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  • stripping and staining basswood

    I have a MM sterling silo30 that I plan to take the finish off the body, stain, and put back together.

    The body is basswood. My hope is to stain it a sort of honeyburst, but I understand that basswood might be kinda green.

    In any case, I need to strip the poly (I have a heatgun, is that enough) and put on the stain. I don't want to shoot poly or anything like that over the stain... is there a rub-on oil finish I could use?
    Benford Custom Hellicaster
    Agile Custom AL
    Fender? Silverburst Strat
    Crafter acoustic
    Taylor 310ce acoustic

    Peavey Ultra 1x12 Combo

    Good Dealings with: Dr. Scottie C, JoshuaLogan, kojdogg, Daveydude
    Good trades with: Shredhead74

  • #2
    If its a painted guitar, its unlikely the wood is going to look good natureal. They usually paint guitars that have suckey grains or are built from oddball chunks that dont match.

    Stripping pretty much requires sanding all the way. rent yourself a belt sander and take it down. You'll screw around with heat gun and get very littel progress and wind up having to sand anyway.

    Be real careful around the neck pocket, they often layer the finish so thick there the neck will overhang the body and look like crap.
    If you plan on staining, which I think is a bad idea myself, you have to take it down below the point where the sealer soaks in which can be 1/4 inch beyond hitting wood.
    If you dont go that far the stain wont soak in in some areas and too much in others and look like total crap.

    My opinion is, First unless the instrument looks like total crap from dings and scratches, leave it alone. Refinishing is much more involves than most think and the minuite you remove the finish the value of the guitar is gone. If you dont like the color, get yourself a colored light to play under.

    Second, if you dont care about the instruments value and the thing is all ragged out, remove the finish by sanding down to the wood. Then use semitransparent lacquer and skip the staining all together. Basswood doesnt have a great grain pattern and will not benifit much from staining. If its new raw wood and it needs coloration, fine, but refinishing, its not the way to go.

    Third, youi can mix stain with tung oil and color the guitar that way. I've takes very light woods mixes cherry or walnut stains to it and gotten some really nice matches doing antique work.
    Lastly, it takes time to refinish and get a pro look and it does cost money. Its extremely messy and easy to screw up too. you can only do so much with rattle cans before you need to use a sprayer. Learning to thin the chemicals to get a pro look is what its all about. I would do alot of reading before you start. And once again, if you're just board with the color sell the sucker and buy what you want. Its a byuers market now and you can get fantastic deals cheap.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not worried at all about the value- I got it for 200$ :-) all guitars in this line were done in flat black, so no clue about the grain. I don't even care if it looks like crap lol. This guitar is for Modding
      Benford Custom Hellicaster
      Agile Custom AL
      Fender? Silverburst Strat
      Crafter acoustic
      Taylor 310ce acoustic

      Peavey Ultra 1x12 Combo

      Good Dealings with: Dr. Scottie C, JoshuaLogan, kojdogg, Daveydude
      Good trades with: Shredhead74

      Comment


      • #4
        Thats cool I always throw that out there before someone starts to get them to do some research before they start. Refinishing is the most difficult thing to do right and many just jump in with a can do attitude only to find out its not their cup of tea.

        You may want to visit the reranch site and read it thoroughly. Stain alone on wood looks dull and ugly. I do suggest using a lacquer or tung oil finish. Oil doesnt require spraying and can be applied with sponge brushes or cloth. Lacquer can be applies with spray cans and can give you a fairly pro look. You can go translucent to give the body different tones, you can go solid colors as well. I suggest you leave the neck finish alone for now. You have to remove the frets to refinish an all maple neck right. If its a rosewood fretboard, then its not so bad. If you're going to use lacquer you'll need a place to hang it when spraying and drying. Lacquer has the benifit of being fixable if you screw up. Each layer melts into the previous layer to make one thick single layer. It can be sanded if you have a flaw and additional layers will repair the previous layer. All other finishes go on (except varnish and schelac) will go on in layers like an onion. If you have a flaw and dont catch it it will be suspended between layers.

        Comment


        • #5
          It is a bolt on, so I intend to just take the neck off. I have no interest in screwing with the neck cause the neck is fine. I don't want to spray stuff, I actually have a stained, oil finished guitar and while it doesn't have that 'deep' look I love the feel of the body. Hell, even if I just re-stained back to flat black with the oil finish, It would still be pretty awesome.
          Benford Custom Hellicaster
          Agile Custom AL
          Fender? Silverburst Strat
          Crafter acoustic
          Taylor 310ce acoustic

          Peavey Ultra 1x12 Combo

          Good Dealings with: Dr. Scottie C, JoshuaLogan, kojdogg, Daveydude
          Good trades with: Shredhead74

          Comment


          • #6
            It is a bolt on, so I intend to just take the neck off. I have no interest in screwing with the neck cause the neck is fine. I don't want to spray stuff, I actually have a stained, oil finished guitar and while it doesn't have that 'deep' look I love the feel of the body. Hell, even if I just re-stained back to flat black with the oil finish, It would still be pretty awesome.


            I'd make that determination after you strip it. There may be ugly seams, or different colored pieces and you'll want a darker stain to hide that a bit.

            Check out truoil as the oil finish. It dries hard, unlike some oil finishes which can get gummy feeling over time and can be polished to a mirror shine if you apply it right. Or it'll have a nice satin look (which I actually prefer) if you stop short of the mirror finish.
            Listen...

            Comment


            • #7
              You can mix stain with tung oil so you can take the finish down to the wood, get a look at what the grain is. If its built from chunks of wood, then mix the stain with the tung oil to give it color and apply as much as needed to camoflage and hide the wood joints, then just apply a few coats of the clear. I've done this before and it works like a champ. You can buy both minwax stain and minwax tung oil and they do mix. You need to be careful not to try and mix acrylics or lacquers with oils. If you're going oil, stick with oil and you wont have any rejection issues.

              As far as removing the poly, theres supposed to be somre industrial arcraft stripper that will at least get you down to the primer. From then on its all sanding. Using a heat gun will simply scorch the wood and force you to do even more sanding. For the sides and edges, you can use a round woodes dowel with sandpaper wrapped around it. Be prrepared for some blisters. you can start off with some heavy sandpaper and gradually go lighter as you reach the wood. When you think you have things smooth for refinishing, take a damp cloth and wipre it down and dampen the wood. The dampness will raise the grain and show you all the areas that still need fine sanding. Wood may feel smooth but once liquid is applied every flaw stands out like a sore thumb.

              Before applying the stain oil combo, get yourself some light wood like pine to test your mix on. Add maybe three parts tung oil and one part stain. Then test it on the pind and see how several coats darkens it. The body wont suck up nearly as much as raw wood will so you got to gestimate the mix a littel darker. It will get darker after each coat applied. Once its dark enough then you can just continue with clear. Mixing the stain in is going to make the mixture very thin. Using sponge brushes is a must for getting a good coat on and the stuff will drip easily. You can sand between coats to remove drip marks. Just dont let it go till after the next layer.

              Comment


              • #8
                So do you like this guitar? Happy with the neck, pups, etc.? Why not shop flea bay for an unfinished body? Sometimes you can score them for around 75 bucks. Trust me on this. By the time you get this stripped, stained and oiled, you'll have more $$ in this body than 75 bucks. Save yourself some hassle. Find one that has none of the holes drilled and no finish on it. Stain and oil to taste. Serve with generous helpings of
                I forecast charts, graphs, images and the like being present here within two pages. None if it will mean crap, but that's beside the point................

                Comment


                • #9
                  http://cgi.ebay.com/Beautiful-Unfinished-Strat-Body-2lbs-3ozs-Liteweight-/120725561248?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item1c1bcd dfa0
                  I forecast charts, graphs, images and the like being present here within two pages. None if it will mean crap, but that's beside the point................

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    An oil finish on a basswood body is going to get dented up pretty quickly, IMHO. If you need it to be a different color, I'd paint over the existing.

                    To give you an idea of what you're likely to find on a solid color guitar, this was an Ibanez SZ320 (maple cap over mahogany) in black that I sanded down to bare wood:


                    Yummy, isn't it? Five or six pieces of mismatched maple for a top, a number of mismatched pieces of mahogany for the back. Imagine staining that-and maple/mahogany is a better staining candidate than most basswood.
                    LarryProud Member: Mazi Bee MilitaGreat deals With: messiahofevil, Belt. xtchc1978, baddmann28, Overwhelmed987,OldGtrNovice,Ejendres and SlaveUnitWon't deal with: Bluesmann (counterfeit guitar fan)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Plain alder with nice grain is also a good candidate for a stain/oil finish. LarryG is correct. Basswood dents real easy. That's why many manufacturers use it. Poly keeps it from denting up. And it's cheap.
                      I forecast charts, graphs, images and the like being present here within two pages. None if it will mean crap, but that's beside the point................

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well damn. I don't intend to re-poly. At the same time, I really don't care if it dents a bunch. I'm not trying to keep this thing looking pristine.
                        Benford Custom Hellicaster
                        Agile Custom AL
                        Fender? Silverburst Strat
                        Crafter acoustic
                        Taylor 310ce acoustic

                        Peavey Ultra 1x12 Combo

                        Good Dealings with: Dr. Scottie C, JoshuaLogan, kojdogg, Daveydude
                        Good trades with: Shredhead74

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There seems to be too much emphasis on perfection going on in this thread. It sounds to me that Oaksong is looking more for experimenting and learning than creating a work of art. Let me know if I'm off track here, Oaksong. I really don't get some of the suggestions and comments, as though the guy is trying to recreate a custom shop art piece with a deep, mirror finish that is akin to the kind of guitars that the cork sniffers need sedation for if the darned thing gets a ding or scratch on.

                          I really like the look of the guitar larryguitar posted a picture of. Some people have used butcher's blocks to get a similar look, but his came like that. You should see the mismatched grain of the ash-bodied guitar I currently am working on. I'm going for a colour I like, not bookmatched quilted maple. I'm thinking that Oaksong is going for something similar or the same - something that appeals to him, not everyone else. I could be wrong, though.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There seems to be too much emphasis on perfection going on in this thread. It sounds to me that Oaksong is looking more for experimenting and learning than creating a work of art. Let me know if I'm off track here, Oaksong. I really don't get some of the suggestions and comments, as though the guy is trying to recreate a custom shop art piece with a deep, mirror finish that is akin to the kind of guitars that the cork sniffers need sedation for if the darned thing gets a ding or scratch on.

                            I really like the look of the guitar larryguitar posted a picture of. Some people have used butcher's blocks to get a similar look, but his came like that. You should see the mismatched grain of the ash-bodied guitar I currently am working on. I'm going for a colour I like, not bookmatched quilted maple. I'm thinking that Oaksong is going for something similar or the same - something that appeals to him, not everyone else. I could be wrong, though.


                            You are right on the money. It is totally acceptable if this thing comes out looking like ass on a stick but with me learning a lot - worst case scenario I sand it off and start again or buy another beater guitar lol.

                            the honeyburst finish is just to give it that "old" look that I want to go. Getting dents and **************** is just fine
                            Benford Custom Hellicaster
                            Agile Custom AL
                            Fender? Silverburst Strat
                            Crafter acoustic
                            Taylor 310ce acoustic

                            Peavey Ultra 1x12 Combo

                            Good Dealings with: Dr. Scottie C, JoshuaLogan, kojdogg, Daveydude
                            Good trades with: Shredhead74

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You are right on the money. It is totally acceptable if this thing comes out looking like ass on a stick but with me learning a lot - worst case scenario I sand it off and start again or buy another beater guitar lol. the honeyburst finish is just to give it that "old" look that I want to go. Getting dents and **************** is just fine


                              Why would you go through the effort of busting your ass stripping the thing only to fail in the end because you dont make an effort to have it look good? Its not like theres any new methods out there of finishing anyones going to invent through experimentation. Its also hard enough getting something decent looking with established methods that have been used for thousands of years now. But surely noone here is going to tell you you have to do anything in a specific way. Its just many have been where you are at. We all started someplace and some of us didnt have the luxary of being able to look things up on the internet to get things right.


                              The only thing I would mention again, Since you're refinishing, The instrument all ready had primer applied to the wood.
                              Primer sinks into the wood like stain does. With basswood, I'd guess maybe 1/4" because its a softer wood.
                              It dries hard so it can be sanded smooth before applying paint and keeps the paint from soaking into the wood, whicxh in turn
                              prevents raised grain, flaking, chipping etc.

                              Stain doesnt lay on the surface like paint and has to be able to penitrate the wood fibers to color the wood.
                              If theres any primer remaining, the stain doesnt penitrate at all, it just wipes off.
                              Where stain does penitrate it will be darker in color.
                              To fix the problem with a botchd staining requires you to sand down below the point where the stain penitrated which requires removing wood.
                              If you dont go below the stain and only remove the areas where the sealer remains, restaining will cause the areas that are already stained to get darker instead of
                              just darkening the areas that need to be stained.

                              Now I'm not trying to tell you how to do things, I'm just sharing some first hand experience that can save you time. I started doing this stuff as a kid back in the late 60s.
                              My parents did antique restoration and I was always being recruited to help out and had no choice in having to learn. (Its probibly why I hate refinishing so much)
                              You learn that you cannot mix chemical types and expect good results if not have downright failure.

                              You have alcohol based finishes like Lacquer, Shellac, and varnish.
                              You have oil based finishes like Tung oil, True oil, and linseed oil
                              Then you have poly based finishes like Uerothane that are plastic finishes simular to epoxy.
                              These also include you water based acrylics that are plastic but clean up easily.

                              Stain is either water based of oil based. There is pigments in the oil that soak into wood and color it.
                              You can also have pigments added to Lacquer, oils or poly to give it color. If the amount of pigment is light the
                              color will be translucent, see through. If the pigment is heavy then you have paint.

                              The trick is to stick with the same chemicals from start to end.
                              Most normal wood stains are oil based.
                              Once it sinks into the wood, You can apply lacquer or poly over it because the oil evaporates and leaves behind the pigment.
                              You can as I mentioned before mix stain with tung oil. This stain will act as a pigment to the oil finish and dry with a translucent finish.
                              It will look like the woods stained, but the stain pigment is actually suspended in the oil and doesnt penitrate the wood much.
                              This will allow you to avoid the issues with the primer that may still be in the wood after sanding.

                              You could also do the same thing with pigmented lacquers or pigmented polys, or just paint it and clear coat over the paint.
                              Its all going to depend on what you find under the finish when you remove it. Again, I'm not wanting to tell you what to do or how to do it.
                              I'm just throwing some things out there I had to learn to prevent failure. If it helps, thats all that counts.

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