Finishing - where to start?

A finishing is applied in the first place to protect your instrument. Not only against damaging by bumps, but also by conserving the wood. The finish however also gives a look and feel to your instrument. Will you go for a subtle, natural looking finish, a traditional French polish or for a stunning gloss for your guitar.

Once you decided on your choice of finish, you need to consider the preparation that is suitable for that finish and make sure that you have everything needed for the application.

Because there are many finishes available, we listed them underneath with a handy overview for the prep, app and result to help you on your way. You can click on the products for a further how-to guideline.

Guidelines Oil finish Shellac/French Polish Lacquer finish
Hardness (least hard 1 - hardest - 5) 2-3 5 4
Building capability (least 1 - most 5) 2-3 4 5
Flexibility (little 1 - lot 5 ) 4 2 2
Color transparant light amber - amber transparent straw - amber transparent
Gloss (depends on application, the higher the gloss, the smoother your base must be) satin - gloss gloss - high gloss matt - high gloss
Prep - sanding u/i 600 u/i 600 u/i 400
Prep - with open pores Optional with sanding in method or grainfiller Required. With pumice method or grainfiller Required. With grainfiller or Z-Poxy
Prep - sealing/priming N Shellac sanding sealer Cellulose sanding sealer
Application method Brush, sponge, cloth, sanding Polish-pad Spray
Minimum no. of layers 4-6 6 4-9
Drying time between layers 2 - 24h 2 days 15m - 1h
Curing time 1-2 weeks 1-2 weeks 48h - 2 weeks
Finishing Rub with lint-free cloth Rub lightly with alcohol Fine sanding from 800 to 2000/3000 grit
Polishing Optional with lemon oil Optional with lemon oil or Menzerna 3500 With polishers such as Menzerna
Maintenance Clean with lemon oil. A new layer in due time. Clean with lemon oil.  Clean with lemon oil. 
Compatibel - suStain Concentrate* As finish over Not tested as finish over & mixed with
Compatibel - suStain Solids* Not recommended Not tested Mixed with
Compatibel - suStain Mica* N N as finish over & mixed with
Compatibel - Metal flakes* N N as finish over
Safety** Let used cloths dry flat outside due to the risk of self-combustion Ventilate well and use a fine-dust mask. Shellac contains a lot of alcohol! Ventilate well and wear a high quality fine-dust mask and protective clothing!
Available in: Tung Oil Shellac Lemon Poly Gloss 1,5L
Danish Oil Shellac Super Blonde Nitro Matte 400ml & 1L
Guitar Finishing Oil UV+ French Polish Nitro Gloss 500ml, 1L & 5L
Guitar Finishing Oil Solvent-free    
Lemon Oil    

* Finishing products andproduct combinations should always be tested before use
** Follow the complete safety instructions on the packaging