Jump to content



Recommended Posts

I was reading something that I found last night tucked away in my bookcase. It was written by Tom Jones (not the welshman but the luthier - who might actually be welsh, who knows?).

I was going to bering it to work and copy it out but I forgot it because I woke up about 10 minutes before I had to come to work B)

Heres the basics though:

After sanding the wood, he uses unflavored gelatin, mixes it with some water and something else easy to get hold of (I'm out of the office tomorrow so you might have to wait until Thursday) and rubs it on top of the guitar (he says it essentially makes Hide Glue). Then, and heres the bit that I've not heard of on this board, he gets something very hard, smooth, polished and flat (he uses a type of stone) and rubs all over the guitar quite hard to burnish the wood.

Burnishing flattens the grain after sanding and according to Tom Jones makes the guitar waaayy more shiney after the finish has been put on and apparently take a stain better. I can see where he's comming from, but what do you gys rekon? Do you guys burnish?

Kaj :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know many people burnish figured wood but I don't know if it's commonly done on "regular" non-figured wood. You can buy burnishers or just use something flat and hard. I have not heard of the gelatin thing though - what's the point of it again? He uses it to make glue? Is there some connection with the glue and burnishing? That's where I'm getting confused.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not too sure myself without the article, but the gelatin makes something like hide glue and he uses that for burnishing :DB):D

I know it sounds funky and you should end up with a burnishing stone stuck on your guitar with gelatin derived hide glue, but there you go. Try not to think about it too much until I can bring the article to work. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"What's new pussycat, whoa whoa whoa whoa, what's new pussycat"

"She's a lady, whoa whoa whoa she's a lady"

Tom Jones had something going with that 'whoa' thang... insert 'ho' instead of 'whoa', it works!


Yup, burnishing is cool stuff, just another tool in the toolbag of tricks at our disposal to pull out at the right time under the right conditions.

But his way is for just clearcoating after burnishing.

With figured woods.

You have to remember, when you see an article in a woodworking magazine, most of the time they're not using highly concentrated highly colored dyes like guitar guys often do, and a lot of the time they're not after a glass smooth and shiny finish like a lot of us like (not all tho) ...so it's up to you to have an understanding of the basic concepts of the article, and how it applies to you, and what parts don't apply to you and what you're doing with your project.

You can't always take an article from a woodworking book/magazine source and just do exactly what they do, you have to pull it apart and take the right stuff and leave the rest behind, much like copping good riffs, you don't always take the whole song, just what part appeals or applies to what you're trying to do with it.

Burnishing is a real easy thing to play around with, you can do it with just about anything hard and smooth, a big heavy metal bar works, and just clear coat over it afterwards and see if you like what it does.

You can burnish over dyed wood too, just leave out the gelatin.

PS, hide glue is often used to pore fill spruce tops before clearcoating, since spruce tends to accept dyes rather blotchy, so there's nothing wrong with the gelatin part either, you just have to understand what all the parts of the article do and what applies to you and what doesn't. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From TRADE SECRETS - VOLUME 43 (Edited by Dan Erlewine) Article talking to Tom Jones www.tvjones.com

Jon Paterson [a violin maker - ed] taught me how to prepare maple for finishing by sizing, scraping and burnishing, rather than simply sanding it prior to staining. The technique I use is as follows:

1) Sand the flame maple (or other wood) with 320-grit Stikit andpaper from Stew-Mac. Jon prefers to scrape the wood prior to burnishing for a more reflective surface.

2) Wipe, blow and vacuum away the dust, and then size the wood with Knox unflavored gelatin from the supermarket. Put 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin into a baby food jar and fill it with water. You now have a weak mixture of hide glue! Heat it until it's hot, and then use within 1/2 hour. Wipe or brush it onto the wood and let it dry.

3) Next, after the surface is dry, eliminate the "fluff" on the wood sufrace by sanding with 600-grit Stikit paper. Jon prefes scraping.

4) Burnish he wood with a hard polished object such as a polished stone, ivory, bone or ironwood.

5) Now the surface is ready for the finish. Burnishing the wood makes a more reflective surface when viewed through the finish. A sanded, unburnished bit of wood tends to have a slightly matte finish. I repeat the gelatin process several times if I think the stain might look blotchy, especially at the neck heel.

So there you go, what do you think (and no jellycaster jokes)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...