Gradually and naturally patinating gloss

sumitagarwal

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I was thinking of bringing down the gloss to a better patina on my guitar but I also want to avoid the overly uniform "satin" or matte look.

I saw these fine abrasive cloths at Stew Mac that really look like regular cloths but with abrasive in them:

My thought was: why not just get some of these and use these for wiping the guitar when needed instead of a cotton or microfiber? It would be much more gradual so you would catch potential mistakes or overdoing it before it happened, and it would be a bit more inconsistent and reflective of the areas a guitar normally gets handled.
 

dickjonesify

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Hmm, they only go to 8000 (I thought 1 micron was 12000 :hmm:).

Is that high enough to used on a polished, high gloss finish? I wouldn’t think so but I haven’t tried. EDIT* just reread the beginning again. Interesting idea. Try it and tell us :rofl:
 

ARandall

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Having used these for a portion of time on new builds as the sanding step before buffing, and they really are flexible sandpapers, not a more abrasive lint cloth.
Once I've taken the 'out of the gun gloss' back to level and then to the 6000 or so, you tend to have a low lustre shine - but it also doesn't really look anything like the same as any of the truly old guitars I own. The more you use a constant grit over the whole surface the more it looks contrived - as actual old guitars tend to have deep scratches, marks and more matte areas "randomly" all over the guitar.
 

Brek

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I have had similar thoughts over last couple of years, although not done anything about it. I think to do it with any chance of success is to take ARandalls observations on the evenness and try to introduce some variation using maybe 6000-10000 grit?

I do think it'll be very hard to not end up with areas that simply look sanded. This is from what I observed from a couple of tries i had at aging a strat I had sprayed, with scratches/dents to replicate buckle rash. It was not a success, just didn't look random enough, even though i was working from pictures of real buckle rash. It didn't look natural. Maybe it was the fact that they were too similar in depth, or the wood that was exposed had the same colouring to the exposed bits, I couldn't say.
 

moreles

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I like good relics and age-jobs, but think they are very rare. The contrived, artificial stuff that even skills people produce is not for me. But neither is a hyper-shiny factory overfinish. What I have done is to take a really, really fine microfiber (I don't remember the grit, as I generally test a bit; maybe 5000?) and do an all-over light rub out, and then use a polishing material, by hand (no buffer!) and the result is quite even and lustrous. As A Randall says, this will not look like aging -- it's too even. But it also doesn't look like crap satin, or some bogus clearcoat. It looks pretty much like a hand-rubbed, lustrous finish, and it's pretty gorgeous. I would never, ever try myself to created the uneven wear and nicks/bangs of actual use, as I just don't see that being successful, generally, even in the hands of real experts. The one gorgeous relic I own, old Fender Custom Shop, is enough to convince me "don't try this at home!!!" I can do a fine new finish, but as for that relic -- I can't do that!
 

sumitagarwal

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I like good relics and age-jobs, but think they are very rare. The contrived, artificial stuff that even skills people produce is not for me. But neither is a hyper-shiny factory overfinish. What I have done is to take a really, really fine microfiber (I don't remember the grit, as I generally test a bit; maybe 5000?) and do an all-over light rub out, and then use a polishing material, by hand (no buffer!) and the result is quite even and lustrous. As A Randall says, this will not look like aging -- it's too even. But it also doesn't look like crap satin, or some bogus clearcoat. It looks pretty much like a hand-rubbed, lustrous finish, and it's pretty gorgeous. I would never, ever try myself to created the uneven wear and nicks/bangs of actual use, as I just don't see that being successful, generally, even in the hands of real experts. The one gorgeous relic I own, old Fender Custom Shop, is enough to convince me "don't try this at home!!!" I can do a fine new finish, but as for that relic -- I can't do that!
I feel like you get what I'm going for. I don't like satin, looks kinda plasticy. Not a stereotypical "relic" job (most vintage bursts are actually well cared for! For good reason!). But the factory mirror finish is distracting, and looks noisy. It doesn't flatter the carve of the guitar because the reflections are so sharp. Instead I'm going for something that just subtly enhances the contours of the top.
 

sumitagarwal

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So I did end up giving this a shot. The sanding paper is fairly cloth like, but obviously still paper.

I used 3 micron, 2 micron, and 1 micron all dry. I think for a super subtle and natural result it's not necessary to touch the 3 micron, and instead just use the 2 micron and 1 micron. Even the 1 micron on its own can take the tiniest bit of edge off the gloss, but doesn't penetrate the grain sink so the surface would be a different sheen than the sunken grain. Maybe that wouldn't be bad?

It's subtle, and still a gloss finish instead of a dull finish, but to my eyes it slightly knocks back the saturation of the guitar, so the black reads slightly gray and the color of the inner burst is slightly more muted. Also gives a little bit of smudge to the surface so the grain sink is still there but less crisply defined.

I didn't do the area directly under the strings, so maybe you can pick up on the difference slightly there.

Curious to hear thoughts!

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