What would and finish technique for this?

Rufer

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If you really want the grain to pop you can use a stainless wire brush before sanding. Then Golden Oak Danish Oil.

Exactly what I was going to suggest. I was thinking a soft-brass wire brush, then sand with sandpaper over a folded up towel rather than a sanding block. Definitely test a scrap to see if results meet the target.
Thanks to you both! I will see what damage I can avoid with a wire brush.
I actually can't remember if I really applied a sealer, might have just been the clear.

In any case, what I meant was: to get the look, it has to be a thin finish. Any paint will fill the open grain areas to some degree. The more coats you apply the less you will get the right effect. And with a satin finish you can't sand it -you add matting agent (I think it's called) to the clear when u spray. So if u stuff the spray job up, you can't sand it back and respray since you will be filling the grain. So if you sand back, you'll have to REALLY sand back and start all over again.

Here's a pic of the body doing the
Thank you for clarifying. I get it now. Big thanks for all of pictures and explanations too. Very helpful!
 

Beebe

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This was an experiment on Pine I did a while back. It looks similar.

1. Stain with pine tar mixed with linseed oil and turpentine. This won't look good. It'll mostly just darken the grain. The tar will get into every little opening, but won't really darken the hard wood too much.

2. Before it cures, steel wool until the tar is mostly removed. This will polish the wood. Like an old wood railing that had years of hands running down it. And then let it cure.

3. Spray with Garnet shellac in thin coats to desired amber color.

4. Rub it out with steel wool when fully dry.

I used garbage steel wool in this case so there are deep scratches. Liberon 0000 would be better.

My 5 yr old touched it the other day and said, "Oooo, soft." Nothing like the feel of rubbed out Shellac.

Edit: I forgot to mention that lubricating the steel wool with linseed oil will help avoid large scratches as well.


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Rufer

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This was an experiment on Pine I did a while back. It looks similar.

1. Stain with pine tar mixed with linseed oil and turpentine. This won't look good. It'll mostly just darken the grain. The tar will get into every little opening, but won't really darken the hard wood too much.

2. Before it cures, steel wool until the tar is mostly removed. This will polish the wood. Like an old wood railing that had years of hands running down it. And then let it cure.

3. Spray with Garnet shellac in thin coats to desired amber color.

4. Rub it out with steel wool when fully dry.

I used garbage steel wool in this case so there are deep scratches. Liberon 0000 would be better.

My 5 yr old touched it the other day and said, "Oooo, soft." Nothing like the feel of rubbed out Shellac.

Edit: I forgot to mention that lubricating the steel wool with linseed oil will help avoid large scratches as well.


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Wow! Beautiful. I was already sold on shellac but now I’ll add tar to my list of things to consider.
 

Beebe

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Wow! Beautiful. I was already sold on shellac but now I’ll add tar to my list of things to consider.

Thanks! Be careful with the tar. Definitely test it out first if you decide to use it. Most of the beauty there is from the Garnet shellac. The tar will smell super smokey too... Which I kinda like, but it's strong!

You can probably use the stuff they sell for horses, but I got a small can from a Swedish company that sells traditional products for finishing exterior siding. I think I got the dark variety.

You can find some videos on YouTube of old country dudes treating their wooden tool handles with it, or heating it up and sloping it on timber.

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NoTeleBob

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I'd go with Golden Oak stain (oil base) and Tung oil - after using the light wire wheel in a drill technique to prep if you want those deep grain erosions.

If you just want a finish in that tone and level of shine (no heavy erosion), I would use the same products but just sand normally then finish.
 

Rufer

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I'd go with Golden Oak stain (oil base) and Tung oil - after using the light wire wheel in a drill technique to prep if you want those deep grain erosions.

If you just want a finish in that tone and level of shine (no heavy erosion), I would use the same products but just sand normally then finish.
Thanks! Someone earlier gave a similar recommendation. I’ll search the archives for others’ builds using amber shellac vs. Golden Oak and Tung oil.

Some good places to start. I appreciate your response!
 

Freeman Keller

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Rufer, this is actually kind of an interesting thread. In 24 hours you have had 23 replies to your questions. A few people have commented that the wood looks like ash, I agree but would qualify that. The term "swamp ash" is used for some guitar making woods but there really isn't such a thing, its really used for a whole group of similar woods. Black ash is one of the common ones and looks a lot like your picture

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But I will be honest, it could be any one of a number of different woods - I have lot of oak in my house that looks just like it too (but guitars aren't usually made from oak). Kelly makes a big fuss about using hundred year old reclaimed wood - don't know if that guitar is one or not.

To answer the "finishing technique" part of your question you have been told to sand with 400 paper, steel wool, stainless and brass brushes, knives and chisels. You have been given a long list of finishing materials, evaporative to reactive. I'm not saying any of them are wrong (or right) but you sure have a lot of choices.

Again, Kelly mentions old nitro finishes but not necessarily that the one in your picture. I think I could get the look of your picture with nitro (that is mostly what I use) but I would sure want to experiment on scrap.

Good luck, it will be interesting to see what you come up with.

ps - as much as I like shellac on vintage classical guitars I would hesitate to use it on an electric. Shellac is a beautiful finish but is somewhat delicate, again do your home work.
 

RHazelwood

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For getting the color, a common oil-based stain like minwax works well on open-grained woods like ash or oak. A big variable in how the stain takes is what grit you sand up to. The coarser the grit, the deeper the color. It will be darker at 150 grit than at 400. Also you have to contend with the fact that end-grain areas tend to absorb more stain and end up darker. This effect is more pronounced with lower grits. So one thing you can do is sand the end-grain areas to a higher grit. Anyways this is the kind of thing you should experiment with on your test boards.

For getting the texture...well with ash you'll get a fair amount if texture by default if you don't grain fill. If you want to accentuate it, you can try the wire brush, but a metal brush will probably put tool marks on the wood. If you keep them neat and going with the grain it may look alright.

I have used a blue nylox wheel (looks kind of like a wire wheel but with abrasive nylon strands instead of wire) on a drill to texture some charred pine furniture (sho sugi ban) and I liked the results better than a wire brush or wheel.
 

Timbresmith1

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The crusty old fart in me says “Just do everything the opposite way you would do it if you wanted it to turn out good”. 😂
 

pypa

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To answer your original question, that is an ash body likely stained with some type of "cherry" stain.
It is then probably finished with a coat or two of wiped on polyurethane.

That's my guess.
 

schmee

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Awesome. Thank you.

As for finishing then, is this what it looks like when you don’t fill the grain?

Stain then wax? oil?

Thanks again.
That grain is hollowed out pretty deep. I don't know why. Maybe refinishing etc. Appears old.
It wont normally look quite like that without grain filling. Here is an alder one i did. No stain, no fill, just wipe on poly, but I brushed it on. 3 thin coats. Not a great pic unfortunately.
 

Peegoo

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This is a swamp ash body I made about 20 years ago.

Sanded to 320. Rubbed in five or six applications of Minwax walnut-color Danish oil, wiped dry each time. Followed with a light scrub with 400 grit paper to contrast the grain. Followed that with a single application of the walnut Danish oil, wiped dry, to soften the bright areas of hard grain, and then a single thin coat of amber nitro and two coats of clear nitro.

I gigged with this thing for several years.

Becker-Telesmasher-Montage.jpg
 

Peegoo

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For the deep grain look you need to accentuate it by sanding the soft grain areas more, scraping them using a sharp knife/ chisels/ whatever.

You can achieve the same result by using a 3M sanding sponge. The soft 'fine' grade. It digs out the soft grain and leaves the hard grain.

The hard sanding sponges sold at paint stores will not work.
 

Bob J

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ps - as much as I like shellac on vintage classical guitars I would hesitate to use it on an electric.
Hi Freeman, I’ve seen you mention this multiple times over the years, is it because you believe players are less careful when playing their electric guitars? A t-style typically has a big ol’ pick guard on it, which prevents Willie Nelson style wear…
 

Freeman Keller

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Hi Freeman, I’ve seen you mention this multiple times over the years, is it because you believe players are less careful when playing their electric guitars? A t-style typically has a big ol’ pick guard on it, which prevents Willie Nelson style wear…
Bob, most classical and steel string players baby their guitars - they go back in cases when you are done playing them. I just don't think many electric player give that kind of care to their guitars - they stay out on stands, they get knocked around on stage. The whole idea of relicing is to make a new guitar look old, a nylon string player would never consider that. Shellac is an evaporative finish and almost any organic solvent will soften it -spill your scotch on your tele and you will have sticky spots.

I don't care if people use shellac, just be aware of its characteristics, and certainly with a few coats of lacquer over it to protect it it will be fine.

Edit, I have to add that I am referring to shellac applied in the French polish technique - dissolved in ethanol and hand applied. That is the only way I have done it. I have brushed some of the canned zinsser stuff on as a seal coat on bare wood but that was never a final finish for me. Canned or sprayed or other solvents might be perfectly OK. Classical guitars are French polished.
 
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Beebe

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Bob, most classical and steel string players baby their guitars - they go back in cases when you are done playing them. I just don't think many electric player give that kind of care to their guitars - they stay out on stands, they get knocked around on stage. The whole idea of relicing is to make a new guitar look old, a nylon string player would never consider that. Shellac is an evaporative finish and almost any organic solvent will soften it -spill your scotch on your tele and you will have sticky spots.

I don't care if people use shellac, just be aware of its characteristics, and certainly with a few coats of lacquer over it to protect it it will be fine.

Edit, I have to add that I am referring to shellac applied in the French polish technique - dissolved in ethanol and hand applied. That is the only way I have done it. I have brushed some of the canned zinsser stuff on as a seal coat on bare wood but that was never a final finish for me. Canned or sprayed or other solvents might be perfectly OK. Classical guitars are French polished.

I know Shellac does not dissolve in the organic solvent turpentine, because I use it sometimes for wet sanding it. For the same reason I know it also doesn't dissolve in spike lavender, rosemary, or fir essential oils... which are other organic solvents used in place of mineral spirits in artist paints. Naphtha also does not dissolve it... I've been told.

Shellac readily dissolves in strong alcohols and very slowly in highly alkaline water (like a water borax solution).

I have never heard of anything else dissolving it, but I would be interested in hearing what does.
 

ponycar

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I agree with timbersmith 1. Ash/ Minwax Golden Oak oil base stain, seal with clear shellac, either spray or rub in with cloth. Then about 8 more coats of clear shellac or spray clear laquer.
 




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