzler

    Mar 29, 2011
    ^That. That was a good response. Thanks.

    Does the oil require intermittent reapplications?
     
  4. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Not really "require", but additional coats of oil will keep your bass looking sharp.
     
  5. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    You don't say which wood you have.
    My Warmoth is Walnut (your chiropractor will hate you...). And is finished with at least 21 coats of gun stock oil (hand applied, and knocked down every three coats with finer grades of sandpaper) over grain filler, and then car wax in about three or four coats (burnished in with 100% cotton cloth). Absolutely bullet-proof finish, and no sprays or special requirements. Probably 15 years old, and I'm just getting to the stage where an additional coat of wax 'might' be needed.
    Gun stock oil dries pretty quick, but overnight is best.
     
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Shenanigans!
     
  7. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    Apart from a feeble attempt at buckle rash (shown as some minor 'finish only' indentations), and a thumb gouge over the neck p'up after 15+ years of heavy use, it's almost perfect on the body.
    Like I said, "might" need another coat of wax.....might not.
    Just to make it all shiny, and stuff.
     
  8. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    It's durable, but it's nowhere near as durable as polyurethane, nitro, acrylic or polyester. Hence, it's a bit of a misstatement to refer to it as bulletproof. :D
     
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    other than the fact that the bullet comes out of the barrel and not the stock, in some viewpoints, it is "bulletproof" if on the stock of a weapon, but that would be conjecture...LOL:bag::p
     
  10. BassPuzzler

    BassPuzzler

    Mar 29, 2011
    That's because I don't have any wood yet. I was probably going to go with alder, but that may change.

    Well...that was contrived. Also, you could have another gun.

    Alright thanks guys. I'll look into finding some oil and a hardwood dealer (stupid google - hardwood floors dominate the results).
     
  11. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Google maps is a good tool for finding "hardwood lumber" dealers. It's not foolproof but I have found some good sources that way. Woodfinder is great, but not every yard is listed there. If you posted your location you might get extra tips from the LC regulars.

    Alder is a good choice on the left coast, where it is plentiful.
     

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