Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Another Alder Body/Natural finish question

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Saygin, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Saygin

    Saygin NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    35
    2
    Apr 13, 2017
    Netherlands
    Hello there,

    First post on the forum. First of all thanks for the great information I found on here but I'm just double checking to be sure

    I decided to give a second chance to a 20 years old ESP KH-202 that I have laying around for years, it was my first electric guitar it suffered from typical high school student without hardcase trauma and DIY fretless modification massacre so neck is scrap wood (but its getting a custom one from warmoth) Since then I obsessively take good care of my other guitars, but I wanna fix this old lady to give back its well deserved respect.

    Body is alder and that's where I'm totally baffled, I read on the forum and many other places that raising the grain on alder is a problematic topic its mostly described as "blotchy", "uneven" etc. As you may realized I want go with natural dark stained finish.

    TL,DR my questions are :

    1 Is water based transtint dyes are the best (if not only) way to stain alder with some grain? and is there a way to raise the grain? I've read somewhere that alder grain responds better to finer grit sanding guitar is already sanded up to 240 I was thinking of 600 since I was planning an oil finish.

    2 Alder has very little grain, do I have to fill the pores at all

    3 Can I use Tung or Tru oil over any method above or would you suggest wipe on poly over any sort of stain?

    4 Would you suggest sanding after finish or masking while applying finish for natural binding

    5 Its not worth it throw it away?

    Here some picture before/after sanding and the couple of looks i like from internet and here on this forum, depending on the results ill select the wood for the neck (Thinking of roasted birds eye maple with madagascar ebony fretboard) Please consider that you'll be explaining this to a complete guitar build newbie.

    Kind Regards and thank you.

    Saygin
     

    Attached Files:


  2. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    1.) It is in my experience. Alder does respond better to finer sanding. Using a Pre-Conditioner when staining raw Alder helps a lot.
    The issue you have is that the guitar was already finished. The chances of it taking a stain in a way that is pleasing is slim to none. The stuff that was on the guitar, wether you can see it or not penetrated the wood in some areas deeper than others, meaning some areas won't take stain or very little of it. That doesn't mean the look you are after isn't possible. You just have to think about it differently. (I'll explain below)

    2.) No Pore filling.

    3.) Yes you can use Tru-Oil, Tung Oil or Poly over what you described. Always good to seal in a stain before a clear coat so the color doesn't lift into the clear. I like clear shellac for this.

    4.) Probably masking, but doing a tape line with stain is probably a headache you'll want to avoid until you've learned a few more things. It sounds easy but it isn't and it's super frustrating. So is the natural binding trick, which I would guess won't work on a guitar that has been previously finished.

    5.) Nope, learning experience for sure.

    O.k. so if you can't stain then how do you get that look?... You've sanded and prepped the body to 320 or close to it?
    Instead of staining, I would tint some clear shellac and spray as many coats as it takes to achieve the color and depth you want.
    Use a Hobby style Air Brush with canned air if you don't have a sprayer, for best results. It can be wiped or brushed too.
    In between every few coats I usually hit it with fine steel wool to knock down any spitting or brush marks left behind after drying.
    Once you are happy with the color then top with Tung or Tru Oil or even wipe on poly.
     

  3. Saygin

    Saygin NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    35
    2
    Apr 13, 2017
    Netherlands
    I have to learn first of all what is "pre-conditioner"...Well I've been sanding this thing for 4 days each day 4 to 5 hours carefully not to reshape it in some areas but its true especially in rounded parts it penetrated quite deep, like belly cut or deep contours I had to resort to 120 grit sandpaper by hand to get rid of that yellowish look, its still not done. I went fairly quick on flat surfaces with 240. Its quite easy to see it on rounded areas since it creates some sort of "boiled chicken vein" kind of look on grain.

    I sanded up till 240 and was planning to go about 400 when I get rid of that previous sealer a little more. Another Idea I had was, medium steel wool/stripper to get into the grain to remove remaining finish but I'm not %100 sure how it effects the wood.

    Thanks for the shellac tip I'll definitely make more research about it.
     

  4. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston

  5. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    44
    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    I agree with everything the good doc mentioned.

    That said, I just sprayed an alder body this past weekend...trying to darken it up and highlight the grain.

    I tested some ideas on scrap. Even with a thinned lacquer precoat, the transtint brown in alcohol that I sprayed next was blotchy. What I ended up doing was putting a couple drops of transtint brown in thinned lacquer (behlens prestain clear wood stain base) and spraying through a Preval onto the bare wood (sanded to 320).

    IMG_2941.JPG

    I then sprayed one coat of Behlens vinyl sealer...and I don't know why? I think to build a level surface...but it sure seemed level after it was sanded to 320.

    Anyway, I'm going to seal the base color with platina shellac before building a graphic with different color coats.

    In retrospect, I wish I would have tried the transtint in the shellac vs lacquer. I possibly could have gotten the same look without the solvent fumes.

    Finish work is all new to me. But I feel like I had some success with the base coat on this one...and hope it can be of some help.

    For the look you are after, maybe some kind of dark wiping stain after tinted base coat and shellac could work to further highlight the grain? I think most wiping stains are oil base...and I have no idea of product compatibility after this point for clear finish coats. Like I said, I'm figuring this out as I go.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
    DrASATele likes this.

  6. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Mark
    I've learned that working with shellac as the carrier medium for tints, shaders, and opaque colors is somewhat less toxic. It really allows for easy fixes and you can almost blend brush and spray, much like lacquer, and the blend is almost invisible.

    The wiping stain after the tinted base coat and shellac could be a huge mess if they not compatible. I had thought that the Minwax line of products including the wiping stains were safe under lacquer but I am reading that they are not. So if you go this route you would need to top with fast drying polyurethane. Maybe another coat of shellac before the lacquer. This is what I use when I'm crossing brands and chem. I love General Finishes Waterbased Tints, Dyes and Milkpaints on raw wood, I seal that look in with clear shellac and then start my top coats with what ever suits the build. I've top those with nitro lacquer and polyurethane but not in the same build ;) .
     

  7. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    44
    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    Why I didn't tint shellac is a head scratcher. I just went on and about how I wanted to move away from lacquer and all its toxic fumes. After my first sign of trouble spraying Transtint in alcohol, you would think I would try Transtint in shellac. Nope...I went straight for the lacquer!

    Myself, I'm fearful of wiping stains and anything with questionable compatibility to a lacquer topcoat. I only mentioned wiping stain because the pics the OP posted looked really similar to pics I found on a furniture finishing tutorial.

    I'll take a look at the General Finishes waterbased product for future builds. There are so many finish options and products... I need to make a chart to try and keep track of them all.
     
    DrASATele likes this.

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