Jump to content

Lacquer top with a wiping varnish back opinions


Recommended Posts

Hello All,

Been a long time since I last posted here. I am looking for opinions / advice about finishing a tele top (curly maple drop top) with gloss nitro lacquer but finishing the back and sides (padauk) with a wiping varnish.

I recently tried an oil based urethane wiping varnish (General Finishes Arm-R-Seal) for the first time on a bass made of walnut, padauk, and maple and was really happy with the outcome. I did not grain fill and the padauk just looks amazing (to me anyway) finished this way. Here is a head shot of the bass with four coats of the wiping varnish:

1524909034_20210508_082719(Large).thumb.jpg.9f20b2dfb1fd2d9cd6a5087c9dd9c352.jpg

I want to keep that same open grain look of the padauk on this current tele build, but would like to have the curly maple top like glass, thus going with the nitro spray. Here is the subject tele body with an aged white mother of toilet seat binding.

820652025_20210312_154546(Large).thumb.jpg.da6ded53b1225933878444fe434345ed.jpg

I guess a few questions I have are:

1) Would having the two types of finish (lacquer and varnish) insult your senses?

2) Do you foresee any problems where the two finishes meet each other at the edge of the binding?

3) Have any of you tried something similar? I know some like to Tru-Oil necks and lacquer the bodies, but I have never seen a body with both types of finishes used.

Thanks for your thoughts / wisdom 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the look of gloss/satin next to each other, personally. Whatever finish(es) may be needed to achieve that look wouldn't phase me at all. I don't have the experience with it to know if there are any caveats, but I know it's done fairly frequently. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing against shiny and matte here, I suppose your plan will bring the best out of both woods.

The nitro may or may not stick to the varnish, a layer of shellac between them should take care of that. If you apply the shellac on the binding only, it might even add some natural yellowish patina to the Mother of Toilet Seat.

No experience here either, but the shellac trick has been verified on so many forums including this that it must be true.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't forsee any issues, I say do it. Although I agree with shellac sticking to everything and being a good interlocutor...I also see it as an additional 3rd finish with its own separate characteristics and concerns. And adding products always adds some sort of  associated risk and complexity, so I avoid that whenever possible.

In finishing, I do not believe in the saying 'the more the merrier' as far as products go. I like keeping things simple, real simple, products-wise. So unless the shellac was a necessity, I wouldn't use it.

I would instead probably make a very clean and tight taped break at the bottom of the binding and just use the two products you had in mind. Just be damn sure you can keep the different targets 100% separated while applying each finish, no room for error. Which a very clean and tight tape line should give you.

And if it were me, I'd be doing the lacquer first, to completion, then take up the wiping varnish after the entire lacquer bit was nailed down solid, dried and done. That is another form of a 'barrier' between different finishes. Not actually involving yourself in both at the same time but doing one completely, and only then, the other, completely.

So, to recap: If you don't think you have the chops and inner discipline to completely separate those two different finish jobs, as if they were on two separate guitars...use the shellac.

It will act as insurance, sort of. Its a tradeoff, its a safety net of sorts, and in my view an unnecessary one.

As long as you understand the importance of completely separating those two finish jobs and not intermingling them in any way, you should be A-OK w/o shellac.

Its like a discipline/confidence thing. If you have the discipline and confidence, you don't need a safety net to save you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Drak said:

I would instead probably make a very clean and tight taped break at the bottom of the binding and just use the two products you had in mind.

That was what I was first thinking of as well but as I'm not too experienced with binding, I thought that getting some finish over the seams might not be too bad of an idea. Following that thought applying shellac over the binding only might help hiding the barrier. The order might then be: Apply the matte to the bottom and sides including the binding, carefully tape along the side seam of the binding, apply shellac over the binding, apply the glossy to the top and binding, rip off the tape. That raises the question, how to scrape off the ridge where the glossy has met the tape.

Then again, if the binding doesn't have to be shiny, the easiest way would be to apply the glossy lacquer on the top first as @Drak said and when it's perfect, apply the wiping varnish on the bottom and sides. That would put the barrier right at the very edge of the binding which may or may not start chipping. Rounding the binding slightly and applying shellac on it might again help, who knows...

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/10/2021 at 12:08 PM, Hydrogeoman said:

1) Would having the two types of finish (lacquer and varnish) insult your senses?

2) Do you foresee any problems where the two finishes meet each other at the edge of the binding?

3) Have any of you tried something similar? I know some like to Tru-Oil necks and lacquer the bodies, but I have never seen a body with both types of finishes used.

I nearly always spray lacquer on the body and wipe on Danish oil on the neck. Headstock often gets lacquer on the cap and Danish oil everywhere else.....which is basically what you are thinking of in miniature. Danish oil wipes right off the lacquer, so once you have your lacquer finish completed and polished its a simple matter to wipe on and wipe off the Danish. In choosing a wiping varnish, just choose one that has no alcohol or strong solvents as they will re-wet the lacquer.

And if you are unsure about the compatibility.....test on scrap first. Just spray some scrap while you are spraying your lacquer and it will be ready to go when you test your wiping varnish.

SR

  • Like 1
Link to post
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.

Guest
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...