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So I got this nice Les Paul copy, set neck, maybe Greco??
I might keep it as I got it cheap and it has wonderful vintage Dimarzio's.
Its been stripped down. The back is fine as is, but the top has a very small amount of subtle flame. Is there anything I can do to enhance it?
Its s cheap beater guitar, I don't want to do a complicated refinish, but I was wondering what product will bring out the grain, maybe linseed oil? I have used Tru-oil before but its a bit glossy and might hide the grain more than anything.
Whaddya think?
Cheers
 

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Oil will help pop grain rather than hide it but the effect is limited. For max pop fill grain with dark stain and sand back , then oil ( optional colour stain before that).
 

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Oil will help pop grain rather than hide it but the effect is limited. For max pop fill grain with dark stain and sand back , then oil ( optional colour stain before that).
Thanks, that sounds like a great idea. Just a bit of dark stain, then I guess some really fine sandpaper? Up to 1000 grit?
What kind of oil would be best? I can use the Tru-oil but its a bit glossy and don't want to have to do too much sanding after.
I'm not the most patient guy when it comes to sanding with 10 different grits up to 10,000
 

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Stain it black. Sand it back. Stain it black again and sand it back again. Finish in your favorite color. You can dye the grain any color you want doesn't have to be black Obviously staining mahogany blue is not going to work. Common sense for grain color and lighter color to accent

Another cool trick is plaster it with black patinating wax aka shoe polish. Let it sit 10 minutes then wipe it off with your favorite Watco brand oil. The oil wipes the wax right off the surface, and the wax stays in the grain, the oil seals in the wax into the grain. Finish with your favorite lacquer poly or oil etc



I have used this method on an oak chair and it is as easy as it looks
 

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You only need to polish to 220 on the body. If you want gloss then you have to go up to 2000 wet dry or equivalent. The finer you sand the body the less stain it will take.

If you grain fill you can tint the grain fill as well. I have les Paul junior I will be working on soon. I am going to grain fill with a clear grain filler but I am going to tint it aged cherry red. Then I will stain and sand back twice in cherry red dye. Finish will be tinted cherry lacquer
 
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Thanks, that sounds like a great idea. Just a bit of dark stain, then I guess some really fine sandpaper? Up to 1000 grit?
What kind of oil would be best? I can use the Tru-oil but its a bit glossy and don't want to have to do too much sanding after.
I'm not the most patient guy when it comes to sanding with 10 different grits up to 10,000
I use (polimerized, not pure/food grade - there's no point, just more work) Tung oil. It can get some gloss if you work for it (more coats) but never a high gloss. No sanding just buffing between coats with 0000 steel wool starting after the 2nd-3rd coat - that's when you start getting surface buildup

Here's one I did exactly that way (mahogany):

Grain filled with black and partially sanded back:


Stained and oiled:




It's simple and easy. The shoe polish thing sounds good too though.
 

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If you are going to buy stain, there are two types, dye stain and pigment stain. Dye is see through, pigment is not. I recommend General Finishes water based dye stain. The top piece is raw curly maple sanded to 150 grit and one coat of GF's aged dark cherry. It soaks right into the curl of the curly maple as you can see. If I sanded to 220, the grain would remain that dark cherry color and the maple would turn white again. The inside of the box is one coat of watco danish oil in cherry. was experimenting and the inside wont be seen. Almost any transparent finish will make the grain pop.

My favorite, will always be 1 pound cut of dewaxed blonde shellac for curly maple. It turns a honey color and looks almost liquid. I wish the camera would pick up the iridescence of the shellac on the small board.

Don't forget, the higher you go in grit number, the less the stain will have a chance to get into the wood. The danish oil looks pink because it was sanded to 600. LOL


DSC_0171.JPG
 
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Yeah that's an important point re sanding too high and stain absorption. I don't think I sanded the above example any higher than 3- maybe 400.
 

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First application of tung oil is usually diluted 50 percent so 400 grit is right on track for that acoustic.
 
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