The Ibanez S770PB Refinished

“Toto, I don’t think this is NTF any more”

I don’t think I can do justice to that poplar burl using an image, but here goes…

So I made a purchase a while ago, and was obviously a “little exhilarated” at the time

Re-reading, I can tell that lead to a little haste from the way that the wiring instructions are next to impossible to follow.
This will be addressed shortly in another post.

Another point that was passed over was that the finish had “seen some action”, leading to a list of symptoms.

  • “Buckle rash”
  • Great big dings
  • Gouges / scratches
  • Apparently some water stains in the finish (please let it be water)

Something had to be done

I decided to take the plunge and look into fixing up the finish.


Looks looks looks

I wanted something eye-catching.

… And durability

But capable of taking a knock or two.

With some maintainability

And crucially, something that is easily touched up as time goes on.

This pointed to an oil finish, and eventually I settled upon Danish Oil as catching my eye.

What the hell is Danish Oil?

Here’s a finish I achieved on the back of a slightly tired acoustic.

It’s rather special. I think.

It’s also typically proprietary, so the next question is often:

What the hell is Tung Oil?

On paper it sounds perfect: I’m not going to thrash this instrument, but I can’t promise there won’t be the odd mishap.

Fixing the Things on the back

The dents

There were quite a few deep gouges and dents and nicks on the edge.

Only one solution: steam that sucker out.

This actually works!

Applying some steam to the area seems to cause the wood to soften and puff out to its original configuration.

Here are 2 links related to this, each showing one way of pronouncing “soldering iron”, to dispel any confusion.

Ben does get closer in with the camera, which might be useful.
But Blues Creek really show some invisible mending here

A little sanding may be required for a mighty ding, but the look of the wood is maintained, which is the primary aim.

The scratches

Some of these were so deep they were approaching the depth of the poplar veneer — no, it’s not solid poplar — think we’re made of money?

The only solution there is to get the surface down to a new level and re-finish. The back in particular had some very impressive gouges.

So with some elbow grease, I took this back to the raw wood, and then finished up with P400 paper.

Mahogany is interesting stuff — the grain is pretty evident, and I could see I was not going to get to a paper smooth finish without something to fill the grain, which is not a look I wanted.

Talking inspiration from these instructions:

I applied a serious of generous coats and indeed the giant pores of mahogany left several mini Niagara falls of oil coming up half an hour after wiping the surface of excess.

sanded back
First application soaked in
And you will be rewarded
Three layer plus many little dabs and tweaks to even up the take-up of the oil later…

The theory is that the back will take some knocks, so once cured, a nice thick layer can deal with the punishment.

The Things on the front

Again with the dents

Same deal — scratching the finish allows the steam to penetrate a bit better to get the re inflation effect.

And the scratches

A little bit of steam treatment plus sanding back seemed to be needed here as they were quite visible.

And the water damage

In this case I went for the baking soda fix, as I wasn’t sure about our toothpaste.

A bit of perseverance and it seemed to lighten the marks appreciably.

The finish

This time, as recommended by some, I went with a thinned first coat, to promote deeper penetration of the wood. In this case, about 2:1 white spirit to Danish Oil. This was slurped up in no time by the wood.


Sanded and buffed, but it still looks pretty unprepossessing, right?
WRONG! The oil penetrates, reveals and highlights all sorts of hidden structure in the grain.
After a few more wipes “just in case”

The completed Item

Reunited with the neck and other vital parts.


Danish Oil is weird

Judging from the spills on the tin, this goop solidifies into a golden elastic non-tacky resinous blob in a few days and then into a tough golden plastic-like layer a couple of days after that.

What it’s doing inside the guitar I have no idea, but after day 1 on wood it starts to form into a crusty layer and is harder to shape/polish with cloths etc.

This is a second hand guitar, and not my bread winner.

I can afford to play around with it, to attempt to make it better, but not factory new. Case in point being the pickup replacement (not me) and rewiring.

This time, I got lucky and it seems to have worked out.

It looks a little different (darker, more golden), but absolutely mesmerising, the feel of the front is satiny smooth (once cured).

So, hope this helps and inspires.

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