• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Building my first acoustic kit. What finish?

waygorked

Member
Messages
609
I've done a ton of TruOil finishes on guitars, but I'm pretty sick of the labor involved. I'm looking for a simple, non-toxic (i.e. not nitro) finish that doesn't require a ton of effort and simultaneously won't be incompatible with what a good acoustic is supposed to sound like. Any suggestions?
 

Terry McInturff

45th Anniversary of guitar building!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,329
Do not consider using any sort of finish product on the soundboard that will soak unduly into the soft wood, you will destroy the sound of the guitar.
You *must* use a hard finish that sits on top of the wood, which will dry hard and THIN.
This is not a simple job.
The only "wipe-on" type of finish I could endorse would be high quality shellac.
Do a google search on "French polish". You mix it yourself from shellac flakes.

Since you want to avoid nitro (It is NOT dangerous to use if you buy a decent respirator) you could consider spraying a water-borne finish, but I'm not crazy about those...but they can turn out well.
 

testing1two

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,739
This was brought up in another thread, but a CA (superglue) finish would be great for the soundboard and is fairly simple to apply once you know how. It's not cheap compared to mixing your own lacquer or shellac but it doesn't require special tools or spraying equipment. Check out the GluBoost website: https://gluboost.com/

 

waygorked

Member
Messages
609
Do not consider using any sort of finish product on the soundboard that will soak unduly into the soft wood, you will destroy the sound of the guitar.
You *must* use a hard finish that sits on top of the wood, which will dry hard and THIN.
This is not a simple job.
The only "wipe-on" type of finish I could endorse would be high quality shellac.
Do a google search on "French polish". You mix it yourself from shellac flakes.

Since you want to avoid nitro (It is NOT dangerous to use if you buy a decent respirator) you could consider spraying a water-borne finish, but I'm not crazy about those...but they can turn out well.

Thanks, that's exactly the level of input I was hoping for. Would you consider spray shellac?
 

Terry McInturff

45th Anniversary of guitar building!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,329
Thanks, that's exactly the level of input I was hoping for. Would you consider spray shellac?
Sure, you can spray shellac but avoid "Bullseye" or other pre-canned shellac. The only musical instrument grade shellac is purchased in the form of dry flakes or crystals, and is dissolved in alcohol to various consistencies. The best solvent is 198-proof "Everclear" (from the booze shop) but 98% isopropyl works fine too. Proprietary solvents such as "Behkol" are a waste of $$.
Of course it's best sprayed with good gear, but the disposable PreVal units would work.
An EZ source of decent flakes is:
https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a.../Finishes_and_Solvents/ColorTone_Shellac.html
 

tarweed

Member
Messages
875
Sure, you can spray shellac but avoid "Bullseye" or other pre-canned shellac. The only musical instrument grade shellac is purchased in the form of dry flakes or crystals, and is dissolved in alcohol to various consistencies. The best solvent is 198-proof "Everclear" (from the booze shop) but 98% isopropyl works fine too. Proprietary solvents such as "Behkol" are a waste of $$.
Of course it's best sprayed with good gear, but the disposable PreVal units would work.
An EZ source of decent flakes is:
https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a.../Finishes_and_Solvents/ColorTone_Shellac.html

Any comment on shellacs available here?
https://www.shellac.net/
 

Mr Fingers

Member
Messages
3,371
Tru-Oil is not a good finish for a guitar, let alone an acoustic. You can get away with it on most electrics, but it's still substandard in some respects. Good shellac, French-Polished, is IMO notably the best instrument finish widely available today. Modern nitro is good, but it's not the same as the nitro we love on older guitars, because it's fullof stabilizers and plasticizers that keep it from hardening the way we want it to. (Makers don't want to risk cracking.) Poly is generally terrible unless you know how to do a great job with the appropriate version. I would do French Polish (takes practice) or, if I was not skilled in shellac, I'd use spray nitro. That's what I do. I think regular poly looks and feels crappy, so I would not use it. Even though Tru-Oil is mostly poly (I'm told) I'm not using that gunk.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom