How can I bring out this grain pattern?

cowie86

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Hi all

This is the first time I've tried finishing a body so I'm hoping someone will be able to share some advice/knowledge.

I have an ash body which I'd like to have a kind of trans white finish which really shows off the grain pattern. I've tried staining the wood with white stain and it looks okay but the grain doesn't really "pop".

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Am I right in thinking the strain will have to be stripped, the grain filled with grain filler, that cleared off, and then the surface stained again in white? Or is there a quicker way?

Thank you in advance for any help :)
 
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cowie86

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I'm not looking for a really contrasting "black grain on white wood" finish, just something that will make the grain patterns a bit more obvious
 

cowie86

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My process is to sand then stain with black dye. Then sand again till you like the look. The dye will stay in the grain. Next is to apply the trans white finish. Then clear coat to protect.
Thanks for this. I thought that might be the case. Starting with what I have at the minute, am I going to have to remove this white stain before I do the "black and then sand" part? Or do you think I could just put the black stain over this existing white and follow your steps from there? Thanks again for your help
 

ghostchord

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I'm not looking for a really contrasting "black grain on white wood" finish, just something that will make the grain patterns a bit more obvious

What product did you use for the white?

Isn't the whole idea of "popping" the grain about contrast? It's either contrast or texture. Texture is about whether you fill the pores, and how much. Stains help create contrast.

I really liked the results I got with water/alcohol based stains on ash followed by grain fill and clear. I used black. Sanded back, and then applied blue over that. Then grain filling. Got a very 3-dimensional result.

Also when you put clear over whatever you got it will look different. You can try very lightly wetting the surface or using something like naphta to see what that would look like.
 

bender66

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The stain wont penetrate into the grain through that white. You'll need to sand that back. The stain should be first, followed by whatever route you choose. I'm just repeating falstaff's comment.

Look through finely finished or search engine. Plenty of images & vids.

I like that look of dark grain under minimal white wash. Im thinking that for a Snakehead here.

Also, it doesn't have to be black. Any dark stain will do. Walnut, espresso, etc.
 

cowie86

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What product did you use for the white?


...

Also when you put clear over whatever you got it will look different. You can try very lightly wetting the surface or using something like naphta to see what that would look like.

Thanks for the reply. I just used this basic water based dye.



I think I'll try your idea with the wetting before I start stripping stuff off. Thanks for adding to the advice!
 

effzee

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My process is to sand then stain with black dye. Then sand again till you like the look. The dye will stay in the grain. Next is to apply the trans white finish. Then clear coat to protect.

Id be interested in seeing that. Could you post a pic and mention the products you use? Thanks!
 

Freeman Keller

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The cardinal rule about any unknown finishing operation is to experiment on a piece of the same wood as your guitar. Get that dialed, then do the real thing.
 

old wrench

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Thanks for this. I thought that might be the case. Starting with what I have at the minute, am I going to have to remove this white stain before I do the "black and then sand" part? Or do you think I could just put the black stain over this existing white and follow your steps from there? Thanks again for your help



Looking at the enlarged view of your picture, it's easy to see that the grain is still wide open.

I think I'd just give the existing finish a good cleaning with naptha or a similar solvent and then apply grain filler right over what you have on there now.

It looks like if you try to remove all of that stain by sanding, you'll be sanding for quite awhile.

A darkly tinted grain filler will definitely accent and bring out that grain :).

Of course, after applying sufficient grain filler, you'll still need to flat sand and re-apply your stain.

I see you are using a stain called "white ash", I've not seen that color here in the States.

Looks like a good looking color :).


.
 

Jim622

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I used pure tunge oil, that brought out the grain well in my build then wipe on poly.
 

Sparky2

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Have you tried talking to it?

Many rough guitar bodies are indeed withdrawn, and introverted.
And after all they have been thru lately, it's no wonder.

I'm no Sigmund Freud, but I'm pretty sure that if you talk to it, you can coax it into coming out of its shell.

:oops:



Psychiatric counseling at McGill University, Montréal (Québec).jpg
 

Drak

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That's a really nice color you have so far.
So, you're not trying to enhance the figuring of the wood, because there is none.
You're trying to enhance the Grain, not the Figure, and those are two separate and different paths.

So, from where I sit this would be the way forward:
You do not have to sand anything back or off, it's fine just how it sits beyond a very light sand, prepping for pore-filler.

The next step would be to apply a thin clearcoat to 'protect' your white from what's coming next.
Like a clear lacquer aerosol (or whatever you're using) 1, maybe 2 coats max.

After a clearcoat is applied and dried, then you would use a pore-filling product like Timbermate.
The color you choose is up to you, most would use black for this, maybe a dark gray.
Then scrape, sand, or wipe the remainder pore filler off until its only in the pores.
In other words, clean it up, clean up your pore-filler stage.

At this point, it will look very stark white/black.

Then you would use a trans-white aerosol product to overspray it to the level of white opacity you want.
You spray just a little, you still have a lot of black showing.
The more white you spray, the more it covers over the black.
Until you have reached whatever point of opacity you want.

That's how you get the effect you're looking for, by using a pore-filler to fill the pores and give you contrast.
THEN overspraying that with a transparent white aerosol product until the level of opacity you want is achieved.
Then clearcoats until you're done.

If this is your first time, I would recommend grabbing a practice piece to practice on.
Do all steps on the practice piece first before commencing to attack the actual guitar.
 

schmee

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I'd probably wipe on stain to fill the more porous grain areas with whatever brown or darker color you want, then wipe off fast which should leave the dark in the grain. Usually the grain will retain the stain.
 

tvvoodoo

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wipe side to side rather than long for grain filler. It's a simple idea, but i took me a few to figure it out. You are on your way to a TV style/limed finish. Light clear, grain fill, semi trans or real light feather coat on top of that.
 




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