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

How to Relic Nitro(?)

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by dual_tone, Jan 16, 2009.

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  1. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 7, 2007
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Oh, man. NEVER waste pizza like that. And I won't even comment on the size your nose must be......or maybe they were just pizza rolls?

  2. Turbogoon

    Turbogoon Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2010
    Does this work on non- lacquered guitars?

    I bought a refin strat (nitro) and I don't think it has lacquer... though its hard to tell.

    It's a relic - and it looks awesome - but needs that final authenticity.

    Was thinking about leaving it outside in the winter weather then bring-in back a few times.

  3. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    Nitrocellulose is lacquer.

  4. Turbogoon

    Turbogoon Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2010
    okay, thanks - so does that mean without the transparent overcoat I can still attempt to 'check' my paintjob by using the cold/warm technique?

  5. trixterq

    trixterq TDPRI Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Bridgewater, New Jersey
    My method

    When I relic, I heat the body surface for a good fifteen minutes with a very powerful hair drier and then quickly spray with freon spray (computer keyboard air cleaner). I do this over small areas multiple times. this method for me has produce some really nice weathered looking finish cracking.

  6. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2004
    NW Atlanta
    And if you're gonna bust somebody's stones, at least be funny and/or original.

    Most of the posts ridiculing relics are neither. :rolleyes:

  7. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    It's a shame that people who have no interest in aged-looked guitars (I avoided the R-word; see what I did there?) feel a need to even contribute to these type of threads. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, I've seen some work of the Masters. I know Clive Brown from the UK, I've seen Tom Murphy on YouTube and also John Elliot's work from Bravewood.

    I reverse order, I think John uses the warm it up and freeze it technique either by artificially heating the body and then sticking it in a freezer and the one I played - a beautiful guitar to play - had rather artificial crazing. Almost like frost / ice.

    Have a look at Tom Murphy YouTube videos and he talks about using a razor blade to create the horizontal crazing and checking.

    I've asked Clive what he does and he simply doesn't reveal his techiques but I suspect it's a combination of both: heat/cold and blade.

    This is an example of this work:


    or click here if the picture does show.

    And here are more pictures of the same guitar.

    One site worth visiting is this one:

    Hope some of this helps.

    :) Peter

  8. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Dry Ice, Liquid Nitrogen, and compressed air cans turned upside down all work equally well. But the Nitro needs to have a few months drying time because fresh nitro will check, then weld itself back together.

    I don't like the compressed air cans, not because they don't work, but because they leave nasty residue on the guitar. If you accidently touch the guitar, then your mouth it leaves an awful taste in your mouth.

    In my opinion, getting the lacquer to check is the easy part. getting the subtle variation in color, and removing the finish in key locations is the hard part.

    And, no, different types of finish do not check like nitro.

  9. ThaLowEndTheory

    ThaLowEndTheory Tele-Meister

    Mar 11, 2009
    Valley Ranch,Texas
    The problem with the compressed air method is that it often caues spiderweb checking which isn't how authentic checking looks. In the examples I've seen the check lines tend to be long and for the most part parrallel to each other. I have no idea why. I use the freezer/expose to heat method. Works great here in Texas in the summer time. I put the body in the trunk of my car for an hour, then bring it in and put it in the freezer. Just repeat the cycle over and over till I get the results I want. I know guys up north that leave the guitar in trunk out in the cold then bring the guitar and put it next to fire(not in the fire). I'm getting ready to try it out with a space heater. You have to be careful of too much heat, because the lacquer can bubble up.

    Here are my most recent results from this summer.


  10. dsboli

    dsboli TDPRI Member

    Apr 11, 2011
    I have used the blade method.

    I have done a few agings and used a rotating exacto blade. Haven't tried freeze/heat method. After I cut them in I have to rub it out to get rid of the edges and then I rub a little brown shoe polish into it for contrast. When you use a blade you just let the weight of the knife gently ride on the surface. It doesn't take much on a nitro finish. Also, spend some time looking at pics of real vintage guitars to see the various patterns you can find. That's why those small rotating blades work well. You can get very creative. The one I did in the picture was done similar to one I saw on line with somewhat straight lines top to bottom covering the entire body. This took some time!


  11. andrewdoeshair

    andrewdoeshair Tele-Meister

    Oct 31, 2009
    corona, CA
    Hey, if your guitar gets worn out on stage, but only a few people see you do it, is that more of a fake or a lie than if you do the same in a packed stadium? I mean, if you accidentally ding your guitar in the studio, and only the engineer sees it, are you less of a fraud than if you ding it at home alone? Or is it that the dings are done intentionally that makes it lame? I've seen videos of SRV purposely bashing his guitar on the ground; what a fake, right? Oh wait, he had a crowd watching it happen... Well I'm stumped.

  12. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2003
    Wirral, UK
    I think it is because if it happens slowly/organically over a longer period of time the wood will tend to expand differently across the grain than along the grain, which is why a relic (noun) has a different checking pattern to a relic (verb). An old guitar which has checked will have been exposed to hundreds of cycles of gentle temp changes, rather than a handful of extreme changes. IMO of course.

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