Walnut Velocity trial and error

Bear Brower

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I've been working on my walnut Velocity body and Warmouth neck for awhile now. It's finally starting to look like I want, but not without a hiccup or two along the way.

I'm using Watco tung oil finish. It was looking really nice after the first 5 coats and I probably should have stopped there. But, I was starting to see a nice gloss sheen emerging, so I continued.
We'll, at some point I looked at it and it looked awful. I am limited in my small house for work space with a kid and cats running around, and the finish suffered for it.
With each thinly applied and wiped coat, a new layer of hair and dust was finding it's way into the body. Not a good look.

Out came the 220 grit, then 600 and finally the 0000 buffing pad. It still looked bad, but was baby smooth. Now I tried something unorthodox. I had a Shur-line edger and refill pads laying around from repainting the house some years ago and said to myself "wtf, let's see what happens"
I used one pad too apply the tung oil finish and another dry one to wipe off. Wow, what a difference! Now, there's still a few hairs in it that I'll have to live with, along with a couple runs and sags, but with some TLC, I think it will sand and buff down to something workable.
I didn't go nearly as heavy on the neck, so it's largely ready.

Because the coat is so heavy, I'm just going to let it sit a good month before I start that process because I think a coat this heavy will definitely take its sweet time to fully cure .
Time will tell and I'll update when I think it's ready for the next steps.
 

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Rick

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A little dust and hair.  Let it cure, and then sand off the bad parts.  Tung oil is pretty forgiving. 
 

Sadie-f

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427
I wonder, do you have photos of the "awful" phase?

If you have either runs or sags, you're leaving a lot more oil than I'd be doing with either Tung or linseed oil (if you do this with pure Tung, it will orange peel as a polymerized skin forms over the film of liquid)

However, note the product label -- what you have is "Tung oil finish". This is not the same as Tung oil, and looking up the MSDS of the product, it contains both mineral spirits and alkyd resins. This is why you're getting gloss, and also probably why it's held on to dust etc. Also, usually when Tung oil has drying solvents added, it's because it's polymerized Tung, which hardens faster, and can build to glossy far quicker than pure tung.

When I wipe off Tung oil, I leave no visible wet areas on the surfacs, and the next day it's still not fully hard, so another wipe down will remove any dust on the surface.
 

Bear Brower

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I didn't take any pics of the bad stage. It was pretty much just enough dust and hair stuck in it to warrant taking it down some. I'll add a pic of when I should have stopped. I saw the gloss that was building in the grain and decided I'd try to build up to a full gloss.

Yes, I'm definitely aware that the finish I'm using is a Danish oil type of varnish and not a pure oil. I've used Danish oil on guitars before, but usually only did the basic 2 coats and spray poly over it.

P.S. ignore the pilot holes in the pu cavities. I decided midstream not to wood mount and did a little freehand routing with decent results.
 

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Bear Brower

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My logic in proceeding the way I am with a heavy coat is so it only gets a chance to get more hair or dust on the surface of a thick layer that's being taken down a little, thereby removing it.
At that point I'll decide whether to commit to a lifetime of waxing, or just poly it.
 

Sadie-f

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427
Either way, I like your results!

And yes, I figured you knew, just weighing in from peanut gallery over here :).
 

Bear Brower

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This is my previous work with Danish oil and poly
I've had this since 1984 and finally stripped off the three different coats of paint it had on it.  I left the remnants of the last paint job it had in the grain for accent with decent results. It's a new finish but let's the guitars age shine through
 

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Bear Brower

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She's getting there...
 

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Bear Brower

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Thanks!
I forgot to add that I burnished the walnut neck, to the point that I hit it with the buffing compounds while I was rubbing out the body. The neck is ridiculously silky
 

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Bear Brower

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stratamania said:
I assume on the walnut neck that it has a finish that has been "burnished" or is it raw wood?

I did a single light coat of the Watco tung oil varnish basically to fill on the grain and give a little protection.  Then I worked it down to the point where only the pores have any significant finish left.
 

stratamania

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Bear Brower said:
stratamania said:
I assume on the walnut neck that it has a finish that has been "burnished" or is it raw wood?

I did a single light coat of the Watco tung oil varnish basically to fill on the grain and give a little protection.  Then I worked it down to the point where only the pores have any significant finish left.

Thanks for clarifying  :icon_thumright:
 

Bear Brower

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28
She's finally done, except for the settling in and final setup.

The rail part of the P-rails are kinda meh, but I absolutely love the P-90s, after a little getting used to something that's not a humbucker.

If I had to do it again, I'd do a PAF style instead.  Hey, I think I'll do just that. Stay
tuned...
 

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ragamuffin

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910
Looking good! I had more or less the same thoughts about my p-rails; the p90 sounded pretty good but the rails were weak and the humbucker sounded kind of muddy. On that guitar I ended up replacing the body with one routed for regular p90s.
 

Bear Brower

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28
After three weeks of playing, tweaking and letting her settle in, here is my observation and assessment:

The unplugged tone is second to none on volume and sustain compared to any guitar I've owned or played. It's not as loud as my Emperor, but that's to be expected. I absolutely loved it and had high hopes for the plugged in tone.

I'm sure you detected a little disappointment building in that last sentence, well here it is...

The plugged in tone is nowhere near as rich and complex as unplugged. I tried a couple different caps, but came to the realization...

It's the P-Rails...

I went into this build with a plan, and a preconceived notion of what it would sound like. And as things often do, the finished product didn't live up to expectations.
I was expecting this uber-versatile instrument that could do it all. I should have realized what I already knew from all my years in the trades; a Jack of all trades is a master of none. Yes, I read all the reviews, but THIS was going to be different,  haha, yeah right.

I have learned that what I really want soundwise, is a slightly hotter than vintage humbucker. These P-rails fall short because of the mismatch between the rail and the P-90 sections.

$250 lesson learned.

I think the SD Whole Lotta Humbucker will get me where I'm going without dropping too much more dough. A half hour with the soldering iron and I'll be happy.

I think I'll keep the triple shots in though, having options is always good, just not compromise.

I'll check back in after the swap out.
 

teleme01

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361
my experience with the prails is similar to what you express,  just not my favorite...    i also have seth lovers and pearly gates,  i love love love the pearly gates,  slightly hotter than the seths,  sounds great in clean mode,  i have no experience with wholelotta humbuckers but the sound you described is what i get out ot the pearly gates,  and i think the pearly gates would sound pretty good with the tripple threat ring.
 

Bear Brower

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28
The WLH is slightly hotter in the neck than the PGs, and are AlNiCo 5 vs. 2. I have a bridge only guitar with the 59 in it, which is also AlNiCo 5, and like that sound, so I based my decision partially off that experience.
 

JohnnyHardtail

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Messages
319
Isn't the P90 tone good enough to justify keeping p-rails in the guitar, or is more because of your preference for a proper humbucker?

Anyway I'm not surprised, its hard enough to find a humbucker that splits well.  A pickup designed for 3 different tones is expecting too much IMO.
 
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