Spalted maple finishing question - gloss or satin?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Hollowway, May 1, 2010.

  1. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    OK, fellas (and ladies!): For the Strictly 7 build I've ordered, I keep going back and forth on the finish. It's a black painted body with a spalted maple top. I've tentatively selected a gloss finish, because that's mostly what I've seen on that type of wood, and I've seen others say that it makes the figuring "pop" more. But I know a lot of people swear by oil or satin finishes for natural wood. So, any opinions on which way I should go? If you're wondering what I want, I definitely want the figuring to "pop," and I want it to look cool of course.
     
  2. xtrustisyoursx

    xtrustisyoursx SS.org Regular

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    high gloss

    and you can't oil finish a spalt top.
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I'd go with a medium gloss.

    Kinda like this:
    [​IMG]

    I think that going high gloss on natural woods adds an effect that makes it look like the finish is super thick, and somewhat "plasticy". Though, perhaps that's just me. :lol:
     
  4. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I pretty much have the choice of satin or gloss. I assume the gloss is high gloss, and the satin does have some gloss to it, and might be like the medium gloss like you're talking about. I know what you're saying though, that's why I'm kind of on the fence. I'm trying to find an example online of a satin finish on a spalt top (where it's actually identified as such) but I'm having trouble. The majority of them I'm finding (esp Rico Jrs) are high gloss (which looks cool, I just want something to compare it to).

    EDIT: Just checked the Carvin site. They list the different top woods and what the recommended finish is (i.e. Koa looks good oiled, satin, or gloss). They said spalted maple looks better gloss. Warmoth's site doesn't really specify.
     
  5. bjjman

    bjjman SS.org Regular

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  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Here's an N4 with a non-gloss finish. Not really feeling this one. Doesn't pop at all.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Dang, that acoustic electric looks killer! I know it's a Dean, but that's an awesome price for that.
    Anyway, I'm kind of thinking the gloss would be the way to go. Esp since the back will be black, which would look best in gloss.
     
  8. 7deadlysins666

    7deadlysins666 kvlt

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    Gloss all the way.

    [​IMG]

    Suhr actually finishes some of their spalted guitars. I do not see how, or atleast they have to charge a(nother) fortune for a stained spalt guitar. Spalt REALLY likes to suck up stain and gloss coats, and a lot of builders won't use spalt without the body being bound for stability.
     
  9. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    You mean stained finishes? Yeah, I heard that they're not really stained, but a translucent spray coat. Like a tinted gloss coat. Which would make more sense. I heard staining spalt was damn near impossible as well.
     
  10. Sullen

    Sullen In misery we rest

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    Gloss FTW with a black burst beautiful!!!
     
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  11. Phlegethon

    Phlegethon SS.org Regular

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    I'd go semi gloss if I could . . . would need some sort of shine in order to get the maple to dance in the light but IMO full gloss and spalted maple tops looks horrifically cheap when I see them in guitar shops
     
  12. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Well, I'll have to ask Jim. There's not really a "semi" gloss option, I don't think. Jim said his painter could do satin or gloss. The satin is not matte (which would look terrible) but not as glossy as a gloss finish. The gloss is actually more expensive, because of the amount of polishing required. And I know what you mean about them looking cheap with a thick gloss. But, I think that may have more to do with the builder than the type of finish itself. e.g. Rico Jrs with high gloss spalt finishes look absolutely stunning, but there are others that look plastic. I still can't really decide, unfortunately. I really want to see a close up of a satin finished spalt, but there are very few out there (which makes me lean toward gloss, just based on the numbers).
     
  13. yacker

    yacker SS.org Regular

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    This one looks pretty satin to me.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Sullen

    Sullen In misery we rest

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    I don't know but I like how that gloss finish looks in this guitar :D
     
  15. Fred

    Fred SS.org Regular

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    While I appreciate it's not quite the same thing, I've worked in a paint shop for a fair while selling a lot of different wall, furniture, floor and other such varnishes, and in my experience you might as well treat "semi-gloss", "satin" and other such variations on a theme as referring to the same kind of finish. Sure, there's going to be slight differences between the sheen levels of the finishes in the same way there's slight differences between the sheen levels of eggshell, depending on the manufacturer. But in general terms they all mean the same thing - halfway between matt and gloss.

    And... I'd go for gloss. Some guitars look better with a mid-sheen finish (haha, there you go; another variation I'd forgotten about!) but I'd much rather see a spalt top protected by a nice layer of gloss. Not to mention that shiny normally = better, haha.
     
  16. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    OK, cool, thanks for the insight. I'm generally leaning toward the gloss, but then I get this burst of uncertainty, and start looking at the satin again. On the strictly7.com in-stock page there are a whole bunch of satins, which look cool, but it's still true that the vast majority of spalts are glossed. Koa, walnut, etc. would be a different story, but you just don't see too many satin spalts.
     

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