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Thread: American Ash Finish

  1. #1

    American Ash Finish

    I'm waiting for delivery of a GST-1 American Ash Stratocaster kit and need some finishing advice as all my previous builds have been mostly solid colour and I want to preserve the look and feel of the grain.

    I have previously used Tru Oil on guitar necks but it is hideously expensive here in South Africa and 'goes off' in the plastic bottle very quickly. I have found a local source for Liberon Finishing Oil which I think is a blended oil based on Tung Oil with an added drier. I gather it is thinner than Tru Oil and soaks into the grain but with enough coats it should produce a stain/semi gloss finish which is what I'm looking for.

    The Liberon web site shows that it is generally used for finishing furniture but does anyone have experience of using this on a guitar body?

  2. #2
    Mentor dozymuppet's Avatar
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    I haven't used it myself, but having a look at the description it certainly seems to have potential. They also offer a "quick drying tung oil", which may be even better suited.

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  3. #3
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I do not have any experience with Liberon products either, but looking at the website, they have a "Hard Wearing Varnish" which I would guess is an oil based polyurethane. Poly is used a lot in DIY guitar building. I use satin poly pretty much exclusively on my necks now, but have also used it on the Ash body of the tele in my avatar (however that was gloss).

    In the Liberon application instructions it says it can be thinned 10-20% with white spirit (what we call mineral turpentine in AUS - not sure what it is in SA). Those instructions are for a brush or roller application, but I would suggest thinning further and wiping on with a clean lint-free cloth, the same as you would do with Tru Oil. You would want to experiment with the amount of thinning, but I use a 50/50 to 60/40 ratio with oil based poly I use. I'll just reiterate that I have not used the Liberon stuff.

    You will need to grain fill Ash if you want a smooth flat finish, or don't grain fill if you prefer a more textured look.
    I used a ebony grain filler on the tele to contrast the grain more.

    This is a gloss poly, but you get the idea:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  4. #4

    Making Progress

    Thanks for the input.

    I havenít used grain filler as I prefer the Ďtexturedí look and feel. I have applied the first coat of Liberon Finishing Oil straight from the tin and it soaked into the wood in a few seconds. I wiped off what excess there was after 10 minutes.

    Itís much thinner than Tru Oil and goes on very easily and evenly. I need to let each coat dry for 5 hours and Iím planning to do five or more coats and see what it looks like.

  5. #5
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Sounds good Chris. Look forward to seeing some photos.

    The Liberon products are available here in AUS so it would be great to see how it goes. Always good to add another finishing option to the book!

    Also, I just found a Liberon supplier only 3k's from my house!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  6. #6

    Starting to look good

    Iím 6 very thin coats in and itís starting to look pretty good. It goes on much thinner than Tru Oil and is very even but will take a lot more coats to build up a really deep gloss shine.
    I need to work out how to post photos on here!
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    Last edited by Chris Morris; 14-10-2021 at 10:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Iíll take a better photo tomorrow when the oil has hardened.

  8. #8
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Looking good Chris!
    I think I can see a reflection of you taking the photo. If you're getting a that level of gloss after 6 coats, that's very good IMO.
    I don't think I've experienced that quick a build with Tru Oil. (presuming it's not still wet in the photo)
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  9. #9

    Starting to Shine

    Seventh coat now dry. I gave the sixth coat it a very gentle rub with 0000 steel wool and itís starting to achieve the look Iím going for.

    Iím thinking of about 5 more coats.
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  10. #10
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Nice. I've seen a few builds recently with no stain, just a clear coat over the natural timber. I have to say it's a look that's growing on me!
    Good on ya!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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