Okay to put lacquer on mahogony?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by donnyjaguar, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    I have an Ibanez guitar RG321MH that I picked up a couple of months ago. This is a cheapie guitar but if you like to hack around playing heavy metal its great fun. I went for the natural wood body instead of the painted because it looked like an old motorcycle helmet. :) I guess with the low price you don't get the tough high-gloss finish (or pick guard) of other guitars. I've noticed that scratches from my fingernails are starting to show on the guitar. I wondered if it might be an idea to put a polyurethane transparent finish on this guitar? I don't know nuthin' 'bout no woodwork so I don't know if this is a problem with mahogony or if the finished result will look innappropriate.

    Any input welcome!

    DJ
     
  2. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Just my $.02 but I wouldn't worry about it. Let the scratches happen. Have a blast making that guitar YOUR guitar. Are you worried about the resale value? I don't think a refin is going to help your resale value any more than wear marks will hurt it. Besides, the wear marks give a guitar it's character.
     
  3. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Sanded and clean,

    you can pretty much put on any type of finish you want. Nitro lacquer, acrylic lacquer, polyurethane, acrylic urethane, etc..... Clears, colors, kandys, etc..... the sky's the limit:BEER
     
  4. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    If mahogany has had no treatment at all it needs filler applied before any lacquer or poly is applied. If you apply finish without filler on mahogany it will soak the finish up like a sponge and have a major impact on tone.
     
  5. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    Thanks all for the input. I'm not worried about resale value for this thing - although I've found that the Ibanez guitars seem to hold their value very well. The difference in price between 2-5 year old RG series and new isn't that profound. Anyway, I just wanted to keep it nice looking like the rest of my gear. Ah hell, its the cheapest guitar I own so I think I'll just leave it be and let the fingernail & pick scratches fall where they may. :)

    Now if you'll excuse me I have to go and play the Crue's "Live Wire" much to the chagrin of my neighbors...

    DJ
     
  6. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    Say what? First of all, you don't have to fill the grain of mahogany or any other wood if you don't mind the look of exposed pores. If you want a glass-smooth finish, then you do have to fill the grain. You can fill the grain with commercial grain filler or you can fill it with finish, sanding it back and reapplying until the pores are filled. The pores of the wood are sealed after one or two coats of clear and will not continue to soak up finish like a sponge. I can't accept the notion that grain filler imparts better tone than whatever your clear coat is. I certainly accept the idea that thick finishes can have a negative impact. But you can fill the grain with finish and keep the overall finish as thin as you want as long as you sand it back until the grain is filled.
     
  7. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    "You can fill the grain with commercial grain filler or you can fill it with finish, sanding it back and reapplying until the pores are filled. The pores of the wood are sealed after one or two coats of clear and will not continue to soak up finish like a sponge."

    This will not work with Nitro. It will continue to seep into the pores after even 7-8 coats. I learned the hard way (as I only used one pass of grain filler, shoud have used two). If I was finishing a mahogany body, I'd spend the $10 on grain filler.
     
  8. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    "You can fill the grain with commercial grain filler or you can fill it with finish, sanding it back and reapplying until the pores are filled. The pores of the wood are sealed after one or two coats of clear and will not continue to soak up finish like a sponge."

    This will not work with Nitro. It will continue to seep into the pores after even 7-8 coats. I learned the hard way (as I only used one pass of grain filler, shoud have used two). If I was finishing a mahogany body, I'd spend the $10 on grain filler.
     
  9. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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  10. slhguitar

    slhguitar Member

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    How would I go about acheiving a matte black finish on untreated mahogany, while still seeing woodgrain? I love the look of a semi-translucent matte black finish....AKA My SG.....
     
  11. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    "usually do use grain filler on open grained woods. If you want to use nitro to fill the grain, you have to sand it back after every couple of coats or, yes, you will continue to see pores. As the nitro, as you say "seeps into the pores," it eventually fills them up with nitro until the lacquer is level with the wood surface"

    Good point, as I've heard of doing this. Don't you use up a shitload of nitro though?
     
  12. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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  13. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Without a filler and seal coat, the grain may start to show after a few weeks drying and curing time. Nitro finishes can take months to dry completely.

    littlemoon
     

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