How to do a decrepit barndoor swamp ash finish?


Master Member
I really like the look of WillyK's swamp ash P-bass:


He "repaired" it from an initial gloss finish, and I want to do something similar from scratch. So:

wet the swamp ash to raise the grain, dry, sand it smooth
Apply one thin coat of wax-free shellac as a sanding sealer (?)
rub in some brown or black-dyed grain filler
sand it smooth
apply some clear poly

Does this sound about right? I'm also thinking I might want an amber tint to the plain wood, and I'm not sure when the sealer stage really ought to go on -  :help:
I don't want the open pores to go completely black. I do want the ghost ship, rotting barn, buried-with-a-mummy kind of vibe here. :eek:  :hello2:  :blob7:

Not sure if you want to shellac first...  you might want to grain fill first, sand back, (repeat at least three times) then go shellac and fine sand.

Swamp ash generally takes a bunch of filler.
My 'feral' 54 originally had minwax wipe on poly as a top coat. I guess that was all the sealing that was necessary. I wet sanded it all off. Grainfill it like you said, I wet sanded that off too, more than once. Then satin clear poly for the finishing coats. A little bit of stain in the clear coat can add an interesting vibe. I'm going to play with a strat body along those lines next. What is your barn door going to be?
5-string fretless bass, G5 body, with a 32" scale, maybe even 31.5", with a "High-C" tuning - E A D G C low to high. It might even get a whole-step higher with that scale length, to F# B E A D, and I'll get two octaves at the top with a regular neck and a short scale - obviously, I like playing melodies on my fretless bass.... :toothy12: 

Warmoth can do a fretless neck with no side dots, and a G5 body with a EMG pickup route for the neck pickup position only. If you think about a jazz bass, the bottom pickup is 32" from the nut, so that's where I'll put my bridge - the Schaller 496 can be set narrow enough that strings-off-the-edge won't be a problem. I haven't yet asked Warmoth if they can omit the bridge grounding route/hole from the 34" bridge location - I'll figure that out when I get there, as I will figure out side dots. The placement is easy, I just need to drill some neat dot-holes somehow...?


I still have to rob some more banks to generate the scratch, and there's no point in piling MORE unfinished projects up till we get some