October 19th, 2008, 09:43 PM
In considering a project tele built with a mahogany body, how much lattitude can be hoped for in the body color with the grain still showing?
What I mean is it's possible to go all the way to Olympic White if the body is sprayed a solid color. But for a translucent finish can the body be bleached or white-washed to lighten the tone of the wood before applying clear nitro? Sealer and/or wood filler have a influence on the color? Basically, how can I lighten up the color.
Thanks, hope this question isn't too far off the aesthetic track.
October 19th, 2008, 11:01 PM
Sure you can. Remember that mahogany is only a light pinkish tan on its own, so it's not too dark to begin with. If you do want to lighten it you can get two-part wood bleach from a woodworking catalog.
Test samples are everything, and of course that can be difficult if you bought the body. But if you made it or have offcuts then you should try a test first.
October 20th, 2008, 12:20 AM
Yes, and wood bleach is usually based on oxalic acid. You could try it out on the neck pocket, the control rout, the pickup rout, or even under the pickguard area. Once you know how light you can get the wood, you can custom blend your grain filler so it is about the same, maybe a little lighter. If the body needs to be still lighter in color, you can spritz on a whitish toner consisting of shellac with some white pigment, or a trans white nitro spray.
October 20th, 2008, 10:15 AM
Wanting to build a mohogany bodied tele is a bit different from what I have and I'd rather it not look like the color of a SG when completed.
If I could get this to look like blonde or Mary Kay that would be ideal - looks like a normal tele but under the skin: not ash & not alder!
Thanks for the replies, it's extraordinary that I can avail this type of info here. Trying a finish color with a wood type that might be undo-able is setting up for failure from the get go. Hope to avoid that.
October 20th, 2008, 11:04 AM
I'm no finishing expert, so I can't tell you what the process is, but check around to see how Gibson made the TV-Yellow color on Les Pauls in the late 1950's. If no one knows here, ask over at the Les Paul Forum. And don't forget that there are White and pastel Blue SG's, so I'm sure this can be done by someone who knows what to do. All USA Gibsons have nitro finishes, and always have.
October 20th, 2008, 11:36 AM
A good bleach to use is a 2 part A/B bleach commonly sold in paint and hardware stores.
They actually alter the chemistry of the natural colour of the wood.
Its an alkali/peroxide that will produce an off-white neutral base for your Mary
Kay type of finish.
It needs to be neutralized with water and vinegar after you hit your mark.
Usually 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.Then rinsed and sanded.
Works good on the mahogany and walnut that Ive done. (..other woods not sure)
Good luck with your Tele project.
October 20th, 2008, 01:17 PM
Based on the responses, going for a blonde or a Mary Kay type of translucent finish on mahogany is possible. The key part for me was to know that mohogany could be lightened to look similar to swamp ash in color. BTW - swamp ash is off-white in color right? I only think it is based on what I see in the neck pocket of my AV52RI. If I can get that far in prepping the wood, then sealing & applying a blond or Mary Kay finish from rattlecans should follow the standard procedures and practices.
Getting informed by some of you experts emboldens me to make the jump on newer projects. Fantastic, uh...I think. :grin:
October 20th, 2008, 02:33 PM
Sure you can. Remember that mahogany is only a light pinkish tan on its own, so it's not too dark to begin with.
Mahogany will darken over time. Sometimes becoming extremely dark over 5-10 years.
October 20th, 2008, 09:59 PM
...could be lightened to look similar to swamp ash in color.
Can you post some photos when you're done? Sounds interesting. I'm not sure you'll be able to get the ash "grain" though.
October 21st, 2008, 09:10 AM
I just did a T body in butterscotch blond, I was going to do a transparent finish but the grain of the mahogany is so light it didn't make much of an impression so I went on to a solid color. Two color coats and she's ready for a lacquer sealer coat.
Lightening the mahogany might make a difference but I would think if you want the grain to show through the finish you might want to accent the grain with a darker filler. I'll post pics of the b. blonde mahogany thinline later today. One thing I forgot to do was a lacquer wash coat before the grain filler which I would recommend.
October 21st, 2008, 09:59 AM
Agree that some mahogany hasn't much grain to show off. But if all it takes is Bartley's dark color filler to try and bring it out more it's worth a try.
Looking forward to those pics. If the color of the mahogany doesn't throw off the hue of the butterscotch blonde then maybe bleaching the wood is overkill. What are your thoughts on the color difference of bb/mahogany from that of swamp ash? Might still need to do it for simple blond or MKay to maintain the proper Fender-esque hue of the translucent.
All this effort to create something that is different (mahogany t-body) and yet recognizably the same (blonde swamp ash). But those that know tele tone will hear that there's something not quite right about the tone outta that tele. :wink:
October 21st, 2008, 10:13 AM
tough to get the right color w/ my photo skills but this is close,
October 21st, 2008, 10:28 AM
It depends a lot on the grain in the piece that you have.
You can't really make mahogany look like ash,even with the bleaching.
You can accentuate the mahoany grain,but it will still look like mahogany.The bleaching will only downplay the colour of the mahogany, not change the grain structure inherent in the wood.
Stephent2 is correct on a couple of sealer coats before the filler.
The sealer will prevent the rest of the wood from taking up the colour of the filler like a stain, and only have colour in the pores of the wood.
As Donnievaz said, the hog will darken with age.Something else to take into account.
You'll simply have to live with the limitations of the materials you use for your
guitar.Think ahead and sit back and enjoy it for what it is when finished.