New "Worn" Thinline project


Junior Member
this arrived today!

mahogany Thinline tele routed for P90 @  neck and T @ bridge with only a volume control. the neck is Mahogany too with an ebony board... hardware wise i want brass bridge and saddles but chrome knobs and klusons (ala Andy Summers tele) and it has a nice parchment scratchplate...

Finish wise is the scarier bit as this is the first warmoth i have done ALL on my own so tell me where i'm going wrong :p

I've died the body and neck with water based wood dye, i will sand it back and do a second coat then sand it back putting more effor on the parts that would get "worn" then the body i will finish in pure tung oil i did want to do the neck in pure tung but im a bit scared the finish might not be hard ebnough so i have bought some poly to do a hard finish if needs be...

is there any benefit/negatives to tung finishing the neck and then giving a few thin coats of poly? would that be warranty safe then?



any ideas or feedback let me know :)

Neil x

Poly Urethane doesn't like to stick to any other finish including itself.  Tung Oil voids the Warmoth warranty.

Nice parts by the way! Mahogany always sounds great!
You might consider dropping the tung oil idea and shooting it with nitro; you can get aerosol cans from StewMac/ReRamch etc. if you don't have access to spray gear.

You'll wind up with a better "worn" finish, and if you need to do some additional sanding back as you get the hang of spraying nitro, it may wind up adding to the worn effect...
Walmart sells DEFT aerosol nitro in their paint aisle.  A neck will need 2 cans (get 3 in case you goof).  Cost is 4.75 per can!

DO get a can of Naphtha to clean the body before nitro and between coats. (home depot)

DO grain fill.  Do sand back then grain fill again... sand again, then dye.  Before dye, you might consider a 3rd grain fill.  StewMac or Behlen water based grain filler is really nice.  Use a dark contrasting shade (brown or black, your call, I like black... adds more contrast when you dye it).  or Behlen available at woodworking outlets like WoodCraft (and others).

Do try a alcohol based dye rather than water based.  Why? if you put a coat of nitro down, alcohol dye will dye the nitro in places you might discover unevenness... and its removable from the nitro if you use some lacquer thinner.  You do this on the first clear coat.

Do get some lacquer thinner and rubber gloves and masks (Home Depot)

DO get the high grade "non clog" sandpaper some 220, 320 and 400 grit.

DO get a sanding block (3m) last two items are Home Depot

DO make up holders to attach to body for spraying.  Neck too.

DO get some Turtle Wax white liquid buffing compound (auto parts/accessory store )

If you 400 grit over DEFT, lightly... with a fine touch, you can get a mirror with the compound.  If your touch is not so fine, then 600 paper.

Using nitro is smelly, but a joy, as its so damn easy... AS LONG AS YOU GO SLOW... and WAIT before coats.  Surface prep is the key.  Smooth wood is a must (grain fill 3x).  After that you'll get nice results with little effort.  The gloss nitro, if left "as shot" will make a naturally soft patina, a sort of semi-gloss that will buff to gloss where you rub on it with your arm/hands... if you like that sort of thing.  OR just buff it out by hand with a rag and compount (what I do).

As usual, CB has it A-Z; when I run out of the remaining nitro cans I'll start buying the deft from Wmart, I can see from CB's projects there's no need to spend more than the 4.75....

One note; depending on what he's trying to effect for a "worn" finish, he might need satin rather than gloss, they stock that at Wmart as well?

Neil - Are you trying to replicate a particular guitar's finish?
Deft does gloss, semi gloss and satin

The gloss is fairly glossy but not high gloss, unless you buff it.  Semi gloss is satin, but can be brought to high gloss if you work at it... it actually goes back to a bit of "patina" which is nice.  Satin is really "heavy matte" and is more suited for art projects than guitars imho.  Walmart has all three.

BTW, NEVER mix nitro brands.  Just dont.  Its death to the project if there's an interaction - and there very well may be - as formulas differ and you get weird drying patterns and sticky and crumbs and all sorts of shit.  Just get DEFT.

Also - trick I learned from Frank Ford - wet sand with a light oil.  I wet sand with Formby's lemon oil.  REALLY!!!! No clog, super smooth, smells good.  A bit messy but WAY better results than with water.  Frank THANK YOU MAN!  (Frank is arguably the best guitar repairman on the planet).

wow thanks for all the amazing advice, and in true geek lust i didn't wait to hear back from anyone and plowed on ahead but so far i'm digging the looks!

I'm not really trying to replicate a particular guitar rather than pinch bits from here and there, this is an odd project really as it is more practice/learning experience so i can go on and try trickier/more expensive materials with less fear.. 9my Girlfriends idea, hey if she wants me to buy MORE warmoth parts i'm down with that)..

So what i've done is gently sand back then die the woods, sand back again putting an extra bit of work on the "wear" patches, then repeated the process. i was going to do a few coats more but it kinda looked right


then so i put the first coat of tung on left it 10 and wiped off the excess and this is what i've woken up to


i decided to use tung as it's the feel i want from the neck, i know if something goes wrong i can't return it but as the shipping and import duties to and from the Uk are dear then i probably wouldn't be inclined to anyway, i'm going to use a lot of tung on the neck for as hard an oil finish as i can get but all the advice you've given will be alot of use for the next project for sure!  Im thinking Koacaster with onepiece goncalo neck...yum

Well that's turning out nicely about the color I thought you were thinking about, what color/brand wood dye did you use?
that's looking really nice. im digging the worn look. I've been attempting to do that the old fashion way on my electric for 3 years now. I guess ill have to play it more...
That looks really nice neil, I'm also starting a mahogany Tele thinline project next week also!!!

I'm also based in the UK, can I ask what brands of filler, tung oil, dyes, etc did you go for?

I've got good results with the Liberon pure tung oil, it definately has the natural feel and "nutty" smell that the purists rave about. 

Also where are you buying parts? Axesrus in Hull provides some really reasonable mail order parts deals if your interested but I'm sure you've seen that.

All the best with your project!

hi guys

thanks for the messages :)

The dye is just "black" water based Dye from wood finishes direct in the Uk, they also supplied the pure tung oil, which indeed does smell nice and nutty, although my lady didn't like the smell too much!

I really couldn't be happier with the colour it's not what i planned but it's what i thought i "couldn't do" i thought the dye would be more aggressive but i found it by nature to finish in a kinda powdery way which was easy to strip back leaving the pinky/red mahogany colour to come out nicer through the greyish stain.

i didn't use any filler on the body as i deliberately tried to get a grainy feel like my "first" proper guitar; a Gordon smith d/c Les Paul slab body which i dinged up so bad that my old man took a sander to it and refinished it with danish oil!!!

Axesrus is indeed where i plan to order most of my bits but i used to work at a store called fret down here in Southampton and i can source a lot of stuff through them pretty cheap :)  lUcky me

so im thinking an Antiquity bridge tele pick up and abareknuckle p90?! any suggestions?
Cool, I'll post some pics of mine once I get started, good luck with it mate.

Wouldn't the bareknuckle pickup completely out power the antiquity one? I thought Bareknuckle was seriously high output but I must admit I've never heard one.

On mine I'm going for a SD little 59 at the bridge (for a les paul ish tone) and an SD ssL3 strat single coil at the neck just cos I like the sound on my friends modded pacifica)