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My First Oil Finish


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Uh uh, no photos yet! :D I'm refurbishing my old Fender Newporter 3/4 dreadnought acoustic, mahogany back and sides and spruce top. It was nothing special to look at just drab bare wood. But I found a good oil finish brings out the magic in the wood. The mahogany has depth now and when moving the guitar in the light it shows that classic golden sheen. Its one of the easiest finishes I've even done. :D

I'm using "teak and tung" oil by Circa 1850, light amber color. Its applied with a soft cloth on clean bare wood, leave for 10 minutes and then wipe off excess with a clean cloth. Leave overnight to dry and then I give a light but thorough scuffing with 1200 grit wet/dry. Repeat the oiling and scuffing about a dozen times and then finish with 1500, 2000 and finer if ya got it, then polish with a soft cloth. I'm about into my 8th coat and results are really impressive. I'll try to dig up some before and after pics when I'm done.

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What the heck? No pics? Why are you teasing us like that. Start talking about some great looking easy to do finish and nice looking mahogany and spruce, but no pics! Why I otta.... You better have some pics by the next time I check this thread or..., or..., or.... something might happen...to something....maybe....or not.....whatever nevermind. ;-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally finished. Now I can concentrate on my new "from scratch" build after refurbishing the Hagstrom III and the Fender Newporter. I made a pickguard out of mirror acrylic, bought a piece of scrap from Industrial Plastics and paints for 5 bucks. :D Its nice stuff, cut it with a jeweller's saw and then bevelled the edges with a barrel sander on my dremel and sanded / polished back to a clear shine.

New%20002.jpg

The oil finish really brings out the qualities of mahogany. I also made a new bridge saddle and nut for this guitar. I'm getting some real good use out of all that bone I prepared a while ago. :D

A few more pics

Edited by Southpa
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Wow, very nice stuff, that really turned out nice. After seeing the mahogany I'm sold, that wood looks amazing after the finish, very rich, deep, and alive looking. Good stuff and the mirror is a great addition, it almost looked fake when I first glanced because it is so clean. ANyhow, cool stuff and can't wait to see what comes next. Best of luck. J

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The oil finish wasn't the only thing I did to this guitar. When I originally acquired it the original mahogany soundboard was torn off. I bought the guitar from a friend for 50 bucks along with some bookmatched spruce for making the new soundboard. What actually made the deal worthwhile were the old style Grover tuners that were on the headstock , now on my tele :D those ALONE were worth 50 bucks IMO.

Anyway, I rebuilt the guitar's soundboard with the new spruce, however I did not thickness the material properly so it was a little on the thick side and the guitar had a shallow tinny sound. Now years later I hit the top of the guitar with a good even sanding, thinning out the soundboard to the proper thickness and did the oil finish. The guitar was originally built with out ANY finish, they were considered an inexpensive student model at the time. But an oil finish beats a poly or lacquer clearcoat in the sound department any day. Either way, the guitar has more volume and a deeper tone now. :D

Edited by Southpa
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But an oil finish beats a poly or lacquer clearcoat in the sound department any day.

Not on a soundboard it doesn't. It soaks into the spruce/cedar so much that it dampens the sound (yes I know this from experience, not just a theory) of course the best thing you could do is french polish it (something I'm working on perfecting right now).

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[ It soaks into the spruce/cedar so much that it dampens the sound (yes I know this from experience, not just a theory)

I have had this happen to me with danish oil and briwax finishes, it was very noticeable on at least two guitars - i reckon the sound was dampened for about 6 months before it started to regain its former sound

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