Strat/Tele: Carving the heel and applying the finish

It feels like I’m into the finishing straight now (pun intended). This morning I removed the clamps from the neck and set to with the rasps to carve the heel shape.

Once I’m happy with the shape I start the hard work of sanding to remove any gouge marks and then working up through the grades to 220 grit paper. Here she is ready for the next stage.

Now I raise the grain. I lightly dampen the body and allow it to dry, this distorts the ends of the ripped and torn wood fibres, making them stand up. The body actually feels furry. I remove these burrs with a very light sanding, wipe down with a damp rag and allow to dry.

And now we’re ready for the Danish oil to go on. To make sure the first coats penetrate as deeply as possible, I put the guitar in a warm room for an hour or two, and then place the can of Danish oil in a tub of hot water – hot enough that I could just about hold my hand in there for 5-10 secs. Working quickly I apply a liberal coating of the oil to the guitar, going back over any areas where it soaks in, until the surface of the guitar is glossy. I then take a lint free rag and wipe away any excess. I give that an hour to dry and soak in and then repeat the process.

Here it is after the first coat.

After the second heavy coat, I then switch to applying lighter coats every two hours. I’ll leave it overnight and then tomorrow morning the first application will be done using 600 grit wet & dry paper. This smooths out and remaining imperfections. Again it’ll get light coats at 2 hour intervals through the day. I’ll leave it to dry over Monday night and through until late afternoon on Tuesday. At this point it should be ready for putting the hardware on and stringing it up.

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