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Keeping stain out...

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Lostininverness, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Lostininverness

    Lostininverness Tele-Meister

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    Hi team,

    I'm going around in circles to come up with a good way to achieve a finish. So I'm making a body for a guy and its got a local white pine center piece with wings of black walnut. He wants to maintain/increase the colour contrast so I'm staining the walnut even darker. He is also wanting to maintain a natural wood look, so no grain filling, and a satin non-"flat glass" lacquer look.

    So I have a couple of issues that I'd like some advice on.

    1. To prevent colour bleed onto the center piece from the walnut is it best to use a sanding sealer over that section to help the masking tape? Then any bleed can be scraped away?

    2. To get the "natural" look, I was originally thinking about some sort of oiled finish (tung, Danish etc), but that will cause the center piece to go amber losing the colour contrast. So I was thinking about using minwax polycrylic urethane which is supposed to be "crystal" clear. I live in New Zealand, so our range of products are limited as compared to the US.

    3. If I used the polycrylic which is water based, can I use it over some solvent based stain that I have which is the right colour, or shall I mix up some stewmac colortone stains in water to use?

    I was going to avoid using sanding sealing over the walnut to get a (hopefully) better grain enhancement. This is on the assumption that walnut will take the stain without going blotchy.

    So I'm fully intending to do some scrap practice, but want to know whether the polycrylic is worth shelling out for first!

    All advice is greatly appreciated, oh and here's a pic of a mock up of the body before doing the forearm/tummy/neck relief carves (sorry - non-tele content). The design was done by the guy I'm building it for, and it has grown on me especially with the carves! 2.jpg
     
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  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting guitar. A couple of comments.

    First, of course, any thing you are going to do practice on scrap. Glue up some pieces and work with them until you get the process and products totally nailed before you touch the guitar. Stains are unforgiving and once the wood absorbs some it is almost impossible to get it out.

    Second, are you even sure you need to stain the walnut? Most woods will go much darker under solvents - try wiping the walnut with naphtha or denatured alcohol - that will be pretty close to most clear finishes.

    I frequently stain guitars that have light colored (usually maple) accents - purfling lines and such. I use the same trick that PRS does for their faux binding - I coat the light wood with vinyl lacquer sealer (since I use nothing but lacquer) which I paint on with an artist paint brush. I then mask over that with 1/4 inch pin striping tape (auto parts store). If I am very careful I can pull the tape and scrape to the line with a box cutter blade. But I will add that it is almost impossible to prevent some bleed thru.

    It is too late for this, but another trick I have used is to stain the wood before adding the light accents. In my case that means preparing binding and purfling channels but not installing the binding. Do the stain, then glue the light wood in place. Its a little tricky to do future sanding without disturbing the stained wood and like I said, its too late now.

    Last but not least, seal the whole guitar, mask to the line and add a little bit of color to your finish. You won't actually be staining the wood but rather tinting the finish. You would end up finishing in two parts - the walnut and the pine, and then putting clear over both.

    I have experiment with Colortone stains in both water and DNA and I prefer alcohol. Some people choose the solvent based on what they are going to put over it and how they are applying. Since I have no experience with your products I can't comment.

    ps - there have been several walnut guitars lately at the DIY subforum - you might check them out to see what finishes they have used
     
    Lostininverness likes this.
  3. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum TDPRI Member

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    I don’t know the answer to this, but would ebonizing the walnut slightly affect the pine as well?
     
    Lostininverness likes this.
  4. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi Lostin,
    I think you're right on all three
    1. definitely seal the pine first, I would give it at least two coats of sealer (pine is very absorbant) and sand to get a smooth, pore-free surface to tape to. If you get any bleed under the tape, you'll be scraping the color off the sealer, not the pine. Mask the walnut before you do this so it takes the stain evenly.
    2. yes the water base poly will be the least yellowing of all choices.
    3. yes I think it should bond to wood that's been colored with a solvent base stain as long as the stain is thoroughly dry. Read the can of the poly first, and to be double safe, try it on a piece of scrap first.

    Very nice job on the design, can't wait to see it finished!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
    Lostininverness likes this.
  5. Lostininverness

    Lostininverness Tele-Meister

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    Hi Freeman,

    Firstly, thanks for all the wisdom that you freely impart in posts in the various forums, I especially liked the set up thread that you did!

    I've so far done a few trials with masking off, and it seems to go OK, even some done sloppily enough to see how hard it would be to clean up the edges. And I need to do some more trials with the final products, so hopefully, will be ok by the time I do the real thing.

    I did consider staining before gluing up as well, but figured that there would be too much work done - even just in the finish sanding - which would remove the stain and I'd need to redo it.

    The main thing that my "client" is after is to try and get the walnut closer to the colour of the fretboard, which is quite dark. I quite like the colour of the walnut, but its just too light as compared to the board.

    Will check out the other threads to see what I can find.

    Thanks for your response.
    Grant
     
  6. Lostininverness

    Lostininverness Tele-Meister

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    I guess it would bring the same risks as stain with bleeding under masking? Something I've not tried, but could consider. Is this something you've done - any tips/tricks???
     
  7. Lostininverness

    Lostininverness Tele-Meister

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    Thanks TP. Appreciate the validation, hopefully I'm on the right track then. I did some trials with sealing a section and then staining right next to it, and the sealer and masking seemed to work ok. There was very minimal bleed thru, and I could tidy that up with a bit of scraping.

    OK, will now commit to getting some polycrylic to do some trials! Will get the smallest amount possible!

    If it goes well, will post some results!!

    Cheers
    Grant
     
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