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Strat History, Finishes, According to Silvercrow

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Silvercrow, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    Fender Stratocaster model year 2014, the company makes some "FSR" Strats in "Mystic Gold" and Vintage Blonde finishes. The blond finishes have a rosewood 'board; the gold are appointed with maple 'board. Our friends at MF blow out their remaining stock for $999.99. Silvercrow wants a blonde / rosewood board model but waits a day too long. Only the gold remain. BUT...at THAT price, PLUS a $100.00 rebate certificate from Fender (MUST be spent on Fender 'products' or toward Fender products) he buys one. He likes it A LOT but still longs for a rosewood board.

    One day, a discussion between a fellow S-T member and him ensues. Seems that member WANTS a maple board Strat and HAS a 2013 FSR with rosewood board AND "soft V -to - C" neck WITH compound radius board. A trade occurs.

    Happy, happy. TERRIFIC neck! Almost a perfect guitar. Silvercrow (OK enough referring to myself in the 3rd party- removed) doesn't particularly like the finish of his "new" Strat- it is "Mystic Sunburst" which amounts to metallic sunburst coloring with NO wood grain showing. Bummer...

    STILL, the guitar plays well and after 4-5 pickup swaps and a bone nut, it sounds great. The neck is to die for (IMO). Nothing wrong with the metallic sunburst color except it's metallic and no wood grain showing through. The guitar fits me well and is a good weight for me. Did I mention the killer, rosewood-board neck...?

    What to do? Weigh all the options. Buy a new body. Sell the old one. Keep the old one. Sell the guitar and try to find one with that neck and weight and...

    OR...refinish it.

    I've always favored a white Strat and there are other solid colors that really float me boat too, but I am a sucker for a beautiful grain pattern. But only God knows what lurks under that opaque metallic finish. We all know that sometimes Fender uses less than stellar wood, or even multiple piece bodies, for their opaque finishes.

    So, a trip to Lowes and a heat gun purchase last weekend. Nervous Sunday night followed by prayer and sweating. Removal of all the hard wear and the neck. Monday morning is beautiful in South-eastern Pa. A bird smiled at me as I proceeded to the garage work bench and turned the heat gun on it's lowest setting...The coffee tasted exceptionally good.

    The poly finish on this Fender American Standard Strat comes off easily, but smells really funny; like melting plastic :)rolleyes:). CAREFUL removal, low heat, go slow. DON'T screw this up...

    DSC04436.JPG
    DSC04437.JPG

    IMO, BEAUTIFUL grain pattern! A two piece body! BTW- stripped as shown, it weighs 4 pounds 3 ounces.

    LOTS more sanding to do but I fully expect a great result when finally finished. I'll not be finishing it- I'm not competent enough. And I haven't decided what finish to choose, although I'll try to choose one that allows the advantage of the grain pattern to show through.

    Yeah, I know this will be blasphemous for some. Yeah, I know I killed the resale value (not that it was that great to begin with). I TRULY do love the guitar other than the finish and have no regrets whatsoever in doing what I'm doing. I fully believe I'll end up with a beautiful looking guitar that plays beautifully, too!

    I'd have posted a step by step pictorial but truthfully, being nervous about the whole thing, every time I work on it a bit I want full concentration to be on the task at hand.

    The dark areas on the edges are not singed or burnt- the dark / black of the sunburst is particularly tenacious along the edges and in the cut-aways.

    Stay tuned- will post periodic updates.

    I am getting excellent advice and encouragement from our own @Believer7713, who I believe all will agree, has serious skill sets in refinishing guitars, wonderful imagination, an artistic flair and is a downright gem-of-a-guy!

    Brian
     

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  2. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    I suppose I should show a "before" picture....

    DSC04428.JPG
     
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  3. jaybones

    jaybones Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    With that body I'd be tempted to use Tru Oil.
     
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  4. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah! Something to show off that grain.

    One of the finishes I've seen recently that blows me away is the PRS "violin finish". Classy yet 'earthy' IMO!

    THANKS!

    Brian
     
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  5. jaybones

    jaybones Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I believe there's a finish called French polish, that uses some sort of formula that involves shellac and bee's wax.
     
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  6. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    LOL...I think you're right! AND IIRC there was a pictorial sequence I saw one time of it being applied. Looked like a cloth swab of some sort, small applicator small circles- think of "spit shining" boots in the military. Glass-like finish but seemingly tedious to put on!

    I can barely spray paint our perpetually rusting pergola frame every year with a rattle can of Rustoleum...my skill sets don't include fine finishing of wood...LOL! But yeah- French polish is an exquisite finish for sure!

    Brian
     
  7. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Senior Stratmaster

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    Watch for my 50th B Day NGD tomorrow. I think you are gonna like it.
     
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  8. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Yeah, that wood grain is totally cool. Sunburst would cover too much of that upper figuring. Do whatever it takes to show that off!



     
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  9. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    COOL! Can't wait anddddd.....happy 5-0!

    Brian
     
  10. jaybones

    jaybones Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Well Tru Oil is much easier.

    Just use a clean rag and rub with the grain.
     
  11. Neve

    Neve Strat-Talker

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    Yes, French polish is done using shellac. But it’s not a finish, it’s a technique to apply shellac. It’s several hundred years old. Many high end musical instruments are still done this way. There is no bee wax involved in this very time consuming (and quite expensive) process. Some mineral or olive oil is used, along with denatured 95% alcohol, and pumice as wood filler when needed, however. The result is an extremely thin finish that is absolutely gorgeous and very resistant despite what you may hear about it. Maybe more so than nitro laquer. I’ve done over 60 guitars that way.
    It can take up to over 2 months to complete a classical or steel string guitar that way. But because it’s hard yet very flexible at the same time (more so than lacquer), on a well made instrument, the sound it allows the guitar to have is mind blowing.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  12. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    Awesome!! Do it in the finish YOU really want. No sense always second guessing yourself.
    I think I’m going to clear the next one I finish with aircraft butyrate dope. Similar to nitro to apply and work, but with more flex. Used it on final coats on planes my whole life but never considered a guitar until now.
     
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  13. cappei

    cappei Strat-O-Master

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    When I refinished my guitar I wanted a blonde thing. maybe butterscoth or something. In the end turned out like this.

    I bought a "sellante a la piroxilina" something like nitro sealer, here they calle it piroxilina, don't know why... then a nitro laquer. Used really tick coats, apply em' with a sponge.

    8 layers of sealer, 4 or 6 (dont recall) layers of laquer.

    Result ... a lovely blonde finish that get blond-ier

    20180331_191855.jpg
     
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  14. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

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    That's a nice-looking body for sure! I really think you lucked out since it's marked "SB" — which would be for a transparent sunburst finish — but I bet it got grabbed by somebody at the factory who might not have fully understood that "Mystic Sunburst" is actually an opaque finish! It should have been a 5-pc butcher block under there!!! :D

    upload_2019-5-17_8-47-29.png

    :thumb:
     
  15. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    THANKS!

    I wondered what the SB stood for. DUH! SunBurst!

    I am fortunate!

    Totally stripped now..down to the bare wood. Just a matter of time now...

    Brian
     
  16. Snick

    Snick New Member!

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    Nice grain pattern. If you plan to show that off you might consider a wiping varnish such as Formby's Tung Oil. Once you stain to the color you like, it's very easy to get a nice finish with just a rag application. Some sanding with 0000 steel wool between coats and easy to fix any mistakes. I like the wood grain too and most finishes that show it off. But if you want to have all the grain show, Formby's is a good choice, easy and cheap. My friend has a 73 Strat that was black and had been worn down in a couple areas where you could see original clear finish. We decided to take it down and see if the grain was worth showing off. It was and in the end it came out pretty good. See what you think.

    Cheers,
    Mike 1_resize.jpg 4_resize.JPG 6_resize.JPG 8_resize.JPG
     
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