Finishing rosewood (a guitar neck) - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Finishing rosewood (a guitar neck)

Hello everybody! I'm new here and I need some help with finishing :)

I will hopefully soon have to finish an all rosewood guitar neck and since I haven't done anything like that before (I don't have any experience in finishing - or building guitars for that matter :P ) I am a bit confused.

My first question is whether or not to finish the neck. The reason for not finishing it should be the feeling of the unfinished wood (that is supposed to be amazing). The reason for finishing it should be increased durability, possibility for making the wood darker and also the fact that the unfinished wood may get smelly due to the sweat from the hands (Iím a bit worried about this since my hands often are getting sweaty when playing). Right now Iím lending towards finishing it, what are your opinions?

The problem with rosewood (mine is indian rosewood to be specific) is apparently that the natural oils are making finishing difficult. I've read conflicting statements about how to achieve a good finish despite this. One way is to start with some layers of shellac and then end with varnish and another way is to use oil finishes. Can someone enlighten me? What will work and what will not?

I have added some pictures. One of them shows how the raw wood probably is going to look, another is a gloss finish and finaly there is a not-so-glossy neck. I like the not-so-glossy one the best, but is that even finished? If you have any idea how any of these finishes is made I would be happy to hear about it :)

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 04:20 PM
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Hey JDG, yes, i used to do guitars for lasbrook in florida, for a low sheen neck you can use lacquer/ conversion varnish/ 2 component urethanes [meant for wood/ or polyesters. Lashbrook wanted the old time lacquers but i eventually got him to go with conversion varnish anf 2K urethanes later on. Nice neck by the way!!

Get back with exactly what your looking for ok? sounds like you want a matt finsh that resembles close as possible the natural wood correct? if so i will at least outline what i did and i'm sure a fewothers will chime in as time goes by ok? gotta go but ill be back.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chemmy View Post
sounds like you want a matt finsh that resembles close as possible the natural wood correct?
Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking! I want a matte finish that is darkened a little but otherwise looks like the natural wood (like in the third picture) and it should offer some degree of protection against dirt and sweat from my hands. Could I also ask you to be as precise as you can when referring to different finishing products, especially those not too well-known? I live in Denmark and sometimes it's difficult to find the danish words for such things. If I know what they consist of it helps a bit :)
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JDG View Post
Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking! I want a matte finish that is darkened a little but otherwise looks like the natural wood (like in the third picture) and it should offer some degree of protection against dirt and sweat from my hands. Could I also ask you to be as precise as you can when referring to different finishing products, especially those not too well-known? I live in Denmark and sometimes it's difficult to find the danish words for such things. If I know what they consist of it helps a bit :)
OK, let's go old school then, what they used on guitars bodies and necks for over 50 years and still do to a small extent. ok?

That coating is called "NITROCELLULOSE" lacquer. It should be available their also. It's i a great finish that is pretty easy to repair and you can get it in low sheens [low gloss] as low or lower, as to what your looking for ok? I would buy "flat finish or 10 sheen if it were me.

You will also need the nitro sealer as a first coat, and maybe a second coat depending on how much you thin it. Also buy the thinner/reducer from the same company that sells you the lacquer ok?? and a small amount of retarder in case it's humid and blushes. That is the clear coat finish in total.

I'm busy packing right now so i will get back when i take another break ok?

Vi ses

PS: i see there is a white logo of some kind, is that stamped into the wood?? or maybe a sticker? let me know please it could be a problem unless you can get anotherone if it get messed up easily ok?

Last edited by chemmy; 02-09-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 05:56 PM
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I've only built a few guitars, and used BLO on the necks and fretboard. That was back in the 50s. I've found out over the years that I like an unfinished neck for speed, as compared to thick lacquer, Nitro, or whatever.
If you rub/polish that wood down to 1000 grit, or finer; you'll have a fast, elegant neck or fretboard. Just my opinion.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by H. A. S. View Post
I've only built a few guitars, and used BLO on the necks and fretboard. That was back in the 50s. I've found out over the years that I like an unfinished neck for speed, as compared to thick lacquer, Nitro, or whatever.
If you rub/polish that wood down to 1000 grit, or finer; you'll have a fast, elegant neck or fretboard. Just my opinion.
Good for you, then i will let you do what you want, just remember that nitro can be built thin as well as thick, that's up to the finisher.

Held og lykke
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-09-2012, 10:12 PM
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out of here for a couple of weeks or so moving see ya when im settled
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-10-2012, 12:22 AM
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to my understanding...

....

Last edited by user27606; 02-24-2012 at 12:32 PM.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-10-2012, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chemmy View Post
Held og lykke
Thank you :) and good luck with the moving!

Also thanks to H.A.S. and carpenter for your replies :)

I guess I will just try experimenting on some scrap pieces before deciding on anything. If I just sand it, is it possible to make the wood darker? Will it darken with time or can I use some sort of oil? I've read that lemon oil only darkens the wood short term (but I guess that's not its purpose) and that rosewood and oil not always is a good mix. Do you have any idea on what oil to use? maybe Danish oil (that must be easy to get in denmark ) or tru-oil?
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by JDG View Post
Thank you :) and good luck with the moving!

Also thanks to H.A.S. and carpenter for your replies :)

I guess I will just try experimenting on some scrap pieces before deciding on anything. If I just sand it, is it possible to make the wood darker? Will it darken with time or can I use some sort of oil? I've read that lemon oil only darkens the wood short term (but I guess that's not its purpose) and that rosewood and oil not always is a good mix. Do you have any idea on what oil to use? maybe Danish oil (that must be easy to get in denmark ) or tru-oil?
There are no oil finishes in Denmark or Sweden, LOL, but of course you know that, lol.

I guess i misunderstood what you were saying when you sais you'd leave it sanded i thought you meant you'd just leave it raw wood?

Of course it would be nice to do so and if you kept it in a climate controlled atmosphere you actually could, but thats unrealistic, lol.

Tru -oil which is mainly rosewood oil would be ok, but I'm not usre of it's protective qualities as compared to tung oil which would be my prefference. polymerized tung, a couple of thinned coats every month or so and would keep it in good shape. If you'd cut it back after it was dry, with 4/0 steel wool or fine paper. I think you may be happy with the choice, at least try a sample on scrpas and see ok?
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 03:07 PM
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....

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post #12 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by carpenter547 View Post
do you mean its oil from rose wood or oil for rose wood? if its oil from rose wood and its a rose wood neck then wouldnt the oil already in the rose wood protect it if it was left raw or just sanded super smooth with a light application of a cleaning oil based product?

as far as darkeningi been told that wood either darkens naturally with age ie cherry rosewoods bloodwood purple heart or lightens ie cedar padauk .
iremember hearing that rose woods darken so if thats the case just use a citrus oil for cleaning your remenance off and let nature do its thing. right?
ie sand smootg like 2000grit baby butt smooth apply light coat of tru oil or other pure oil then be done.
the logic being that the applied oil would protect the wood initiall and give the natural oils time to do thier thing.
The oil is from rosewood [ Brazilian rosewood] and yes your rosewood and others would naturally have some but not in a refined dense state as the tru-oil or others would have. i cant remember off the top of my head how many trunks it takes to make a gallon of oil but it's a lot, thus the condemnation of exploiting is uses. not unlike linseed or tung and how many pounds of nut or flax it takes for the same.

Rosewoods can both darken as well as oxidize lighter as seen on antique furniture, i the case of using oils, it would be dark because of the fairly quick renewal of the oil on the wood as compared to a surface type of coating.

Sanding re-applying should give you what your looking for i think ok? try it get back with results after several months and your findings - opinions ok?
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 07:43 PM
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.....

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post #14 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by carpenter547 View Post
umad bro?
i chimed in on this not because i have one but because i will be making one and i recently found out that the local guitar store will by them when i make them. personally id like to build one with chocobolo neck bloodwood finger board blood wood pick guard black body bloodwood sides black back black head chome pegs blood wood bridge and my initials inlaied on the head.

my first guitars will be the cheapest material that sound will allow i will do a few till im sure i got it all right for construction then ill make my keeper

and yes there will be alot of posts concering them
Not mad at all C547, why would you think that?

Interesting choice of woods. i will be very anxious to see them as they are made. Are you familiar with "pink ivory" wood? Always tried to get my freind larry to make one out of it for dolly pardon, lol.
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 08:56 PM
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post #16 of 18 Old 02-16-2012, 09:04 PM
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There are a few ways to finish. I would first give a good wipe down with acetone. If you use oil, you could use pure Tung oil, or China Wood oil, and follow the directions on the label. Usually first a 1:1 mix, and then increase the oil to solvent ratio.

For a film finish, using NC lacquer, use a lacquer sanding sealer first. You can add retarder, and a flattening agent. By experimenting you can get the finish as dull as you want.






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post #17 of 18 Old 02-17-2012, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody! As mentioned before I will test different solutions before committing to anything. I'll get back with the results.
Sound very interesting with your guitar project carpenter! This is my first build, but I still hope it's a keeper :)
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post #18 of 18 Old 02-17-2012, 04:03 PM
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lol

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