What DIY finish for old, brittle, fragile pine?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by DADGAD, May 18, 2021.

What finish would you recommend?

  1. Watco Danish Oil

    16.7%
  2. Tru-Oil

    33.3%
  3. Other (explain)

    50.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    This is about building a body from family heirlooms. The box with markings is from the late 1800's, which will be used for the top. The 1.5" thick sugar pine back is from a piece of home furniture made in 1982. The box is .5" thick pine that is old, dry and brittle. It cannot be sanded because that would ruin the old markings. I appreciate any suggestions and ideas.

    I'm thinking of gently cleaning the top with Murphy's Oil Soap. I have had great success on my first pine Tele that I built and used Watco Danish oil for the finish. But this is different. I'm considering using Tru-Oil. I want to keep the markings visible. So, protecting the wood is a priority.

    Please walk me through this. Do I need something that will soak into the top and then harden? I think Danish will do this. Any way make the old markings pop? I'm also considering a clear pickguard to add protection.

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    Progress...

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    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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  2. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

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    That is going to be insanely cool.

    For protective purposes, have you considered a dead flat water based poly? I read an article a few months ago somewhere online about a guy who finished an old table with something that was literally dead flat and completely invisible. I was amazed by it. I don't remember the name of the product though.
     
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  3. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds interesting. Please share here if you remember the name or have a link.
     
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  4. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

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    I found it and read through the article again. I was wrong - it's a varnish, not a poly. It doesn't sound TOTALLY like a miracle finish, but it still seems promising. There's a link to the product near the end of the article:

    https://julieblanner.com/modern-masters-dead-flat/
     
  5. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Ah. Thanks for the link. But it sounds like it won't be very protective of a guitar top.

    "This finish wipes clean with a wet cloth, but as predicted, doesn’t offer much protection. We do have a marker stain that won’t budge.


    For me, this finish is not suitable for surfaces, at least those that are frequently used or used by children, but great for cabinetry, console tables and accent pieces."
     
  6. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. I read that too. Bummer. I love the way it looks.
     
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  7. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Are you sure it needs to be protected?

    I'm a big fan of boiled linseed oil. That offers a historic and moderately protective finish.

    but yeah, if you want protective... something like polyester or another resin would probably be best.

    Personally, I like things to feel natural and am willing to accept moderate wear after years of use as a part of the beauty of the product.
     
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  8. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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  9. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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  10. oldunc

    oldunc Tele-Meister

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    I'd use an oil finish with a very high solid content- General Finishes' Outdoor Oil is my go to. You can achieve a light surface coat with the oil, or use a stronger surface finish. For pure feel, you can't beat oil with wax over it, but polyurethane might be more to the point on a guitar.
     
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  11. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    This is a very cool project :).

    I've used both the Danish Oil and TruOil, and the Danish Oil seems to have more build to the finish, which is I suppose just another way of saying you get a thicker finish with fewer coats.

    If your goal is to protect and preserve the wood, a thicker and more durable finish like a poly-urethane or a catalyzed finish might serve you better.

    Plain old lacquer falls in between the oils and the heavier-duty polys and it looks great and ages very gracefully :).

    I know I'm not much help, but for this particular project I'd think you'd want to consider all alternatives and pick one that you're most apt to have the most success with.

    I've shot myself in the foot a few times by going with a finish schedule that sounded pretty good at first, but didn't pan out the way I'd hoped ;).

    .
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  12. bigbenbob

    bigbenbob TDPRI Member

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    Not being a finish expert, but knowing enough to be dangerous: some finishes sink in (linseed oil, true oil) and some grip the surface, barely sink in and add a layer. Danish and True-oil are half way in that they have a low percentage component that polymerizes and leaves a very thin region slightly "varnished"but no added layer. Shellac adds a layer, but it is often thinned a lot (French polish technique) so that it sinks in and then you build layers on top. Shellac is soft so thick coats will show wear. Nitrocellulose repairs easily (harder than shellac, softer than poly) by dissolving with each new layer.

    Sounds like you want a protective layer so I am thinking thinned nitro to start, then a few layers full strength. Nitro will yellow nicely with time. Try on some left over pieces of the box first.
     
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  13. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Somebody mentioned it but boiled linseed oil really does a nice job.
     
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  14. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    Oil based poly mixed with mineral spirits 50/50. Wipe on, at least 5-7 coats. Will penetrate like an oil but be a tad more durable. Use semi or gloss poly when making wiping poly for best results. Knock the gloss down with steel wool if its too glossy for your taste.
     
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  15. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Progress pictures.

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  16. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Looks great so far. I like how the High explosives line is just above the pickups.
     
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  17. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    The top is very fragile and brittle. I may go with a clear pickguard.
     
  18. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    If it very fragile you might look into something like PC Petrifier to harden and protect the wood or you could use CA glue.
     
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  19. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    That looks excellent i would keep it rustic and just brush on some varnish brush lines and all
     
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  20. bigbenbob

    bigbenbob TDPRI Member

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    Only a clear (or no) pickguard will let it remain visible.
     
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