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A Pleasant Surprise
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DanielB
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April 13, 2014 - 9:40 am
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I've been doing some work on a new acoustic guitar I got a few weeks ago, and one of the things I decided to do was to refinish the neck in violin fashion.

I've seen a few guitars done that way over the years, but usually electrics, and it was just part of the paint job.

So I spent a couple hours scraping the dark brown finish off the neck and shaving it down slightly to a style of radius I like better, only to find that the dark factory finish had been hiding a rather pretty bit of wood.  Even has a decent bit of "flame" to it.

100_0563.JPGImage Enlarger

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"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Barry
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April 13, 2014 - 9:47 am
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is a nice grain pattern, very cool

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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pky
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April 13, 2014 - 10:43 am
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You found the inner beauty that was hidden under the skin! That's a gem beauty!

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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April 13, 2014 - 1:14 pm
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Looks real nice, Daniel.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 13, 2014 - 3:14 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Very cool indeed :-)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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DanielB
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April 13, 2014 - 4:13 pm
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I am pleased with the look. Definitely "distinctive". 

More reason than just the looks though was that I wanted to shave the neck down to more closely match the neck of my fave electric.  Trying to actually match stain/varnish to an oriental factory finish is time consuming, when even possible.

One can't hear "prettiness" or "flame", but a neck that is shaped more to one's liking can make some slight differences in how well one can play a particular instrument.  And a nice but unusual look doesn't hurt when one goes to pick up an instrument to play.

I like it.  I've only seen a couple of violin style finishes on guitar necks personally over the years, though some players do something similar with sanding down to plain wood because they like the bare wood feel.  Bare wood stains and gets dirty easy, though.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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April 13, 2014 - 5:00 pm
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Very nice Dan thumbs-up

 

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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April 14, 2014 - 2:15 am
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Yes, very nice indeed Daniel, I like that !  As we Scots would say "right bonny" LOL.  Nice job!

 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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DanielB
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April 23, 2014 - 7:15 am
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For anyone that wondered if this little experiment wrecked a brand new guitar, I figured I'd post an update/conclusion.

Everything is fine, and I'm quite pleased with how the neck plays. I like it better than the "stock" finish the neck had. Similar to violin/etc necks, it feels a bit more like wood, but is still smooth and fast. At about a month of daily playing it is holding up well and I haven't run into any problems.

For those with an interest in such things, I'll give a quick run-down of the procedure used. I followed ideas from the section on violins in the book "Making Musical Instruments" by Charles Ford.
I scraped the original finish off the neck and also reshaped the neck slightly, to more closely resemble the radius and etc of my Gibson electric. No sandpaper, just scraper work, and then burnishing the wood with a polished piece of agate. Burnishing eliminates any "fuzzy bits" raised from the grain during scraping and also compresses the outer layer of wood cells tighter, making them a little harder/denser.

The finish is two coats of tung oil, applied by glove method, rather than a brush.

For the glove method, you put on tight fitting nitrile or latex gloves and apply the finish a drop at a time with your gloved fingertips. It gives really good control and allows you to get a very thin coat of finish with little to no waste. I only needed maybe a couple ml of tung oil per coat. Using your fingers allows working the finish into the wood a bit better, as opposed to basically using a brush to flood the surface.

The first coat was allowed to soak in for about 5 min and then any excess is wiped off. That is allowed to dry overnight, and it is basically to seal the wood.

Second coat was applied and wiped very thing with gloves whle still wet. When it got to "finger dry" (not tacky to the touch, but could have still been dented by a fingernail), I buffed it with a soft lint soft cotton cloth (part of an old cotton t-shirt), then let it cure in sunlight for a day to get more to full hardness and then buffed it with an old piece of silk. Then I let it have another day of sunlight and buffed it with silk again before re-stringing, just for good measure.

The result was a sort of satin semigloss finish, thin enough to still feel the wood grain through. If I had wanted it shinier or smoother, I could have polished it with some very fine grit sandpaper. But playing will shine it a bit over time anyway, and I wanted something a bit different than a glassy type of finish (which tung oil isn't the best choice for, anyway).

Fairly simple, so far as finishes go. I've had good results with it on toys, furniture and etc, but hadn't tried it on something like a guitar neck.

I'm including a recent pic, since the first pic on this thread was while the first coat of toung oil was still wet, and the wood was still a bit "raw" looking, since it had just been scraped before the finish was started. The couple days she had in the sun "tanned" the wood slightly, and the completed finish has a bit of glow to it, but is non-glossy.

http://fiddlerman.com/wp-content/forum-image-uploads/danielb/2014/04/100_0564_B.JPGImage Enlarger

PS.. To bring this thread back to the topic of violins, this method is what I'll be using to finish the neck on my "in the white" violin project. So this was a good practice/test for that.

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"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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coolpinkone
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April 23, 2014 - 1:57 pm
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Very cool @DanielB.. I love it. Truly lovely grain. I like your update...and I am happy that you are pleased. Always eager to hear violin-in-the white updates too.

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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