Wayne Adams

Strat-O-Master
Aug 12, 2011
922
Kentucky
Rub your hand in a combination of sweat, cigarette ash, dust and beer. Then spray it with “Off” bug repellant and grind it in. (Yes, I have real-world experience. That’s what happened to the original cream finish on my 1978 Musicmaster... :confused:)
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
3,977
Edmonton, Alberta
That dark sweat area on the finish is definitely sweat, dirt and grim. However there’s a band I like called Warpaint. The lead singer has this jag that within a year or so turned this dark brown area where her arm/hand rests. I swear it’s probably a sunscreen lotion or just skin moisturizer. Here’s her guitar. You could try that on a test area to see if it will react to nitro. A1BE07CE-9545-4242-9072-EA4DB14470D3.png
 

pn8830

Strat-O-Master
Jun 2, 2021
533
NJ
Well, jokes aside what's your budget for this? Do you want to spend money on bluing liquid or just want to do it cheap?
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
648
Berkshire
It's probably my laptop screen, but every time I see this thread on the main page I read the 'r' and 'n' as one letter 'm' after 'Relic help..' I'll leave you to work out what I read it as...
 

Old Tone

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 8, 2019
12
Louisville, KY
This is something you'll probably want to take a board and practice on to get right I'd think.

You can get this sort of effect with a buffing wheel and a bit of polishing compound, by lingering and using a bit too much pressure on the wheel. It heats up the finish and if you're careful you can kind of control the amount of finish damage.

Edit: Oh yeah, do it with a pick guard mounted so you get the line right. If you don't have one that has decent holes lining up you can temp attach it with double sided tape.

That's all I got idea wise, hope it helps.

I have found great success in simulating sweat/dirt by soaking steel wool in vinegar. Put a clump of steel wool in a small container (say an old peanut butter plastic container with a screw on lid) and pour just enough vinegar to cover it. It may take a few weeks to totally dissolve. Shake/swirl it routinely to encourage quicker break down of the steel wool.

This nails that dirty/worn look if applied on bare alder, ash and maple (for the back of the neck). It has also done well over worn paint surfaces. Multiple applications and even some rubbing with EXTREMELY FINE wet sandpaper can produce more dramatic results. But like all relicing, PRACTICE FIRST.
 

CigBurn

Total Hack
Jun 22, 2014
15,974
Same Shed Different Day
I have found great success in simulating sweat/dirt by soaking steel wool in vinegar. Put a clump of steel wool in a small container (say an old peanut butter plastic container with a screw on lid) and pour just enough vinegar to cover it. It may take a few weeks to totally dissolve. Shake/swirl it routinely to encourage quicker break down of the steel wool.

This nails that dirty/worn look if applied on bare alder, ash and maple (for the back of the neck). It has also done well over worn paint surfaces. Multiple applications and even some rubbing with EXTREMELY FINE wet sandpaper can produce more dramatic results. But like all relicing, PRACTICE FIRST.

Mmmmm tasty on a salad. :)

Yeah I've used that before on bare woods myself several times. In this case though I think he is looking to replicate the way grime/sweat sort of dissolves into the actual finish. Sort of like what you see on the arms of antique wooden dining chairs.
 

Tremoluxer

Strat-O-Master
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 28, 2020
512
Ypsilanti, Michigan
That is sweat, grime and grease from his hand after years of playing. Nothing else will look right. I'd try to find a way of speeding up that process.

I know some players who could play it for a couple of weeks and it'd come back as a relic.

Seriously, though, this type of job can go wrong in a heartbeat. I don't think practicing on a single body would be of much help -- probably only if was the same type of wood and finish. You could buy a few cheap pre-finished Strat-type bodies from Guitar Fetish, etc., to practice on. I wouldn't even consider making a profit, just look at it as learning a new skill -- on-the-job training. The shops that are already relic'ing guitars didn't achieve results like in the photo after doing one body.
 

Slartybartfast

Strat-Talker
Aug 10, 2020
355
Ca.
Hi guys,

So I’ve been commissioned to relic a guitar body for someone.

This is how he wants it to look. View attachment 488962

What would you advise to achieve the dark patch next to the bridge? Thought about just spraying a light coat of tobacco brown but then I started thinking “well how did that actually happen?” With all the marks within that patch, it looks as thought the finish has melted in heat and something has touched it while it was melted. I could be wrong? First time I’ve attempted something on this scale.

Other options I can think of is to burn the nitro with a blow torch or I’ve used chalk pastels to great effect before and just added a clear coat to lock it in.

What do you guys think?
Tell him to go out and play it for 30 years like the rest of us. Relicing is like a twelve year old ordering a beer with a fake mustache. CORNY.
 

thomquietwolf

Dr. Stratster
Gold Supporting Member
Silver Member
Dec 2, 2010
19,941
Peardale CA
Hi guys,

So I’ve been commissioned to relic a guitar body for someone.

This is how he wants it to look. View attachment 488962

What would you advise to achieve the dark patch next to the bridge? Thought about just spraying a light coat of tobacco brown but then I started thinking “well how did that actually happen?” With all the marks within that patch, it looks as thought the finish has melted in heat and something has touched it while it was melted. I could be wrong? First time I’ve attempted something on this scale.

Other options I can think of is to burn the nitro with a blow torch or I’ve used chalk pastels to great effect before and just added a clear coat to lock it in.

What do you guys think?

If
You're serious with this...
Good luck
And
Please keep us in the loop...
 

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,218
ok
warm it up some, dampen with almost hot water and rub in coffee grounds. The darker, the better.
 

Drredplate

New Member!
Jun 19, 2021
7
Uk
Hi guys,

So I’ve been commissioned to relic a guitar body for someone.

This is how he wants it to look. View attachment 488962

What would you advise to achieve the dark patch next to the bridge? Thought about just spraying a light coat of tobacco brown but then I started thinking “well how did that actually happen?” With all the marks within that patch, it looks as thought the finish has melted in heat and something has touched it while it was melted. I could be wrong? First time I’ve attempted something on this scale.

Other options I can think of is to burn the nitro with a blow torch or I’ve used chalk pastels to great effect before and just added a clear coat to lock it in.

What do you guys think?
Hi under no circumstances apply a blow torch to nitro cellulose! It is rated as an extreme fire hazard and potential explosive .

sand through the finish with various grit paper finishing with 400 grit. Apply spirit based furniture dye of a suitable colour using a rag. Then apply something like danish oil or finishing oil again with a rag.

test the dye first on a piece of scrap wood.

Take into consideration dyes give different colours depending on the wood so a pice of pine scrap won’t necessarily give the same colour as ash or alder,

you can always test the dye inside the body routs where it won’t show
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
648
Berkshire
It's probably my laptop screen, but every time I see this thread on the main page I read the 'r' and 'n' as one letter 'm' after 'Relic help..' I'll leave you to work out what I read it as...

Quoting my own random post, made late at night (UK time), since I can't edit it.

This is what I meant, having seen this thread on the main page again.

Relic Burn.jpg

I realise that I shouldn't find this amusing at my age, but WTH, it's Friday and I'm in a silly mood. :)

EDIT: Realised that to most of the USA readers that you tend to use the A word instead...never mind, my childish amusement is probably lost on most of you then. :oops::D
 
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