swamp ash finish

swamp ash finish question for dummies

  • first timer body finisher

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • swamp ash

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1
  • Poll closed .

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
see if this technique sounds ok,,,,body due in tomorrow

sand to 220,,,,use damp cloth let sit 1 min, use heat gun to raise grain, resand to 220, repeat 2x more,,,,stain with olympic oil base pecan stain to desired color,,,,,hit with 0000 steel wool,,,3 coats boiled linseed oil,,,3x with 0000 steel wool in between each app,,as a hardener and sealer,,,,then top coat with danish oil

this is the plan,,,,if anyone has some comments please let me know if im screwing up.....thanx,,,,,,
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
Not sure you need to be so aggressive with the grain raising since you are planning on using an oil based stain and are not planning on doing any wet sanding or rub out. 

You might even consider wet sanding with 320-400 grit paper and your oil based stain as a form of grain filling.  You may need to surface sand and lightly repeat the stain depending on how carefully you smooth the slurry into the wood.

I'm also not sure what your goal is by applying a danish oil on top of the linseed.
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
ok i heard that,,,so lets see a little different plan,,

sand to lets say 400, then oil base stain,,,some light wet sanding with 400, then linseed and wool?

it was merely a suggestion on the danish thing,,,,thanx for the input..
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
Oil based stains are also called pigment stains.  They are called such because they  essentially are fine bits of pigment suspended in a vehicle (typically an oil based product.)  It is these fine little bits of stuff that settle out in the pores, nooks, crannies, and grain of the wood.  The less surface imperfections (natural or man made) that are present the less the stain will color the wood. 

Try a test on a small scrap board, sand one side of a panel to 220 then the other side to 400.  Apply stain in the usual manner and observe the difference.  Maple, due to it's very tight structure is notorious for resisting pigment stain and if sanded to 400 pretty much laughs them off.

Generally, I don't recommend surface preparation beyond 220 for pigment staining of most woods.  I'll consider 320 on a two color dye job.  220 seems to be the best mix of surface smoothness and rich, even staining.  On raw wood anything much beyond 320 is really just polishing (which is a great way to bring out the shine or chatoyance of woods that do not require a protective finish.)

The reason I suggested wet sanding with 400 was to create a very fine slurry of stain and wood dust that could be smoothed into the pores of the wood as a natural form of grain filling.  This type of grain filling is still going to leave some visible surface texture to the wood, and would never be the basis for a glasslike / aka 'piano' type surface finish.  It is just a lot less open than no grain fill, especially for large pored woods like walnut, oak, swamp ash, etc. where the pores can look like pinholes.

If that is not of major importance to you then just finish sand with 220, stain normally, then proceed to the oil finish.
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
hey keyser, thanx again for your help,,,,i used my original technique of wetting ,and drying with a heat gun to raise the grain on 2 gun stocks,,all i used after that was BLO and did the steel wool thing ,,,and both were very nice.....since the body is only a few hours away i must try and act like an adult and slow down a little,,,,,,,a trip to home depot and the like is in order to see what type of oil base product will give my ash body the amber tone of the old style TELES and still be able to see some grain of the wood...while keeping the process to a minimum amount of steps...im kinda leaning in the direction of a MINWAX POLY SHADE COLORED STAIN, to try and do this ,,in researching this a little more ive found that using fresh stuff is better than dragging out my 10 yr old stock....so tomorrow is the day ,,,i get to see it and i can go from there.....as well as the trip to the store....ok b cool and i will post up to let you know whats tickin',,,,so if you could hang with me would be cool,,,,,danojavascript:void(0);
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Agree that all the grain raising and sanding seems really unneccessary. The bodies I've gotten have been ready for oil stain right out of the box after a quick wipe down. You really don't want to use grain fill at all on swamp ash? That stuff can have some pretty deep grains. Then again, there are a lot of ways to finish a body and it's not super clear exactly what you want it to look like.
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
hey keyser,,,i know what you mean now, ive seen an axe on here that wasnt grain filled well and thats not the look i want..im off to the hardware to get some new stain and some type of grain filler product....i would like this to be as 'stock' looking as possible...this is my first guitar body and having it look nice is job1,,,actually it just hit the door,,gtg,,dano
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
well its heeeeerrreeee!!!,,,alot lighter in color than i expected and it does appear to be nicely sanded with some grain that needs to be filled,,,,i saw on the web just now a grain filler thats economical and easy to use, i guess being a newbie i was afraid to do this step,,im over that now,,,,,,so the process is to ,wipe body down ,, stain,,grain fill then what????  poly or Blo,,, i will use some amber color of oil base stain....i wouldnt mind a semi gloss finish....what do you think
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
ok i got the procedure down after some research and your help,,,,the thing that was eluding me was how you make the slurry,,,,got  no problem,,,,im going to use tung oil, for the whole project....do they make a tung oil the shade of a medium walnut????  thats where i want to go with this body,,,
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
well its 1/3 done i followed KEYSERS recommendation on the stain slurry and it was a little harder to get up enough to use but after careful attn, its almost done just a little tlc is all thats left, i chose a RED CHESNUT STAIN from MINWAX,,,,had to stay on top of it though do to the nature of the STAIN BEAST while i was working up a paste for grain filling , i didnt want it too dark,,,when im playing out in a dark smoky bar it will still look like a very dark or dark walnut anyway but the RED CHESNUT is gorgeous ...im thinking of doing the WIPE ON POLY for the top coat,,,,so in a couple weeks it should be ready for the neck install,,,ok thanx to everyone who helped. i was sure to bungle it the first time had you not been nice enough to chime in...ill get some pix up as soon as its done.....
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
Sorry to be away, was on the road for a few days.

Glad to hear things are working out for you.  An oil based PU product is a good choice for a topcoat.  Wipe on products are real easy to use, with the only real downside being that they don't 'build' nearly as fast as the brush on or spray on types (helpful hint:  many brush on poly finishes can be made into 'wipe-on' by diluting a little bit with mineral spirits.)

One caveat though, if you plan on wet sanding and rubbing out to a smooth surface PU finishes will leave 'witness lines.'  Briefly - because each layer of PU finish cures separately, and does not fully fuse (or 'burn in') to earlier layers when you sand the uneven surface smooth you will effectively cut across these layers and this will show as faint white lines/rings on the surface (like a mini topo map.) This does not happen with finishes that partially dissolve and re-amalgamate with each layer (e.g. shellac, lacquer) 

The solution is fairly easy though - you just plan for it.  Apply your chosen finish to build a thickness than can then be wet sanded to a nice smooth surface of decent final thickness.  Be careful though - built enough coats so that the danger of sanding through to the stained wood is minimized, and be especially careful on any contours - if you sand through into the stained wood you'll have to get real artistic to fix them.  Then when the surface is nice and smooth and even apply one final thin coat of wipe on poly - done! 

When I wetsand (regardless of the actual finish type) I only use stiff backing on the flats, for any contours I use a soft backing like a an old sanding sponge (the thin ones, not the inch thick ones) or a felt pad.  Flats, obviously, need to be super level, but on contours you can get away with a fair amount of unevenness in the actual thickness so long as the surface is relatively smooth.  Check your progress regularly and don't be afraid to stop, add some finish in critical areas (curves!) and then proceed once those have cured.  Taking your time to get it right will always - always - be faster than having to fix problems.

BTW, It sounds like you and I have had some similar experiences with gunstock finishing - grain raising is particularly critical on those primarily because you are dealing with walnut, which has the double downside of alot of open grain needing filling and walnut produces giant 'whiskers' like few other woods can.  My 'solution' for walnut is to apply a wash coat of very dilute shellac to raise the whiskers, sand lightly to knock off the whiskers and re-expose the wood surface for staining.  Then I use an oil based grain filler with stain added and proceed to final finish with an oil based product. 
 

dano1957

New member
Messages
8
hey hey,,,thanx so much for the info,,,ive been using all of it.....

i think the wipe on poly will do nicely,,,,it will probably be gloss,,,,,,right now im at the last stage of getting the grain filled stained body to be equal in color..next will be the final stain,,,,then on to the poly,,,,,,,ok ba cool and safe,,,,ill keep you posted,,,thax again,,,dan
 
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