is this everything I'll need to finish my guitar?


Junior Member

  I just received my first warmoth order today (a swamp ash musiclander body with a KWS maple/rosewood neck) and now it's time to start thinking about the finish. I'm thinking about ordering the ColorTone Essential Finishing Kit from StewMac along with some Green Stain, a can of clear satin spray (for the neck) and a Finesse polishing pad. Is this everything I will need? Is this overkill? All thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Cheers,

A green dyed swamp ash Musiclander? Sounds like a build I did in 2002, cool!
You'll nedd something for the body...oil, lacquer, whatever. You'll also need lots of sandpaper in different grades. After grain fill (I'm assuming you'll do this with the body), I use 220, then 320. For the finishing process I go from 320 to 600, though several folks here will say 600 is unnecessary.
I could be wrong, but that sounds like a bit of overkill unless you want leftovers for another project.
Here's what I'd do, and if I'm wrong, one of the guys who knows a lot more than me will surely chime in. I've only finished a few myself, but it's easier than I thought it would be.
This might be the easiest way to get what you want. (?)

1. clear (or brown, or black) grain fill your swamp ash. Plenty of directions on this site or elsewhere.
2. do your green stain, don't know what specific product you're thinking of.
3. let dry and then clean it up with super fine steel wool or something.
4. Get a can or two of Deft clear gloss lacquer from Home depot, give it 4-7 or more quick coats. Do the neck while your at it.
5. Let dry a few days then buff out with 320 + and / or steel wool or something.

Seems like you'd need
grain filler
green stain
2 cans lacquer spray (I'm using Deft brand, works great and cheap).
3m Brand sandpaper in 220, 320, and some kind of super-fine gadget like steel wool, a buffing wheel, etc.
Sanding block
As far as I know, all that stuff is available at home depot for probably $30. It's really the same stuff that you'd use to finish nice furniture, more or less.
Good luck and please post pics - we don't see too many musiclanders around.
Thanks for the advice, I just got back from Home Depot with a few tubes of grain filler, sandpapaer and block, and some Deft high gloss laquer spray. I'm gonna skip the green stain since I'm enjoying the natural wood so much. I wish I'd known how difficult Swamp Ash was to fill before I got it for my first build but as the great Zen master Donald Rumsfeld once said "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might wish to or one day have". Wish me luck.
Always a good idea to take guitar building cues from old Rummy! He lurks around this board all the time, full of wisdom that guy...... :icon_scratch:

I picked a one-piece swamp ash body for my first build too. I didn't think it was THAT hard, but I also didn't mind a little bit of grain-feel to come through, others demand a glass-smooth finish. I think getting it 90% filled is maybe pretty easy, the last 10% can be tough, I guess, if you care about that.
I sure hope I'm steering you right here, there's others around who'll know more.

One last piece of advice: always give stuff plenty of time to set up / dry, and take it slow. If you're not sure it's ready for the next step, then it's not ready.
Second last piece of advice: get a digital camera and take some pictures while you're at it! Then you can a) show off here, and b) get better advice on problems.
one more question... Do I need to seal the wood in between filling and spraying on the deft laquer? If I do what can I get at Home Depot to do the job? Thanks.
koshersteel said:
one more question... Do I need to seal the wood in between filling and spraying on the deft laquer? If I do what can I get at Home Depot to do the job? Thanks.
You don't need to, but it is sometimes beneficial. You can use shellac. If you are near a Lowe's, they carry lacquer primer under the Cabot name.


Deft is good.  The semi-gloss is the best.  It actually is a harder tougher finish than the gloss, yet it buffs out to full gloss if you want it to.
I've use dozens of cans of Deft spray... scores of cans in fact.  The semi gloss is the best, although.. gloss is ok.  The issue with gloss, is you have to really let it sit to shrink in before leveling.

See the superglue filler thread. 

The tube fillers may or may not be compatible with nitro lacquer.  Use some Zinsser bullseye shellac (now in spray bombs too) to seal, not Cabot's sealer..... trust me on this one.  Sand back the Zinsser and seal it up a few times, then let it sit for a few days and give it a final sanding.  Shellac shrinks... just like lacquer, but much faster.

Then have at it with the Deft.

-CB- said:


What CB said. I didn't realize the op already had the Deft.