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Thread: Strat ash build

  1. #1

    Strat ash build

    Started this. While back. Black timbermate and dingorone red and tru oil. Hated the truoil finished and it stripped a bit of the red stain and yellowed a lot of the guitar.





    So I am going to sand back as much as possible and and re-stain orange and try a different finish. Anyone any ideas on how I can get a glassy flat finish on an ash body?


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  2. #2
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    To get a completely flat clear finish is actually quite difficult. You may need to go to an automotive paint place and get them to mix up a tin with stack of Ďflattenerí in it. Thatís how hot rodders looking for a durable flat finish do it. Also be aware that it will attract finger prints and dust very readily. Personally I would go for a satin finish which is about halfway between gloss and flat. Cabotís external poly comes in satin and it is very durable and easy to apply. I used it on this guitar and Iím very happy with the results.

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  3. #3
    Having seen your other post re: this guitar, I'm looking for clarification on what you mean by "flat".

    Do you want flat as in non-glossy, or flat as in "smooth as glass"? (and glossy?)

    Either way, the only way to get a smooth as glass (flat?) finish on ash is to do a very thorough grain filling before applying any clear coat.
    To some extent the clear can fill, but that generally takes many many coats and not the most efficient way to achieve it.

    Basically the clear just follows the contour of what's underneath it, so the smoother you start out, the smoother it will finish up.
    The surface can be levelled with wet sanding, but again, the smoother you start with, the less wet sanding required (and less risk of sand-through).

    My first PBG kit was a TLA-1 and whilst I'm happy with how it turned out, there were a couple of spots where the grain texture still came through (of course the back side was perfect!!!). My point being that what I thought was properly grain filled, was not in those couple of spots. I have since become hyper-vigilant with grain filling, repeating the process up to 5 or more times to be sure.

    This is why I love Alder! Nice tight grain!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  4. #4
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    Work you way up to 220-240 grit sandpaper sanding with the grain until wood is as flat as you can get. No need to go finer as you get the shine in the finish not the wood. Fill with wood filler and sand with the grain. If there are some low points use an artists paint brush and fill the lower points and I then use a fine Scotch-Brite wrapped around a block and sand slightly across the grain. The Scotch-brite wont hurt your previous sanded finish and repeat until the whole surface is dead flat. Then apply a sanding sealer so you get an even stain. Apply 2 coats of poly with a brush and sand with 600 wet and dry. If there are any low points then repeat but if the surface was finished properly with filler and sanding then just apply 2 coats with foam brush after using a normal brush giving you a total of 4 coats. Sand with 1500 grit wet and dry and apply a final coat with a foam brush. Sand with 1500 wet and dry to make sure it is dead flat and leave until completely dry, maybe a month depending on weather and brand of finish. Then polish with cut and polish compound and it should be like a sheet of glass. Well that's how all of mine are done.
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  5. #5
    Yeah flat as in shiny and flat.
    Thanks everyone for the advice. I have never used a wipe on poly so I shall look into it


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  6. #6
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Ah I see I have misunderstood what finish you are chasing.

    It's all in the prep getting it nice and flat. You need to use a large, hard flat block to get everything as true as possible and just work your way up the grits.

    It can be helpful to spray a light coat of black spray paint as a guide coat. Then as you sand with the flat block you will be able to see the high and low spots very easily.

    I used that technique in this thread, if you skip thru the thread you can see the results in the later pages.


    https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ead.php?t=9001
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  7. #7
    Hi mate,

    That stain looks lovely. Can I just ask what size drill bit did you use to drill the holes into the neck?

  8. #8
    Thanks for all the advice people. I will try filling in the grain a bit more and sanding back as advised and possibly using a sanding sealer if I have any left. I am going to try finish with a wipe on poly. I am used to using nitro so this will be a good learning curve. Any advice on application would be appreciated. Eg number of coats, thick or thin coats, time between coats and final curing time?
    Thanks again


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  9. #9


    Went to these. Iím used to spraying sanding sealer and nitro lacquer so this will be a learning curve.
    I will be sanding down, timermating, sanding, then stain, sanding sealer then poly...thatís the plan anyway.
    If anyone has any advice on applying the sanding sealer and wipe on poly.


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  10. #10
    Any advice on application would be appreciated. Eg number of coats, thick or thin coats, time between coats and final curing time?
    Wipe-on poly: lots of thin coats applied with a folded piece of lint-free cotton. I go smallish, a 5" square piece folded down to about 40mm wide, and folded in a manner that all the outer edges of the rag are on the inside so you don't get fluff coming off the "cut" edges. Work in straight lines as if you were using a brush, not a circular motion.

    As for number of coats, as many or as few as you want, depending on the look you're going for. When I do wipe-on poly or Tru Oil, I finish up with a minimum of 20 coats but usually 24. That's just me.

    I've not used that brand of w/o poly (I mix my own) so I can't comment on drying time between coats. However, with my home-brew, I can get 3-4 coats a day on with about 1.5-2 hours between (depending on temp/humidity etc). Of course the first few coats get sucked up pretty quick on raw timber, so you may be able to get a couple extra coats on the first day.

    re: Final curing time, with the high number of coats I do, I find it about the same as lacquer. I give it a minimum of 2 weeks before any wet sanding & polishing.

    FYI: my DIY wipe-on poly is a simple mix of whatever type of polyurethane I want (gloss, satin etc) cut 50/50 with a good mineral turps. It's all the bought stuff is, without the extra price. (like half the price)
    The extra bonus to mixing your own, is you can play with the ratios. I find the 50/50 works great universally but I have gone to a slightly heavier mix (60 poly/40 min turps) for the last few coats.
    It means a little extra time between coats, but it just builds a bit more for a deeper finish.

    That's my 2 cents worth...
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  11. Liked by: Cliff Rogers, OliSam

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