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Old 10-11-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
IamJonsCranium
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Oil finish for acoustic guitar top?

What type of oil finish for a bare wood acoustic top? I want natural - no varnish or polymerized stuff.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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I'm assuming that when you say natural, you mean natural looking? Otherwise, shellac is natural and dries like a varnish, except with a poor resistance to water.

As for natural oil finishes, I've always heard that an oil finish can dampen the resonance of the wood.

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Old 10-11-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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do NOT use an oil finish on an acoustic. It will soak into the wood and absolutely destroy the sound. Acoustics do rely fully on their wood to make up its sound. If you soak oil in it, it will deaden the sound completely.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Explorerbuilder
do NOT use an oil finish on an acoustic. It will soak into the wood and absolutely destroy the sound. Acoustics do rely fully on their wood to make up its sound. If you soak oil in it, it will deaden the sound completely.

Thanks for the input.

I sanded the clear polymer finish off my guitar. I don't want it to be plain dry wood. What should I put on it? I'm sort of disapointed because oiled wood looks so nice. Would even a light rub of Dr Ducks be detrimental?
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:37 AM   #5
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Yikes, I'd be real picky about what you use on there. A polish meant for finished wood is probably not a good idea on bare wood.

I think a function of the varnish/lacquer on an acoustic is to keep that very thin wood from absorbing moisture. I'm no expert on the subject but I'd be pretty worried about it cracking or splitting with winter coming and nothing sealing it.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:45 PM   #6
IamJonsCranium
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Originally Posted by Roc8995
Yikes, I'd be real picky about what you use on there. A polish meant for finished wood is probably not a good idea on bare wood.

I think a function of the varnish/lacquer on an acoustic is to keep that very thin wood from absorbing moisture. I'm no expert on the subject but I'd be pretty worried about it cracking or splitting with winter coming and nothing sealing it.

There's no finish on the inside, so I don't think that's it.

I've got a satin finish on my Martin DX. Something like that would be nice for this guitar.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:41 AM   #7
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Varnish has been used on stringed instruments for as lng as history. Better finishes have come along in the last few decades. It is my understanding that *some* finishes have an effect on the tone. THat might be onna 300 yr old Stratavarius, tho
Purpose of the finish is to protect the wood. Ya don;t get finger smudges and sweat gobs on the inside of a guitar, do ya?

I like lacquer. The real, natural sort..nitro, if you will...not the newer synthetics and acrylics. Dunno how shellac might work?? I use it on some wood projects; but several (lots!) of coats are needed to fill and blend smooth. That will prolly deaden the sound some, so it's more'n'likely out for a guitar.
Varnishing [instruments] is an art. Lacquer is easier, IMO. Pick up a can of original "DEFT" at the hardware/paint/box store and try it out on some other project/scrap first. Keep a wet edge. even and don't brush it out too much...like varnish. Sand lightly between coats. After three or or it should be fine as frog hair with just a polish job D

DEFT makes a "satin", too
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