Why dont builders finish with oil/wax?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by smilefan, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. smilefan

    smilefan Member

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    The only two builders I know that have used oil/wax finishes for
    their bodies and necks are Chapin and Zachary. It would seem
    the way to go for a slick organic feel, open and resonant tone,
    and less costly in the build process.

    Why dont builders, especially the smaller ones employ this,
    or at least offer it as an option?
     
  2. Vince

    Vince Member

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    I sometimes use poly oil, but nitro wax. I don't know which one I like better.

    :p
     
  3. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    I prefer oil on my salad, and wax on my truck.

    Then again I'm working on a finish I'll call Nitroil. It should be a big hit. ;)
     
  4. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    I try damn hard to keep oil and wax off my guitars. A big pain to paint on :D

    -L
     
  5. Vince

    Vince Member

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    My specialty.
     
  6. Shades

    Shades Member

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    In fact, I'm not using an oil or wax finish at all. My neck finish can have that feel and look to it but it doesn't soak in like a oil finish at all. Ages ago (10 years +) I did some guitars with a very small amount of tru-oil as a coloring agent in my base coat.
     
  7. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    I don't like to oil down my guitars. My women, on the other hand.....
     
  8. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    Music Man Ernie Ball does the oil/wax finish on their necks.

    Adam Stark
     
  9. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    I've built 7 acoustic flat tops over the past two years. All were French polished, except, for one which had Tru oil (no wax) , back, sides and neck. Top was FP'ed. I'm very pleased with the sound of my guitars in general , but the one with Tru Oil sounded noticably "deader' than the others. I was inspired by the feel of the EB/MM necks, which i love, and also looking to see if i could cut corners and avoid the labor intensive French polishing.
    It could be coincidence, but i think not. When building the guitar in question, i built it lightly as possible for max. responsiveness.

    If only it were as simple as wiping on a finish i'm sure all the builders' large and small, would be lining up with a rag in hand.
     
  10. Crazy Dave

    Crazy Dave Member

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    Good question. Oil/wax finish rules.:dude

    Feels good on my zacharys that's for sure.

    You forgot Warwick. They use oil finish on their basses. I believe I've also seen a few oil-finished Rickenbackers.
     
  11. dave251

    dave251 Member

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    The first six electroCoustics used a glossy tung oil finish. That was almost five years ago. I'm in close contact with two of those guitars, and the finish still looks pretty good, although they could stand dissasembly, and recoating. Then they would look new again, except of course for the dings that WR cedar always acquires.

    I'm currently using a waterborne polyurethane floor paint. Very low toxicity, sounds great, and really is more durable than lacquers, as it won't chip over the soft cedar, but will dent...still leaving the finish on the surface rather than chipping off. This was the determining consideration for using this paint. Here's a photo of numbers #114 and #115, delivered this week.

    http://www.electrocoustic.com/newimage/cliff114&115lz.jpg

    I offer either the satin polyurathane for a very nice neck finish, or a tung oil/wax finish. Since I usually apply about 10 coats of tung oil before waxing, both finishes require about the same amount of work. A no charge option, although the tung oil is less expensive for the materials.
     
  12. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Warwick. Hundreds, if not thousands, of instruments a year that you simply wax & buff every now & again. No paint.

    --chiba
     
  13. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    Basses seem to follow a completely different set of rules.
     
  14. Shades

    Shades Member

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    Ain't that the truth! It is in many ways an almost opposite approach.
     
  15. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    I suppose the inevitable question is: why is that? (Not arguing the truth in that statement, just wondering "why"?)
     
  16. tms13pin

    tms13pin Supporting Member

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    Gadow just lightly oils their necks. No poly or nitro.
    They feel great. At least my two do.

    --Tom
     
  17. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    Man I wish I could get 5-6K$ for a guitar made from exotic woods with a salad oil finish and skip this years and years of learning to finish business! :eek: :D ;)

    All I know is the bass guitar is a completely different game. Not that there is not a demand for a great Fender style bass.
     
  18. blackburncustom

    blackburncustom Member

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    Hi,
    I do a LOT of oil/wax finishes. I enjoy the feel and sound personally. My customers must like it, too.
    Peace,
    Dave:dude
     
  19. TiEsQue

    TiEsQue Member

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    Wayne Guitars (by Wayne Charvel) makes guitars with oil finish, but I've never played them.
     
  20. Tim4.5

    Tim4.5 Guest

    Hi all. First post here for me. I saw this thread and figured to just slip in and drop an opinion.

    In the late 60's I had a buddy that had a beat up old electric. I think it was one of those cheap no name Japanese odd balls of the day. He stripped what remaining finish there was on the back of the neck and decided to use his Moms floor wax for a finish. I loved the feel of that thing. I ended up stripping the finish off my tele’s neck I had at the time and doing the same thing.
    Ever since then I have never liked playing a neck with a surface film of any kind.

    I have made guitars for a full time living since 1993 and every single project I have done has had a first coat of poly oil (sometimes tinted) or a brown/orange shellac (French polish) as a base (for patina) and then the actual finish with a hard curing paste wax.

    I have tried every kind of wax I came across. As long as they dry hard, all seem fine. For a long time I made my own wax and liked it the most. But lately I have been using a standard paste wax made by Minwax and figure it is about as good as my home made brew and way less trouble.
    Although, I do use a high temp mold release wax sometimes that seems excellent .....but spendy.

    I have a lot of instruments out there and every single person has loved the feel and tone. Hell, I have even converted some folks to stripping the finish of their ‘other’ necks and using a wax instead. I occasionally do a french polish for anyone that asks.
    Wax finishes do require some maintenance, but no more often than you would clean and oil a fingerboard.

    And just for the record ;) all of my work has a high end polished surface film on the headstocks and the back of the headstock. The body is the same thing. I just use the odd ball finish on neck backs. My 2 cents worth.

    Cheers, TT

    :D
     

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