Butterscotch Blonde Finish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by guitarjesus, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. guitarjesus

    guitarjesus TDPRI Member

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    I recently got a Tele body and neck from Musikraft, and want to do an as close to correct butterscotch blonde finish as possible.
    Nice weight relieved swamp ash and a roasted riftsawn neck. I'll probably use the neck for something else and get an all maple neck.

    Anyhoo, any websites or stores to get the right colors would be great.

    Also, how do you guys think a slightly torched look to raise the grain would look with this type of finish? Sort of like the Andy Wood Suhr model.

    Thanks!


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Initial clear coat followed by pore filler. Another clear coat over the pore filler. If more pore filler is desired, repeat filler than clear.

    White blonde lacquer until desired opacity is obtained. It will look a little bit "fleshy" colored even with pure white blonde lacquer – the yellowish/pink of the wood shows through a little.

    Heavy application of clear coat.

    For the neck, yellow alcohol-based dye, diluted to taste, allowed to fully dry, followed by clear coat.

    Clear coat your guard, if using the old-style black guard from the early '50s.

    Fully assemble the guitar, and start playing it.

    When it is not being played, leave it in a tall window receiving full sun, alternating front and back as needed, until desired butterscotch color is obtained.

    Make sure your lacquers are not the kind that are designed not to yellow.

    Nothing will look closer to the "real deal" than doing it this way...because this is basically how the "real deal" ones got to look that way in the first place. If you don't have the patience for this, then you'll have to settle for something that doesn't look as good, like using tinted lacquers.
     
    Telekarster and Fretting out like this.
  4. guitarjesus

    guitarjesus TDPRI Member

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    So it's just a yellowed blonde...got it. Thanks
     
  5. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    To pick nits, not exactly. It's mostly yellowed clear, not yellowed blonde. The blonde lacquer did yellow, but the highly dramatic yellowing was mostly due to the clear coats. The blonde layers were very thin; there was much more clear than blonde on those guitars. The thicker the lacquer is, the more dramatically it yellows.

    A few years in, they either started skipping the clear, used less of it, or changed to a different clear coat material that didn't yellow as deeply, because most of the whiteguard era guitars don't yellow so dramatically. And again, around the turn of the decade, they changed something else, because the '60s blondes don't yellow very much at all (not to mention that the blonde finishes were changed to being sprayed almost opaquely). My suspicion is that Fender switched to using less clear around when white guards started, and perhaps eliminated it entirely around 1960, and started applying extra layers of blonde instead.
     
    Telekarster and Fretting out like this.
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Dan Erlewine has an 8 page discussion on how Fender did various blonds over the years and several recipes in his finishing book.
     
  7. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    In my avatar, you see the 1951 nocaster I built and used clear nitro lacquer and followed the specs of 51 as closely as I could on all details. The pic was taken right after the guitar was plugged in for the very first time... that was a little over a year ago. Note how stark white it looks. A year later and she's already began to yellow up. I don't have a recent pic of her at the moment, but what I can say is that she's aging exactly like the originals, including getting wear spots in all the right places too. In 60 years, she'll look like those originals do today... unfortunately I won't be around for that, but someone will benefit from my labors then ;) I just hope they enjoy it as much as I did ;)

    I saw an original 52 body once that was untouched. The lacquer appeared to be put on by paint brush and was so thick that when they installed the bridge, the bridge actually sank into the lacquer! You could actually see brush strokes in places yet it was 100% original. My theory is that the paint booth was out of order that day, and they had to make do with brushes... It was the deepest, darkest, nearly brown "yellowed" tele I've ever seen that was 100% untouched.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    EsquireOK likes this.
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