waxed finishes on bodies an neck.

ihavenofish

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so im doing several tru oil finished guitars right now. I like tru oil, but I have a hard time polishing it, as at the moment I can only do it by hand with sandpaper to 12000 grit. it makes a nice mirror reflection, but its got many scratches and marks. basically its not perfect.

so, a friend gave me some lee valley blue label wax. this stuff is a carnauba blend not dissimilar to car waxes.

im only a few coats in, but this stuff goes from a 1000 grit finish to a lovely lustre after one coat, and after 4 or 5 (applied once a day) it will build to a mirror shine. the one im trying it out on right now is at semi mirror stage. ill post pics later.

so does anyone else have experience with this stuff? how does it wear? how often should it be reapplied? does it work well as a neck back finish? has anyone tried it on bare wood?


thanks
:)
 

soggybag

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I'm really interested in this, do you have any other information? Do you use stain with the wax?
 

Barnaby

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Very cool! I have been using Briwax on fingerboards for ages, but am planning on using it on top of an oil-finished bass neck soon.

Because of the issues involved with spraying nitro in my apartment, I am really looking for good alternatives. I have this cocobolo-topped guitar that I would love to finish, but just can't get space for the spraying. It's been sitting around for nearly two years! Wax over oil could be the go.

Pics? :hmm:
 

cmjohnson

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If you have scratches in your finish, then you did not spend enough time on each progressive sanding grit to remove all the scratches from the previous grit.

I don't do oil finished, I only do lacquer or urethane, but the principle is the same with all finishes that you sand out.

First sanding at 600 or 800. Then go up to 1000 or 1200. Then go to 1500. Then 2000, then 2500, then 3000. The last stages (above 1000) should be sanded wet and keep washing the paper very frequently to avoid it loading. When the sandpaper loads is when it starts introducing larger scratches into the work.

And you should spend progressively more time with each finer grit. If you spend 20 minutes sanding with 600, then you should spend 30 to 40 minutes sanding with 1000, not working to take finish OFF, but simply working to ensure that all the 600 grit scratches are sanded out. But once those coarser scratches are gone, stop sanding with that grit. Sand-thrus suck!
 

ihavenofish

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If you have scratches in your finish, then you did not spend enough time on each progressive sanding grit to remove all the scratches from the previous grit.

I don't do oil finished, I only do lacquer or urethane, but the principle is the same with all finishes that you sand out.

First sanding at 600 or 800. Then go up to 1000 or 1200. Then go to 1500. Then 2000, then 2500, then 3000. The last stages (above 1000) should be sanded wet and keep washing the paper very frequently to avoid it loading. When the sandpaper loads is when it starts introducing larger scratches into the work.

And you should spend progressively more time with each finer grit. If you spend 20 minutes sanding with 600, then you should spend 30 to 40 minutes sanding with 1000, not working to take finish OFF, but simply working to ensure that all the 600 grit scratches are sanded out. But once those coarser scratches are gone, stop sanding with that grit. Sand-thrus suck!
tru-oil is not lacquer. but its got more in common with nitro than it does with tung oil. the key difference being how thin it is.

up to about 2000 your method is sound, but after 3000, up to 12000 fine particle scratches seem unavoidable. you end up with a streaky mirror. looks lovely from 5 feet away, looks pretty awful up close in the sunlight. this is normally why youd use a buffing wheel, but I don't have that option right now.

this is where the wax comes in. sand only to 1000 or 2000, or even steel wool after 600 and the wax works its magic in a much easier fashion than sanding the oil.

it also should leave a harder, more durable finish than oil alone. its too dark to get a nice pic right now, ill take on when the sun comes back.
 

ihavenofish

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I'm really interested in this, do you have any other information? Do you use stain with the wax?
in this case, the guitar was dyed, oiled, and the wax only applied on the surface.

on the next item, I would like to try wax right on the bare dyed wood. the instructions imply its used on bare wood. it would take many more coats, over perhaps 2 weeks, but it strikes me so far as far more forgiving and fool proof than tru-oil plus wax, or tru oil alone. also cleaner, and the smell isn't very offensive.

it also feels like silk on the neck back! basically giving you a raw maple feel with some water and dirt resistance. I imagine you would need to touch it up ever year on the neck back, but that's very easy to do.

I wish I could find more in formation on it!
 

slapshot

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pure carnubra wax is a good polish but I wouldn't use it as just a finishing product on a guitar it's really not that durable.
 

ihavenofish

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pure carnubra wax is a good polish but I wouldn't use it as just a finishing product on a guitar it's really not that durable.
this isn't "pure" according to the label. its intended purpose is floors and tables. so they must at least think its got some durability. I can only find a few references to using it on a guitar, all using it over tru oil, but no in depth information.

I tried some on bare dyed mahogany just now. its promising. over the next 4-5 days ill build it up and see if anything good happens.
 

ihavenofish

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did some general reading on waxes and slapshot may be right in that wax alone on bare wood might not be very good as a general purpose finish.

it might be decent on a maple neck that would otherwise be bare, but it seems that at least a few coats of oil to seal the wood should be used first on something like a body.

also learned something in doing the sample. since the wax doesn't absorb into the wood, it doesn't enhance the grain at all. it will be like laying a sheet of clear plastic on top. shiny, but the wood will look natural and bare.

anyhow, heres some pics.

dye, then tru oil, sanded to 1000 then steel wool. 4 coats of wax applied daily. every coat the reflection gets sharper. the back is near mirror, the front is more fuzzy. I assume this is because my steel wool and sanding was finer on the back.

if you look close you still see the imperfections, but the sheen is uniform and at 2 feet away it looks perfect.

I suspect the back will be almost perfect after the next coat, and the front will need perhaps 3 more to "match".

on this particular body, I dont really want a perfect mirror. on the next one, I do. so y intent is to take it up to 3200 grit on the next one, make it as perfect as possible, and then wax. this should get me a mirror finish within 2-3 coats I hope.

 

B. Howard

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I tried wax finishes on guitars a long time ago. We did the traditional beeswax and turpentine applied hot. Yep it was quick and relatively easy.......but it didn't hold up for squat. And started to look rather ugly as we kept re-applying it.
 

Ripthorn

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I just oiled and waxed a neck through explorer. The thing with wax is that it is not terribly wear resistant (it is meant to be periodically reapplied). It looks fabulous, I love the luster and sheen, but you also need to realize its limitations. On bare wood I wouldn't recommend it, especially not something like a maple neck because you will wear through the wax and then work dirt into the maple if you aren't careful. However, with proper maintenance it can be a great last step.

As for your sanding, you say you sand to 12000. I'm assuming you are using micromesh, as normal papers don't go that fine. If that is the case, they have a different grit grading system, so your 3000 micromesh is really only like 400 grit P graded. That could be contributing to the scratches you are seeing. Also, if you just sand one direction per grit and alternate, it makes it much easier to see if you missed anything.
 

ihavenofish

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I just oiled and waxed a neck through explorer. The thing with wax is that it is not terribly wear resistant (it is meant to be periodically reapplied). It looks fabulous, I love the luster and sheen, but you also need to realize its limitations. On bare wood I wouldn't recommend it, especially not something like a maple neck because you will wear through the wax and then work dirt into the maple if you aren't careful. However, with proper maintenance it can be a great last step.

As for your sanding, you say you sand to 12000. I'm assuming you are using micromesh, as normal papers don't go that fine. If that is the case, they have a different grit grading system, so your 3000 micromesh is really only like 400 grit P graded. That could be contributing to the scratches you are seeing. Also, if you just sand one direction per grit and alternate, it makes it much easier to see if you missed anything.


not using micromesh. using small sanding pads. 12000 is 12000. it is effectively buffing.

the last coat of wax on the red guitar didn't doo much. I think im perhaps at the useful limit of coats. I think if you want a mirror, you need to start with one.

the other guitar I sanded to 3200, and the wax made it much more shiny. I am going to see if I can go backwards a little and sand a little more to remove a few blemishes, then wax again.
 

emoney

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I wonder what will happen when sweat & "human oil" gets involved? You could always finish
one all the way and play it for a couple days, or give it to someone that will play it. I've
never had an issue, but a friend seems to be constantly wiping his guitar necks down because
of the oils/sweat in his hands.
 

ihavenofish

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how many coats of tru oil did you put on first?
on the red one, its comlex. ha. but 6 or 8, with the first few being very heavy with sandpaper to fill the grain.

the other guitar also has maybe 8, but they are much thinner.


I think ive found a little trick to make the wax go a little better. gonna play with it a little more to see if tis actually doing what I want. heat seems to be a key part of getting a gloss. a buffing wheel would normally provide the heat. im trying something else.
 

solteroblues

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I don't see a red one, I only see the natural colored tele style, am I missing something here?
 

ihavenofish

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I thought you posted 2 different guitars, a "red" one and then the brown one that I do see! :thumb:

I was expecting more of a cherry red, I guess...
ah, yes, I did post another guitar, but in the "whats on yer bench"
thread.

so, after a little playing, my heat trick seems to be a good one.

basically I laid on the wax very heavy. "too heavy". then used a heat gun gently to melt the wax then waited a few seconds as it cooled and dried. while still hot, I rubbed it in with some force.

the result is night and day. it builds a nice coat, and buffs out to a shine. you need some heavy handedness to remove streaks from the wax application, but its worth it. I did half the back, down the middle, and the nice looking shiny part from the last pic is dull in comparison. its a uniform "soft" mirror. kinda the perfect finish actually for my desires. I never liked the dipped in plastic look, this is shiny, but the edge taken off.

ill finish the rest of it tonight and post the result in the morning.
 




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