So a few years ago, I built my first guitar from a kit.

Telecaster with a "natural" finish because I'm quite lazy. I didn't do a great job though and the finish isn't looking too good these days. Considering sanding it down and staining it red before adding a new coat of finish so I have some questions.

- Will I have any big problems attempting to stain it given the finish? Keep in mind that I didn't do a very good job.

- Is there some kind of oil I can use to give it a good sheen (not super glossy) as opposed to a spray finish? It's too difficult to set up a spray booth in my house and I used tru-oil for the neck of my last build and was very pleased with the results.

Any help you can give me with this would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you're curious here are some small albums of my previous builds, including the one in question.

- Build #1

- Build #2
Check out "Tru-Oil" gun stock finish by Birchwood Casey. I've used it instead of a spray on finish for a couple of guitars. You Tube has videos of it's application.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at Jun 23, 2014,
For a natural finish I like to use an amber shellac. I don't apply it the "proper" way. I pore a generous amount on the guitar, smear it around with my hand, let it sit for around 30 seconds then wipe it off with an old T shirt. I then let it dry overnight and do the same thing again. After 4 or 5 application you get a nice natural mat finish.

The guitar in this photo was done with blonde shellac but using the same method.

True oil is another good option. I gives you a glossy finish and is more difficult to apply because it picks up lint easily when you apply it. If you do use true oil, don't follow the instructions. Put on a generous amount and use something like an old credit card as like a squeegee to coat the guitar then let it dry for 2 to 3 days. Do this 4 or 5 times.
Not taking any online orders.
If you want a fast-track option, Birchwood Casey also sell a filler/sealer as part of the Tru-Oil range. I'd also second the advice to ignore their application instructions. If you want decent build, you need to start with some heavy coats and leave them to soak in. Buff lightly with #0000 steel wool between applications and then leave for a few days before leveling with micromesh. Buff and polish after.
Thanks for the advice. Like I said, I used tru-oil for the neck of my second build and got on well with it. Good results and fairly easy to use. I think that's what I'll go with.