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Forum topic by jacob34 posted 08-14-2012 06:32 PM 1449 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2291 days

08-14-2012 06:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: thoughts questions opinion handplanes guitar finish tru-oil jig kreg

I purchased a electric guitar kit first off and need to get some advice and check somethings and as Lumberjocks is the go to place for helpful woodworkers I am going to throw it out there for thoughts. I am seriously confused on the finishing well in general, I need a sealer which I put on after sanding? I have up to this point used a poly with a stain in it but I think I heard that someone told me once that poly is not good for the neck? Has anyone got any opinion on Tru-oil? I also want to stain the body, I have seen a couple videos online talking about some nitro stuff, is there a reason I can’t just pic a stain I like up as say my homie depot store and use that? Also I read in the instructions for this thing that I can get some vibration in the pickups, should I tighten everything super tight, which I would think could cause problems with certain aspects of the build.

Hand planes awwe the wonderful world of hand planes, man I think using one is by far the most fun I have building a project. I find myself planing more of a board than I need to, anyway I have several planes and have notice my jack plane gets used the most. Is that common? or am I just not to the point of using the rest as often as I could. Hmm probably me fav because the blade was in the best shape of my planes when I got it and quickest to sharpen. Which by the way I have a blade on my jointer plane that is almost impossible for me to keep sharp, which confuses me as I sharpen them all the same way and the other planes stay sharper longer even the ones I use when pissed at the jointer and grab another.

I wanted or want a kreg pocket hole jig, but as I am on a budget or rather money goes to other areas first, I don’t have one as of yet. My wife though wants a puzzle table with the top being some reclaimed oak board from a barn. So I decided to attempt to do my own pocket holes, I started a hole at a ninety the angled the drill at my desired angle and plunged right in, with a stop on my bit so it didn’t drill to far. While I still want the jig I was happy that it seemed to fit the bill for the time being.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

16 replies so far

View Mosquito's profile


9355 posts in 2320 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 06:40 PM

Idea re: Kreg Jig.
What if you got a small piece of scrap, drilled a pocket hole the way you did before, but go all the way through it, and then you have a make-shift jig? Not sure if it would work, or for how long it would, but worth a shot maybe…

For your Jack plane, how do you have the iron sharpened? does it have a camber, or is it straight? I use my smoothers the most (my #3, and #4). I’ve got a camber on my jack planes (both) so I only use them to dimension stock or to start flattening panels.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 06:43 PM

The reason builders prefer nitro is because its transparency
sells guitars. If you are set up for it (which you aren’t) it
is a forgiving and efficient finish with a super high-end
look in the hands of a skilled nitro finisher.

On an electric, use whatever you like the look of and
are comfortable with. If you start making guitars to sell,
you’ll find glassy finishes are important to marketability.

In terms of the neck, oil finished necks are not uncommon
and some players prefer the feel.

Usually when guitars are colored the finisher uses
aniline dye. Dyes are transparent while stains are not.
Typically you get a grain filler and color it with a dye
if you want a special look. A common one is to use
a dark filler to emphasize the grain of open-pored
woods like ash. Careful grain filling is essential to getting
a smooth, glassy finish.

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2291 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 06:47 PM

I don’t have a camber on my jack I really use it more like a narrower smoothing plane, haven’t tried putting a chamber on a iron yet. I think your idea with the scrap is a good one, I wonder if you could use a piece of pvc pipe either way, I like the pocket hole idea and don’t have the jig as of yet, so had to figure out a different way of doing it.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Mosquito's profile


9355 posts in 2320 days

#4 posted 08-14-2012 06:50 PM

That might explain why you use your jack more. I might have to be on the look out for another jack (or just buy a replacement iron…) so I can try using one as a smoother… I haven’t yet.

I first did pocket hole joints with out the jig… they’re not the easiest, but they’re also not that difficult either. I think it’s more dependent on the amount of space you have for getting the drill where it needs to be

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#5 posted 08-14-2012 07:01 PM

I drill pocket holes in a pinch in 2x material using a 3/8”
spade bit. Drill straight down a bit then you can turn the
bit to a shallow angle and carve out the pocket hole with
the spurs. The point needs to be buried in the wood
a bit to execute the turn.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2542 days

#6 posted 08-14-2012 07:56 PM

Loren is right about his finishes, but I specialize in open grain finishes with my guitars, so it’s nitro lacquer, 8-10 coats, polished with Novus #2 to a mirror gloss. I’ve only filled once or twice, when I was doing an actual color. (The guitar was painted silver metallic)

As far as the neck, I put on a semi gloss nitro on the back and buff it down just until it slides, players love the slick feel. On the front of the neck I’ll put gloss nitro, but then I have to go back and use a little tool I got from Stewmac that covers everything but the fret and I polish off all finish off the frets so they are nice and shiny with no lacquer on them.
I’ve been tempted to try the Tru-Oil thing, after having a long conversation with a gun builder. The finish is stunning, but I think that guitars may take even more of a beating in certain places with sweat and so on. Also, the time to achieve the finish may be a limiting factor for me.

And screwing down the pickups tight, be sure you don’t start bending the tabs or breaking plastic, if you have plastic covers. you just want them tight enough in a solidbody that they don’t make any buzzing sounds or move around that would cause noise.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3403 days

#7 posted 08-14-2012 08:34 PM

The ”nitro stuff” is probably nitro cellulose lacquer. It’s the preferred finish on many stringed instruments because it supposedly flexes with the body better than poly, has excellent tonal quality, and looks great. For a solid body electric guitar it’s probably a lot less critical for the sound.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4152 days

#8 posted 08-15-2012 02:07 AM

On your jointer plane blade, have you considered re-tempering it? If I remember the process right (and it’s worth getting Ron Hock’s book, but if you haven’t bought a pocket hole jig ‘cause of the cost yet I understand), you heat it up with a torch ‘til it glows, another way to tell is when it looses its magnetism. Then quench it in a can of something like peanut oil (do this carefully and outside, there’s a chance you could ignite the oil). Then toss it in a 300°F oven ‘til it comes up to temperature (in the second heating, you want to heat it to just before it turns the blue-ish color again, if it turns color you’ve lost the temper and need to go through the whole process over).

You should find it’s a lot harder.

If you don’t want to do oil you can try water, but that’ll give you a different hardness.

On the pocket hole jig, before I dropped the $30 on the clamp-on one they have at OSH, I did what Mos suggests: Took a piece of hard wood, drilled a hole at an angle through it. I gauged how deep I wanted the bit to go and chucked it fairly deep so I could stop there (a piece of masking tape on the but also makes a good “stop here” marker). Then I just used a small bar clamp to attach it to the things I wanted to drill out, and did so, followed along with a smaller drill freehand for the final hole. Not quite as convenient as a stepped pocket hole jig, but not too bad.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2512 days

#9 posted 08-15-2012 02:24 AM

In the violin shops I worked in years ago, maple necks (and they were all maple without exception) was scraped smooth, then buffed with 0000 steel wool and mineral oil. The oil penetrates the wood and gives it some visual depth, but doesn’t build up a film finish that fingers with all their skin oils would catch on. Ebony fingerboards were done the exact same way.

A luthier I know that fixes guitars does the same with guitar necks.

-- Brian Timmons -

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2505 days

#10 posted 08-15-2012 05:01 AM

NCL does save the tone I have it on all my Axes. I would not use any thing else. Oil on the neck is a common professional musicians choice. I prefer NCL on the neck. Some players like the sanding sealer only and then they wax the neck others like bear wood.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Woodknack's profile


11813 posts in 2407 days

#11 posted 08-15-2012 07:20 AM

On my humble instruments I’ve used rattlecan lacquer. It goes on easy, dries fast and can be sprayed again in 30 minutes. Lacquer also melts into itself so you don’t need to sand every coat. Lacquer is the clearest of all finishes whereas varnish and oils are yellowish, and poly is bluish.

As for the kreg jig, go for it.

-- Rick M,

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2211 days

#12 posted 08-15-2012 08:16 PM

Actually, nitrocellulose lacquer has a yellowish tint that darkens over time. That’s one of the reasons why a ‘61 cherry SG is now maroon/brown.

If anyone here can consistently name the finish of a guitar in a blind test with accuracy, I’ll pony up a months wages. Nitro is used in instruments because it is what was traditionally used (especially for the classic models from Gibson and Fender), subsequent coats melt into the previous layer for easy spraying, and you can drop-fill repairs without witness lines. It’s not harder or more durable than poly, it takes a long time to cure, will destroy your lungs if you don’t use a respirator, and without plasticizers has a tendency to crack (which some people like, and try to intentionally do with razors or freezing).

Check out the Home Depot forum on for lots and lots of info on building and finishing guitars.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View carguy460's profile


802 posts in 2363 days

#13 posted 08-15-2012 08:34 PM

Jacob – you managed to mention 2 of my favorite things right in your title, along with the word opinion…so I’m giving mine!

Allow me to say that I have yet to build a guitar, but it is on my want list. I’ve been playing guitar for almost 15 years now, and I can tell you that I can’t tell any tonal differences between the poly and the nitro on a solidbody. Personally, I like the nitro finishes because I think they look better…I’ve got a newer Mexican Tele with a thick poly finish and it looks like its plastic…just not really my cup of tea. I also think that the Nitro finish wears really nice…sure, the poly finish is tougher than all heck, but I prefer the look and feel of a worn finish, which the nitro allows. I’m not the guy to buy a new guitar that has fake aging, nor will I abuse my guitars just so they get the “roadworn” look…I like the look of a worn nitro finish from years of ME playing it, gigging it, etc. Again, this is just personal preference, but my “roadworn” guitar tells the story of me and my playing…My Mexican Tele will never have this, which is OK too I guess…

I have no clue what finish is on the neck of my guitars, but some feel right and some just dont…the ones that feel right have a satin finish and are smooooooth…the ones with a high gloss sure feel slick at first, but once the sweat starts pouring they tend to get sticky on me. Maybe its just me and all in my mind…who knows??

Anyway, thanks for letting me talk guitars!

-- Jason K

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2505 days

#14 posted 08-16-2012 01:40 AM

I will take the bet on picking the finish. I can tell the finish quite easily.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2211 days

#15 posted 08-16-2012 05:04 AM

From a recording? Uh, ok.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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