Heavy Tele: Swamp Ash / Mahogany + Wenge / Ebony

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
EDIT (April 01): The guitar is done and here's one final picture. If you're interested in all the steps in the process, please read on.

Blood-Stain-Front-1.png


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So... for a long time I've been heaving a vision to build a raw, heavy straight-forward metal guitar. My idea was to create a character that looks as distorted yet as tight as the sound it creates. I'm thinking Rectifier/EMG. So the obvious choice was a mahogany body. For the raw look I chose a swamp ash lam top. Given that the overall color theme is black and I love raw/unfinished necks, I got a wenge shaft with and to top up the metal character - of course - an ebony fretboard. Here's an out-of-the-box:

IMG-20220106-104012.jpg


Here are most parts together:

IMG-20220106-203955.jpg


And here a close-up of the neck:
IMG-20220106-104042.jpg
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
First step, sanding...

I am planning to paint the body and the headstock black and apply a ceruse/doghair to the swamp ash top. Having tried TONS of combinations before (damn, I tried things for months and am still not sure), I decided to go for india ink as base, sealer, lacquer for grain filling (weird, but let's see) and tru-oil. In order to make sure the lacquer stays, I need to do some unorthodox stuff that fits the rawness of the project. I am sanding down to no more than 240 (hence an orbital sander works just fine, however, I hand-sanded the sides):

IMG-20220106-205414.jpg


I sanded three times and in between i used a wet cloth to raise the grain. Afterwards I used a metal brush to REALLY open the grain

IMG-20220106-214138.jpg


 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
on to the first coat of india ink. Compared to all my test pieces (random blanks of ash), this guitar is damn thirsty. It's virtually been sucking in the india ink. Let's see how it behaves after 2-3 coats...

IMG-20220106-220427.jpg


The first coat looks actually quite impressive on the swamp ash. I also like the mahogany. Let's see how it'll evolve over the next few days.

IMG-20220106-222527.jpg


IMG-20220106-222538.jpg


 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
TBurst Std said:
Watching this thread as I have a dog hair build in my future.

All I can tell you is that I am probably choosing the most unorthodox method there is. I'm not even sure it'll work out but let's see. Definitely improvising quite a bit on this build. Really trying to go with the flow rather than too much by the book this time.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
OK... 3/4 coats in, India ink by itself looks really nice on swamp ash (and mahogany). Now I'm contemplating if I should actually go with a doghair..

IMG-20220107-203852.jpg


IMG-20220107-203916.jpg
 

teleme01

Senior member
Messages
388
my vote for hair,  blue, orange, silver, gold, white , red,  the options are many.
 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
356
I'm wating to see this dog-hair treatment..  I always thought it involved having a glass of whiskey at breakfast time.  :eek:ccasion14:
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
Doghair in dark silver/grey it is. Came to the same conclusion after sleeping over it for a night...

Although recommended by most, no grain filler available in Europe really worked for me. So, for all US-based guys interested in a doghair (like Mark), theory suggests to use a stain and, for example, Timbermate grain filler.

However, not having access to Timbermate, I tried a multitude of stains (water-based, alcohol based) with a multitude of grain fillers (water-based, wood putty, chemical based, etc.) and the only combination that worked on my test pieces was india-ink and the cheapest laqcuer they have in our local home depot (along with digging into the wood with a wire brush before the first coat of india ink; see one of my pictures above). The next steps are:

- let the 4 coats of india ink dry for a few days
- add one coat of sanding sealer (I use Chestnut's cellulose sanding sealer)
- let dry for 24 hours
- apply lacquer with a cloth and immediately use 000 steel wool to rub it into the grain and away from the surface

The big risk with the last step (speaking from experience with my test pieces) is that if i rub the 000 too hard, I will sand through the india ink. If I don't rub hard enough, I will leave stains of the lacquer on the surface. I am actually quite nervous about the next step - I have one shot, otherwise I'll have to start over again. Wish me luck!

PS: Next update after in a week or so (given drying).
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,455
An interesting finish so far. Look forward to seeing it progress.

For reference you can get grain filler from Rothko and Frost, who ship to Europe Delivery Duty Paid.

https://www.rothkoandfrost.com/guitar-making-supplies-c83/finishing-c15/preparation-c129/dartfords-thixotropic-grain-and-pore-filler-p73#attribute[3]=40
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
alright, I had some adventurous days with my guitar but I think things turned out solid.

First I decided to add a little gimmick between the strap lock and the tuner hole (more or less as a barely visible joke):

IMG-20220110-205337.jpg

IMG-20220110-220201.jpg


What I did here was mix red ink, wood putty and sealer and apply it with a cloth. It looks disgusting by itself but kinda cool on the black. I was very scared that it wouldn't survive my steel wool / extra sealer treatment but it did (see below).

Then I put on sealer which already made the grain pop a bit. I waited 24 hours and then I went full on with lacquer and steel wool (man, was I scared). This were my tools:
IMG-20220113-202058.jpg


And that's the mess I created all over the guitar eventually:
IMG-20220113-202144.jpg


Then I hit it with 000 steel wool and - although not instructed - polished it with a cloth. Here's the result (mind, no tru oil yet):

IMG-20220113-211125.jpg

IMG-20220113-211446.jpg


After the buffing, it's very smooth so I might sand tomorrow where the pickguard will be to see it won't do any harm. If it does, straight tru-oil. If not, I might give it a light sand with 800 grit and then hit it with 10 coats of tru-oil. I'll post another picture after the first coat tomorrow.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,455
In this context what is the meaning of trve, is it a metal genre reference or one of other meanings?

 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
504
stratamania said:
In this context what is the meaning of trve, is it a metal genre reference or one of other meanings?

All of my guitars are quite versatile, getting me from a more or less straty clean sound to high gain. However, this one's going to be as metal as it gets. And of course, among my metal friends there's always been this competition if something is "qualified" as honest metal. So, for years my friends and I have jokingly used the Norwegian black metal term "trve". This is a very subtle hommage to that :)
 

ValeBliz

Senior member
Messages
120
stratamania said:
In this context what is the meaning of trve, is it a metal genre reference or one of other meanings?

Also there is kind of running joke in extreme metal, especially black, that no group is true, heavy and niche enough, so as soon as you released an album you’re already “a sellout”. Of course is tongue in cheek.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,455
ValeBliz said:
stratamania said:
In this context what is the meaning of trve, is it a metal genre reference or one of other meanings?

Also there is kind of running joke in extreme metal, especially black, that no group is true, heavy and niche enough, so as soon as you released an album you’re already “a sellout”. Of course is tongue in cheek.

Ha,perhaps creating a genre called Dearth Metal, it is so niche there is a scarcity of players who know what it is.  :icon_scratch: Now I find out there is a band called Dearth. Obviously they sold out if they formed a band already before the genre was established.
 
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