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help to finish a carved guitar body

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Forum topic by savagewerx posted 04-19-2011 01:18 PM 8334 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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savagewerx

4 posts in 2106 days


04-19-2011 01:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: guitar sanding finishing

hi,new to the wood scene,ive recently built and carved a guitar body,and was wondering if anyone out there could give me some advice on finishing? what grain of sand paper should i finish on.i also would like to darken the wood (cherry) a couple of shades but am worring about a little about the end grains on the carving going darker and not being consistant across the board,trying to stay away from stains,are there any techniques,oils or tinted finishes i can use that will help me? cheers for any help my way


8 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 2626 days


#1 posted 04-19-2011 02:53 PM

That’s just amazing. I haven’t seen its equal.

I would probably spray on a washcoat of shellac (or a thin coat of your normal finish) and then use a tinted finish to get your color right. I just would not rub on anything, especially in the carved areas because you will get disuniformity in those areas (even with a clear finish). And, because it’s cherry wood, I’d be careful with any blotching, particularly if the back of the guitar is flat and uncarved. In other words, you want to keep your things atop the guitar as much as possible…any disuniformity will come because of penetration.

I would spray the entire thing using about a 1000 very thin coats (over exaggeration there) to make sure you’ve covered all your carved areas without danger of oversaturating it. Final coats with clear finish of your chosen sheen.

Definitely sand down to 300 to 400 grit initially and 400 to 600 grit between finish coats (lightly sand). The last few coats I’d wet sand up to 1000 grit.

Most instruments are finished similar to this fashion, particularly hollow-bodied guitars. Although yours is solid-bodied, it will benefit from the same approach.

Now, there are way to add contrast by glazing the carved regions prior to your final coats (i.e. perhaps slightly ebonizing in between carvings), however because I have very little experience with that on intricate designs like this, I’ll just defer to other more experienced LJs.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View idigjars's profile

idigjars

40 posts in 2097 days


#2 posted 04-19-2011 03:08 PM

That is beautiful. Great job! Thank you for sharing with us. Paul

-- Take your time and do it right once.

View rance's profile

rance

4245 posts in 2627 days


#3 posted 04-19-2011 03:24 PM

First off, fantastic work. I’d be REAL interested in some detailed pictures too.

I’d suggest you take a practice block and carve a little so you can simulate your finish there so you can see what the end grain is gonna do. You can darken Cherry up very quickly by simply setting it out in the sun for a couple of hours. Be careful that it doesn’t cause warping though.

A recording artist and guitar builder/repairman friend of mine has told me in the past “Folks can’t see past the shine on a guitar”. The shine is more important than many of the other issues you might have.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4458 posts in 3427 days


#4 posted 04-19-2011 03:44 PM

Seal it with dewaxed shellac. Buff it out with fine non-woven pads and steel wool. Finish with wiping varnish.
You will have a swell time with all the buffing/wooling you’ll have to do, but think of all the time spent on the carving.
When finished, put the guitar away ‘cause the first time you put a scratch on it, you’ll want to kill yourself.
Oh, is “disuniformity” really a word?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Bill White

4458 posts in 3427 days


#5 posted 04-19-2011 03:46 PM

Forgot to ask….
What’s the peg head gonna look like? Same wood, or contrasting?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4458 posts in 3427 days


#6 posted 04-19-2011 03:46 PM

Forgot to ask….
What’s the peg head gonna look like? Same wood, or contrasting?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 2518 days


#7 posted 04-19-2011 09:43 PM

Wow! Great carving. If that’s cherry, I’d hit it with boiled linseed oil, soak it for about 5-10 minutes, wipe it dry, then set it out in the Aussie sun. Keep an eye on it and be sure to turn it and flip it to get an even shade. Cherry is very photo-reactive and darkens quickly in the sun. As for sanding, looks pretty good now. I wouldn’t go beyond p220; 320 at the most. Stains and glazes on cherry should be illegal. After the oil is good and dry, you can shoot it with a good clear laquer, or leave it as is with a light waxing and a LOT of buffing. Two humbuckers and a single coil—SRV fan? Where’s the pickup selector switch going to go?

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View savagewerx's profile

savagewerx

4 posts in 2106 days


#8 posted 04-20-2011 12:28 PM

thanks for all the feedback everyone,have a small offcut left,so i’ll cut it up and carve it and try all the techniques above,i’ll post it up when its finally finished with some deteiled photos,the peg head,neck are taken off a existing yamaha guitar i had lying around that i sanded back,carved and finished,its the colour of the body at the moment,the reason i want to darken the body ,the finger board is a dark walnut colour, im currently re-sizing all of the inlays with paua shell,i wasnt game enough to try building the neck etc. just yet. the pick up selector is going in front of the tail of the sea monster,just above the head to head spirals along the bottom,the volume control sits with the tail wrapped around it and the tone control just to the right

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