Guitar Body Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-25-2017, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Guitar Body Question

Hi. This is a guitar question, but more about the wood, so I'm hoping this is a good site to look for advice. I've been playing guitar for 35 years and I'm just now building my first guitar. I've modded a few, but this one is from the ground up. I was hoping to get some advice about finishing the body. I did post this on a guitar site, and was given great advice. But I though perhaps someone here could be more specific. Here is my guitar body. It's a really pretty cut of alder. The other pictures are from a Washburn guitar - and that's the finish I want. Notice it looks a little used, dirty and distressed in some spots. Keep in mind the Washburn in a new production guitar, also alder. (Ignore the N4 stickers). If you had this piece of wood and wanted that same look - how would you do it? Right now (I have a small test piece of wood) I'm going to use a stain from Home depot, mix with 3 parts thinner. Then paint a few coats of matte polyurethane over it. I think that will get a nice look, but I'm not sure it'll be what I'm looking for. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-25-2017, 09:20 AM
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It would take some tinkering with the finish. Alder accepts stain readily so if you would distress it first where the distress marks are would drink up more stain and change the appearance. I would start by mixing some walnut stain very thin, maybe ten parts thinner with one part stain and stain the wood and let dry. Alder naturally turns blotchy when you stain it so don't use a wood conditioner which is normally used as the guitar you are trying to match is blotchy. From there put one coat of what ever finish you are going to use on the guitar. Then distress it. You might take a small board and drive nails through it to where they barely penetrate and use that as a paddle to make the distress marks. After that go ahead and finish the guitar normally. This is assuming you not going to put a thick plastic coating over it. The distress marks should look like the guitar was finished without the marks and the marks were do to abuse from the guitar being used.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-25-2017, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
It would take some tinkering with the finish. Alder accepts stain readily so if you would distress it first where the distress marks are would drink up more stain and change the appearance. I would start by mixing some walnut stain very thin, maybe ten parts thinner with one part stain and stain the wood and let dry. Alder naturally turns blotchy when you stain it so don't use a wood conditioner which is normally used as the guitar you are trying to match is blotchy. From there put one coat of what ever finish you are going to use on the guitar. Then distress it. You might take a small board and drive nails through it to where they barely penetrate and use that as a paddle to make the distress marks. After that go ahead and finish the guitar normally. This is assuming you not going to put a thick plastic coating over it. The distress marks should look like the guitar was finished without the marks and the marks were do to abuse from the guitar being used.
Ok. Thank you. So - make a 10 to 1 stain and use that first. Then do whatever distressing i'm going to do. Then, let's say I settle on a 3 to 1 stain for the final finish .. do that. Then poly, sand, poly, sand then final poly. Something like that??

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-25-2017, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Wineshop View Post
Ok. Thank you. So - make a 10 to 1 stain and use that first. Then do whatever distressing i'm going to do. Then, let's say I settle on a 3 to 1 stain for the final finish .. do that. Then poly, sand, poly, sand then final poly. Something like that??

Thanks again!
Yes, but be sure to practice the stain on scrap wood. Go ahead and sand the scrap wood just the same as the guitar so there will be no surprises when you put the stain on the guitar.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-09-2017, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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This is what I've got so far. I may do a bit more sanding to lower the "dirty" looking areas, but not much. Here's what I did. After sanding I stained with 10-1 stain mix (thinner to stain). Applied a few "dings" stained with 3-1 mix. Then lightly added "dirt" from a charred piece of wood from my fire pit. Then I sanded it and the dirt look was subtle, but i was happy. Then I finished with Minwax Polyurethane (clear satin) and it added far more tint than I noticed on my scrap piece. And I didn't like that because it made it look too "pretty". So I sanded with 220 and got it lighter and back to the look I liked, but then all the dirt was gone. So I went back to my charred wood and spread some more on specific areas. And that's where I'm at. But my question is - now how do you suggest I add a protective finish on this without changing the color? Right now I can rub my hand on the dirt and it shows on my hand. Thanks!
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-09-2017, 09:15 PM
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Do the same thing on some scrap wood and apply a clear sealer. If it were me I would use a lacquer sanding sealer. You might also try a water based polyurethane. It will change the appearance less than any other finish. If you don't already have one the guitar really needs the finish sprayed on so a sprayer even a cheap one would be really helpful.
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