Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Experiment with clay, epoxy resin, and tru-oil

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by RamblingRebel, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. RamblingRebel

    RamblingRebel TDPRI Member

    Aug 28, 2017
    Hi guys. First I just want to say thanks for a great forum you have here and all the knowledge collected on this forum has been invaluable to me these last few months whilst I built my first guitar for my son. Particularly all the info on tru-oil finishes. Thanks.

    I've got a question I'm hoping to get some help with...traditionalists you may wanna look away now!

    I've come up with a design for my next build, which is a celtic style Thor's hammer kinda thing. Not sure on the colours yet though.
    green jade gold.jpg

    I was going to inlay that design with wood, abalone/mother of pearl ect but come across polymer clay as a medium when I was researching materials, as it's inexpensive and very versatile in that it can create 'faux' metal for the hammer binding and imitate a big old jade gemstone, and simulate ivory/horns.

    Now I'm thinking create the channels for the inlay then podge some epoxy resin down to seal the wood in the channels. Then, lay the big old faux jade 'stone' in there it'll be just a few mm thick, bake that with a heat gun, then put the bronze binding made from the clay over it then bake that too.

    I want to keep the depth of the binding as if it was real,and to form all the ridges with the clay to really make it 3d and give it depth.

    I'm confident up until now this is all very doable. I'm wondering if I could then cover the hammer in epoxy resin to encase it and bring the epoxy to the level of the guitar surface. Then start the tru-oil process.

    I've read somewhere it might be best to put a few layers of shellac on top of the epoxy first, just wondering if this whole idea will work when it comes to the finishing and what to look out for.

    Stisch and GearHund like this.
  2. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2016
    Florida USA
    You want to get what's known as water-clear casting resin, which is available in epoxy or polyester. Epoxy has a lot less VOC fumes, and is generally safer to use. The poly is in a styrene monomer base as well, which could dissolve any paint you have on the clay (if I'm correct in assuming the clay gets painted). As usual, doing a test piece before the guitar would be a good idea.

    An intermediate coat of shellac should work - shellac sticks to everything and everything sticks to shellac. But again, test that too.

    Cool project!
    RamblingRebel and DrASATele like this.
  3. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 22, 2010
    Madison, WI
    No need for a heat gun, as the baking temp. is low enough to not mess with anything. And the result will be much more even.
    RamblingRebel likes this.
  4. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Outside of the clay part, I can tell you the rest of it will work. I've done TO over epoxy a bunch of times. I've also done shellac over epoxy then toped with TO. I often suspend stuff like shell dust or glitter in the epoxy as well.

    My concern is the clay and shrinkage. If you've got that part covered then I'd say you know what you're doing and should just have at it.

    side note : thin your epoxy with heat and not a chemical. I recently read a few things on thinning epoxy and the end idea was that heat will thin or change the viscosity of the epoxy but not it's bonding strength, down side is that it cures faster. If you use a chem it's likely to impact bond strength and curing times making them unpredictable.
    RamblingRebel likes this.
  5. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Meister

    Sounds like a creative project!

    You just need to be aware that the epoxy "sealing" layer that you're speaking of may break down somewhat depending on which epoxy product you use.

    I've run into this problem when using epoxy on knife handles. Just the heat from belt grinding the handle material would start to break down the epoxy.

    I wonder if using a "high-temp" type epoxy would help mitigate the softening and potential loss of bond? I believe JB-Weld has an epoxy now that is supposedly good up to something like 450 F degrees, but I haven't used it myself.

    What temperature do you need to heat the polymer clay to? Maybe 250 F or 275 F?

    Best Regards,
    RamblingRebel likes this.
  6. RamblingRebel

    RamblingRebel TDPRI Member

    Aug 28, 2017
    Sorry I never returned, thanks for the advice tho it's gonna come in handy. I'm still gonna do the original idea with polymer clay at some point. I kinda chickened out of doing it and decided to burn the design in...and I'm kinda happy with it as it was my first time ever doing pyrography and its been a good learning experience. Heres some pics of the project.

    IMG_20171112_070417.jpg IMG_20171113_005150.jpg
    This bit was very nerve wracking, I tested the pyrography pen (great deals on ebay) on a bit of scrap to get a feel for it for a few minutes then dived right in.

    By this time I was having so much fun burning wood I decided to do that background, but I don't like it and I can't get it off now! lol I got too confident too and tried my hand at carving that border and made a right mess, it's so wonky!
    First couple of coats Tru-oil. Mixed in a tiny bit of the red keda dye in with the oil and slathered it on to warm the wood up a little. I was following yer man who makes the lap steel guitars advice and putting the coats on in tiny layers at first but decided it'd take a couple of year to fill in all the gouge marks n pits I made with the pyrography. So I thinned the tru-oil and poured on thin layers to get it so everything could be brought level. Once level, wet sanded 1000 thru 2000 grit, then polished it up with meguires ultimate compound.
    IMG_20171123_215822.jpg IMG_20171123_215704.jpg IMG_20171123_215652.jpg

    Now I just gotta figure out what to burn into the front, and side. I can already see problems down the line when it comes to oiling the sides trying to get a nice 'join' with the oil on the back...I'll worry about that later though. It's all a good learning experience for now.

    Attached Files:

    DrASATele and fenderchamp like this.
  7. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    I believe you are referring to Tom Pettingill - he was a great Tru-Oil finisher.

    That looks awesome.
    RamblingRebel likes this.
  8. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    However you experiment, that will look like a family heirloom! That is an unusually beautiful design that I hope your son will play and cherish.
    frankencat and RamblingRebel like this.
  9. RamblingRebel

    RamblingRebel TDPRI Member

    Aug 28, 2017
    This one
    Yes, his work was beautiful. I read on here that he died :( such a shame.

    This one wasn't for my son. I did him a 1/2 strat with Kipling's poem 'If' engraved on the back. He's only 2 1/2 not quite ready for the full sized tele yet! haha
  10. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Dude, what you've done so far looks pretty good to me. Can't wait to see what you come up with for the front and sides.
  11. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Yes, this! Amazing work. I don’t know why you don’t like the basket weave pattern, it really grew on me in a couple of minutes looking at it. Nicely done.
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