how to get this natural mahogany finish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Dimitree, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Dimitree

    Dimitree TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    Posts:
    54
    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Location:
    Italy
    I built an Explorer replica out of honduras mahogany,
    I'd like to have it finished like the '76 Gibson limited edition on those pics.
    I'm almost sure that this wood was not stained, but I'd like to get some opinions since I'm not that expert.
    My wood looks very similar to this pics when I wet it with water, but for sure is less golden/orangish/reddish than the one in these pictures.
    One thing I noticed is that the pores are yellow, so either they are filled with nitro (that aged) or the grain filler was tinted.
    Probably those yellow pores are the reason the overall tint looks a bit different compared to natural mahogany. Or probably some stain were used too?
    What do you think?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,413
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Grain filled mahogany. Other woods like Ash are open pore too, so you can find local woods rather than rain forest materials. White oak is closed pored and why that gets used for wine and whiskey barrels instead of its related Red oak that has open pores that would drain out all the wine or whiskey before bottling time.

    Pore filling allows the final finish to be mirror smooth. Otherwise the finish sinks into the pores and leaves a grain feel to the guitar.

    Some finishers have used regular hardware store drywall scraped on the surface to fill pores and sanded back.

    Otherwise get a version or two of Timbermate in lighter colors and use that as the directions say. It's basically very finely powdered wood with stain in a water carrier.

    If you were going for a color matching grain fill ... one process can be wet sanding with say shellac or wipe on poly. The wood sanded off becomes a slurry that fills the pores. Let dry, sand level, finish with top coats.

    Always test your process on scrap wood first.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    drewcp likes this.
  3. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,700
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Jvin is on target. Also realize pieces of mahogany can vary in tint from piece to piece and can require a bit of shading to get an exact desired color.

    Eric
     
    drewcp likes this.
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    71,401
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Yellow grain filler.
     
  5. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,318
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Bristol UK
    Could it be that the aged clear coat contributes as well?
     
    Vibrolux59 and drewcp like this.
  6. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    373
    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Location:
    PNW
    Gibson finishes are almost entirely tinting in the lacquer. Staining the wood is not a common practice in professionally built guitars or high-end furnishing. Most woods will not take color evenly, some in fact like Maple, Alder, and Pine will become blotchy and look like crap. Often a finish that is referred to as "natural" has a slight amber tint added to it just to give it some warmth and to even the overall look.

    So I would use light grain filler and slightly tinted lacquer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    drewcp likes this.
  7. Dimitree

    Dimitree TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    Posts:
    54
    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Location:
    Italy
    thank you,
    I just bought some neutral color grain filler from Stewmac,
    I'm going to buy some yellow pigment to tint the filler, or probably I can use the "vintage amber" ColorTone stain that I already have?

    also, in case I'd need to darken the color of the wood using ColorTone stain, should I use it before or after the grain filler?
     
  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,131
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, NY
    Since you don't want the dye to affect the pore filler, I would apply the dye stain first, then a light coat or two of sealer, then when that's smoothed out it should be easier to apply the grain filler. The problem I usually run into is when trying to sand back the grain filler, it's very possible to burn through the dyed color and you have to touch it up again.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    2,616
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    It seems like you have two things going on here that will interact. You want to stain the wood to change its color, you said darker. You also want to fill the pores with a specific color, lighter and more yellow than the actual wood. I haven't done exactly this but I have stained and pore filled a lot of mahogany.

    I would first do the staining and get the basic wood color that you want. Stains are absorbed into the wood (unless you seal first which I don't do) so you will have some latitude for a little light sanding. I would then do the pore filling with the idea that you will sand back to level, leaving only the yellowish filler in the pores - getting it all off the surface.

    I have used brown tinted paste pore filler and done exactly that, scrape the filler into the pores and try to get it all off the surface. Sand back, maybe do it a couple of times.

    This is a very good case of practicing everything on scrap of the same wood until you are totally satisfied
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.