More as an experiment than anything else, I decided to have a go at relicing the body I finished in August.
The first job is to add a few knocks and scrapes. I dropped a set of keys on the front and back and gently knocked the edges in a few places. Any damage on the lacquer surface acts as a centre for cracks and the crazing radiates out from dings.
Rather than use a chilling spray, which I find gives small “china plate” checking, I placed the whole body in a domestic deep-freezer overnight (thanks Pete!) Using a freezer causes the lacquer to crack in a natural manner, across the grain.
As you can see below, the freezer treatment resulted in fine, subtle cracking such as is often found on vintage instruments.
While the body was still very cold, I rubbed it all over with brown dye which stained the bare wood and penetrated the cracks. Once the body warms up, the cracks will close so it’s important to do this whilst still chilled.
I also gave the relic treatment to the pickguard, applying the typical wear patch.
Photographing the detail proved very difficult as my autofocus camera kept focusing on whatever was reflected in the body, but here are a few pictures to show the results. You can click on the photos to see them full size.