Clear finish on roasted swamp ash and koa.


Senior member
Recently I ordered a body in roasted swamp ash with a flame koa top, I would like to finish it in a very thin satin finish. I would love to finish it like the Charvel Guthrie Govan signature, so a really natural looking matte finish (video for reference because it’s hard to photograph
I have zero experience with applying finishes other than putting some light oil finish on a couple of necks. Now… what do I have to do?

1) the roasted ash part: my understanding is that this kind of finish completely skips that grain filling part because you actually want the different grains and ridges in the ash to stand out, you just sand the wood to a decent grit like 600/800 and then start applying your finish, either oil or wipe on poly and then sand/buff to the desired sheen. Am I right or there’s something more to it?

2) the koa top: if I’m not mistaken koa is relatively more closed grain compared to ash, but I’m not really sure. Do I have to grain fill it or will it screw up the chatoyance of the wood? Can I just threat like flame maple to burnish it and then apply a couple of light coats of finish on it? On my flame maple necks it worked wonders but I never dealt with koa.

Thanks anybody who can give me some hints.