IS it possible to finish an oily wood like rosewood or cocobolo?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by deoreo, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. deoreo

    deoreo Member

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    I've been thinking about a strat body with a rosewood or cocobolo top, and most of the time I see these woods unfinished.
    However, I like the look of a deep glossy finish. Is that possible with normal finishes, or an oil finish?

    Most of the time I see stuff finished like this Tele:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=316674&highlight=cocobolo
    It has a satin finish - can it be oiled to be glossy?

    On the other hand, this Thorn with a cocobolo top just blows my mind:
    http://thornguitars.com/galleryhtm/dc095.htm
    How was it finished?
     
  2. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Rosewood can be finished. You just sand it real smooth and apply the finish.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    Sure, you can finish rosewoods. The problem with them is the oil and resin content. If you wipe the surfaces really well with acetone or lacquer thinner, you'll get most of the oily resins out of the pores. I'd make sure not to sand beyond 220 grit or 280 at the finest. This leaves a surface that will afford a little better purchase for the finish to grip. Another good thing to do is wipe on a couple of coats of freshly dissolved shellac, about 2 lb. cut, before spraying the finish. If you're spraying lacquer, the solvents will allow it to adhere to the shellac and build some film thickness.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    many high end acoustics have rosewood backs and sides. You might want to fill the grain, read up on washcoats and grain fillers.
     
  5. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Do not use any polyester of any sort!!!! I have had more than a few of my custom shop clients try and it never dried on the rosewood.

    Nitro or acrylic urethane seems to work fine...It just needs a lot more coats and sessions to fill the grain and wood to a smooth, glass like finish.

    I personally finished my Brazilian Rosewood neck in acrylic urethane many years ago.
     
  6. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Any new info. available on this? I'm getting ready to have my new cocobolo top and back Jerrycaster finished soon and want to be as prepared as possible to ensure success!
     
  7. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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  8. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    it is harder to finish an oily wood...but possible. The beauty of these woods is that you don't have to finish them.
     
  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Has anyone here used Bartley's grain filler to fill the rosewood pores, then lightly oiled the finish and played it like that?

    Tempted to try it. Not altogether sure the Bartley's would harden enough not to wear away or create filth on your fingers when you played long intervals.

    Might extend the life of a particularly porous, lighter density piece of rosewood.


    Bubbanov
     

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