"Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

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"Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Alan Peterson » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:42 am

In poking around the web, I'm seeing a lot more finished guitars than I did before that are being called "Relic'ed". Some are believable, some are just over the top.

Call it opinion only, but when badly done and most of the finish is missing, all I can think of is, "Man, what kind of lacquer are you using? That stuff is just peeling right off."
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Brian Evans » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:44 pm

I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I find relicing a brand new instrument very fake - like making a brand new antique table by letting your kid trace drawings with a ball point pen on it, or wacking it with a chain. On the other hand, I am actually intimidated by a brand new perfect, very expensive guitar to the point where I shy away from them. I very much like the look and feel of a typical 50 year old instrument that's been played and loved. Exactly what relic's try to emulate. Weird. If you buy a heavy relic Stratocaster from the Fender Custom Shop for $everal grand, do you then keep it in the case and baby it so it stays pristinely relic'd?

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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Bob Orr » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:46 pm

I have never really got the relic thing."Fake News" as far as I am concerned.
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Peter Wilcox » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:27 am

One of the first guitars I made was a SRV #1 copy. I thought I'd relic it by dragging it with my tractor over the sagebrush, rabbit brush, antelope bitterbrush and rocks outside my shop. But I didn't. :D
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Aaron Helt » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am

If done right, I think it looks cool.
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Dan Smith » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:33 am

The only relic finish I don’t mind looking at is the old barn wood look.
Seeing a bright shiny finish with sanded spots here and there is dumb.
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:49 pm

It's the unintentional relic'ing I do I don't like! :lol:
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby Alan Carruth » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:52 pm

I did 'antique' a partsocaster once at the customer's request. It was sort of fun. The trick to making it look real is to do a nice job with the finish to begin with, and then do stuff that mimics real wear. Dan Erlywine did an article on it in 'American Lutherie' once, and I pretty much followed that. The way you get the finish to craze to begin with is to break the old painter's 'fat over lean' rule by putting a hard finish over a soft sealer. Then, when you abuse it the finish can't move with the surface and cracks. I used a 'crackle glaze undercoat; more or less latex base, under shellac. When it was done I put mine it in the freezer over night. When I toook it out the next morning you could watch the cracks run across the surface. A wash of walnut stain made them really show up.

In the end, though, the cuustomers always do a much better job of it than I could, so I leave it to them for the most part. ;)
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Re: "Relic-ing" a Finish: Opinion Only

Postby David King » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:50 pm

Nothing like a bad batch of 1970s Fullerplast sealer to get you a nice relic that's still sticky 45 years later.
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