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Old 06-24-2015, 06:12 AM   #1
Vincesax
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mahogony finish?

I just stripped a ibanez rg from its black finish so i am down to bare wood (mahogony).
Anyone any tips on how to finish it?
i oiled some guitars in the past and it was pretty nice.
But i'dd like to try something else. So anyone got some unusual guitar finishing techniques?

Thanks in advance
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:12 PM   #2
Blademaster2
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My only comment on finishes is to consider what the master violin makers discovered, which is that the finish should not penetrate the wood very much and 'choke' off the resonance of the body. I would be a bit concerned that an oil finish would do just that, so my preference would be to seal the wood and apply a lacquer (or polyurethane) over it to protect it and give it durable but elastic protection. If the wood grain is attractive you might even leave it clear.

Mahogany (is it solid, or ply? Very important distinction) is a nice sounding resonant wood, so it would be a shame to impact it to reduce the contribution it would make to the guitar tone.

I know that not everyone agrees that the wood had *any* influence on the guitar tone, but I have experienced the difference myself.
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Old 06-24-2015, 04:09 PM   #3
T00DEEPBLUE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blademaster2
I know that not everyone agrees that the wood had *any* influence on the guitar tone, but I have experienced the difference myself.

Most people here agree that wood does make a difference under the right circumstances. But with the disclaimer that any significant effect that the wood does have on tone is completely drowned out by other more significant variables that occur in a realistic setting. Chances are, it isn't going to matter to you outside of aesthetics, weight, durability, workability, the ability to take a finish and most significantly, the placebo effect.

Since that's the case, how thick the finish is on an amplified electric guitar is inconsequential.
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Old 06-24-2015, 04:38 PM   #4
Blademaster2
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I agree that it is subtle, but based on first hand experience I respectfully disagree that it is inconsequential.

Years ago I built a solid walnut guitar, and since the wood was so attractive I decided to *not* fill the wood grain before applying lacquer (filler would have muddied up the grain's glow beneath the finish). The body soaked up many successive lacquer coats before building up a thickness, and since I had given the guitar a 'dry run' before applying the finish I can say that the tone and resonance *did* noticeably change before and after. I always regretted my decision at that time to put appearance ahead of performance. If I had it to do over again, I would have filled the wood grain first.

As I see it, this was not a placebo effect - I do truly wish it *had* been drowned out by other factors, but sadly it was not (nothing else on the guitar changed before versus after the finish application).
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Old 06-25-2015, 03:17 AM   #5
Vincesax
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back on topic unconventionel wood finishes?
i stripped it down to have on open wood because i also think it resonates better but the wood needs to be protected, i dont want to use urethane laqeur...
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:27 PM   #6
ad_works
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down to clean bare wood? use super blonde shellac (freshly mixed yourself if you can) to seal the wood and prevent finish penetration. if you don't like the grain then you'll need to pore fill. both lmi and stew mac have multiple offerings here. un-dyed, acrylic bead type is my favorite.

if you're a man of nature then consider a wipe on poly finish. easy, cheap, low on the voc's. depth of finish and quality of sheen depend upon how much effort you put in. vermont coatings and afm safecoat have some enviro friendly choices. or you can be a maverick and do french polish but it won't last very long.

i know of a builder who uses gun powder to do a traditional japanese finish on his guitars. he sprinkles on some of winchester's finest, puts it under a wok, lights the fuse, and poof!

Last edited by ad_works : 06-25-2015 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:28 PM   #7
dspellman
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Originally Posted by ad_works
or you can be a maverick and do french polish but it won't last very long.



If you're going to gig the guitar, talk to someone who does motorcycles or automotive finishes. Fill the grain, sand it smooth and have him put a couple of coats of finish on it. They're mostly self-leveling and by the time you sand back any orange peel, you'll have a thin finish that resonates and that looks amazing and that protects your guitar.

I've done (had done for me, actually) one French Polish finish, and it's still gorgeous and like new several decades later. But honestly, that guitar is babied. A French Polish finish takes time to apply, is almost inherently thin, and you want to keep alcohol away from it (alky will dissolve the finish). It can, however, be fixed more easily than any other finish that I'm aware of.

Well, maybe that gunpowder finish...
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