Help! Best way to finish a cocobolo top & back body?

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Help! Best way to finish a cocobolo top & back body?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:33 am

My latest Tiger-inspired project is approaching finishing time. Question: What's the best way to finish a cocobolo body top & back? I have two options under active consideration:

(1) nitro (w/a thin shellac undercoat)

(2) UV-cured polyurethane (w/a thin polyester or other TBD undercoat)

Specifically, what about prep? I've heard that a pore sealer won't be necessary but, because cocobolo is a particularly oily wood, it will be necessary to pre-treat the wood with acetone to "draw out" the surface oils. I've also heard that doing this will some, but not a huge, impact on the wood coloring.

Anyone actually do any of this before? Thanks. Jon S.
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Postby Jon S. » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:57 pm

FWIW, I'm getting some very different advice on how to handle this project. Here, on TGP, some pro luthiers are advising acetone wiping to remove the surface oils, followed by a coat of shellac, followed by nitro. This was also Terry C. McInturff's gut on the best way to proceed when we spoke yesterday. Yet another person has passed on advice from his luthier to avoid nitro. What's a poor guitarist to think?!

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=369175
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Postby Tennessee Jedi » Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:06 pm

I really dont know much about the topic other than the less crap the more the guitar "breathes" ....
I always get the finish's confused.
My un-educated vote is for the thinnest coating possiable.
Wood is good ....
I'm sure you will come up with a great git box no matter what though.
:cool:
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Postby pappypgh » Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:58 pm

Feel free to contact the wonderful luthier who built my axe:

Scott MacDonald
www.customguitars.com

I'm the proud owner of the one he calls "The Natural Wonder" - on the "Gallery of Custom Guitars" page, it's the first one from the left - 2nd row down.

He's amazing...worked w/ Jeff Mattson from ZT, too.

Good luck!!

Pappy
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Postby milobender » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:40 pm

I don't see anything wrong with a rubbed finish (or let's say hand applied), oil, or Tung Oil... I really don't like the feel of Nitro on my skin when I start sweating. I've done all three types, nitro, oil, and Tung Oil on the latest. You can get it quite like a sprayed finish with micro-mesh sanding and a bit of buffing. And it's alot friendlier to the planet :cool: at least minus all the high dollar spray booths etc... :smile:

Here's a link to the one just finished with Tung Oil

http://www.9mileskid.com/pickupsguitars.html

(edit)Oh, and after the experience of the last "Tung Oil" finish, I'd definately use a grain filler of some sort... it'll save you quite a few coats, trying to fill it with finish. :x
IO Custom Guitars
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Postby Rusty the Scoob » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:17 am

My new cocobolo-topped bass was sprayed with shellac to bring out the grain, and then covered with a wipe-on poly that I believe was oil-based. He (my dad) started with a water-based poly and something went wrong with coat #10 or so and in wiping that coat off it all went wrong. He said the new poly went on much nicer and needed a lot less coats.

Here's a sneak preview of the result:

Image

Image

Here's a retrospective from concept to current state: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danfcrea/s ... 940563012/

I can find out exactly what he used if you like the finish. I know it was an aerosol shellac and a wipe-on poly, both from Rockler and recommended by a very helpful guy there.
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Postby Jon S. » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:29 am

Beautiful axe! Thanks for the tips. I'm understanding from you and others that the key to success probably is the base coat of shellac which provides a strong seal to the wood and its oils.
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Postby jonarobb » Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:24 am

I have a Cocobolo end table that my father made some years ago. It's funny because we call it the Jerry table. I asked him and he said acetone bath, literally dip the wood. Sand and shellac sealer. It'll take any finish after that but nitro is preferred.
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