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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

How to get this kinda flame?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by NorthenLights, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    28
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    So, I'm thinking about how I'm going to finish my thinline body (as shown here: http://www.tdpri.com/threads/nbd-the-epic-thinline-partscaster-build-begins.782700/). I want the top to match the back a little better, while still accentuating the flame maple. For many years, I've had a thing for old 335-style Grecos with walnut finishes, so I'll try to go for something like that. This is a picture of what I'm imagining it should look like.

    [​IMG]

    Any advice for how to achieve this kind of finish with the body I have? I'm thinking of staining it black and sanding it down to bring out the flames. Then a thin coat of some kind a amber stain, followed by a dark walnut stain. Lastly, I'd sand some of the walnut of to let some of the amber shine through, and finish it all with tru oil.

    What do you think? Am I on the right track, or am I over complicating things? I have no previous experience with finishing guitars. I have a couple of cheaper maple necks that I will use for practice before going for the real thing, so don't worry that I will jump at the body right away. I just want some advice as for whether I'm taking the right approach here.
     

  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Dunno, but what a great looking guitar!
     

  3. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    541
    Oct 28, 2015
    Kalamazoo
    You have to experiment with the finishes you intend to use on similar wood to the real project. Make a piece of scrap wood look like what you want, then write down the steps quick before you forget them.

    The easiest way to make bring out the curl is to use two contrasting shades of the same color. To copy that guitar in the picture I would start by trying brown, sanding, then amber.

    After the first color that goes on the bare wood, the other colors should be "transparent dyes". "Stain" is often made with microscopic flakes of opaque pigment that won't let light through. They will make the grain look muddy and far away.

    You plan could work great, but I'm a little scared of the sanding off of some of the top layer of walnut stain. That would have to be some very careful sanding. Experience has taught me to watch out for steps requiring extreme fine muscular control. Especially in a situation involving layers of color, because refinishing a section usually leads to having to do an entire panel of the guitar over from the beginning.
     
    Steve Holt likes this.

  4. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    28
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    Is that so? I've seen alot of youtubers get that beautiful, deep 3D-look using stain and tru oil. But maybe I've missed something. Are there special dyes for guitar that people use?
     

  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Isn't that a maple ES-355?

    If so and that's what you're shooting for, forget the flame. Walnut rarely has the type of flame as seen on a maple body. Some has a somewhat inconsistent if distinctive curl, but it's generally much wider and less even.

    You need to seal before staining (and yes, dye would be much better - which also requires specific sequencing) and may want to use a paste wood filled (tinted) depending on the porosity. You can find specific instructions on the Reranch site and many other threads here. It takes several products to get grain to really "pop", and it only will if the raw stock has the right grain to start with.
     

  6. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

    If I understand correctly, you are wanting to get a figured maple top to match a walnut body. If so I would first. Get my walnilut color where I like and then sneak up in the maple with light coats of selected dye or stain until the colors matched as desired.
     

  7. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    28
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    It might be maple, but so is the top I'm wanting to finish, so that should no ok. It's got just the sort of grain I'm looking for. What I want is for it to be visible under a brown finish preferably with some amber or dark red strains as in the picture of that 335.

    Also I've been given the impression that maple doesn't need sealing. Have I got this wrong?

    Well, match is a strong word. I want it to be brown, walnutish, but doesn't have to be a perfect match really.
     

  8. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Maple generally doesn't need filling.
    IMHO anything you stain should be sealed when you achieved the color you want. That way the clear coat doesn't lift color out of the wood which could be then sanded away when level sanded. The sealer stops this from happening. Sealing in the case of something like vinyl is also about adhesion, vinyl is formulated for certain lacquers to make them adhere better. Although it should be noted that toner/shader coats (tinted clear) are sometimes added after the sealing and first layer of clear to get richer color and depth.
     

  9. sedandelivery

    sedandelivery TDPRI Member

    66
    Dec 10, 2009
    New York
    Here is a link for a maple top I finished with StewMac stains. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba9Lw9ujYXL/

    First I stained the entire maple top dark brown (same color as the back and neck), then I sanded it all the way back so the dark brown was only in the deepest parts of the flame. Then I stained the top with the amber stain. It took some adjusting and a few coats of stain. Was mostly too yellow, had to add drops of dark brown stain to dull it down. Then I finished directly with clear nitro. Didn't use any sealer. However, because of this the first 5 or so coats of nitro soaked directly into the wood so building up a nice clear coat took forever. I haven't worked with sealer so I can't vouch for it. I'd be afraid of sanding through the stain to the bare wood though. It can happen really easily, and it did in a few small spots. Make sure you have a lot of clear lacquer built up and go really slow with the sanding.

    For your guitar I would suggest staining the top black first, then sanding back like you said, then hitting it with the dark brown stain. Maybe need a few coats of the dark brown. I'm not sure if you will need the amber stain, bc some of the color of the maple with come through depending on how many coats of stain you do. Here is a good example of this technique.



    Also, I would add that most flame top guitars aren't stained, they are just painted with tinted nitro, so you could do that too if you have access to a spray system where you can create custom nitro colors. Otherwise stains are easy and you can pretty much do them anywhere.
     
    DrASATele likes this.

  10. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Looking at the pictures again that body seems to have a significant sheen on it. Is it pre-sealed? If so - with what?

    That could have a huge affect on having the grain "pop".
     

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