Mixing Tints in Nitro (question about the tint solution)

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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Hello,

I am preparing to spray a raw unfinished Allparts neck. I have been dialing in my color mixture by using several different color varieties of TransTint and ColorTone liquid dyes in a small jar of denatured alcohol. Now that I have my color mixture finalized, I just realized this may or may not have been a good choice to use alcohol in the mixture. Is it safe to pour this mixture of tint AND denatured alcohol into my nitro lacquer? Or should I have mixed up these tint concoctions in lacquer thinner/reducer instead?
 

Freeman Keller

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I mix Colortone dyes with DNA to make my stains and I mix it directly into lacquer for tinted finishes. I wouldn't mix the two solvents. In fact I try to stay with the same brand thinner as my lacquer because I know that some manufacturers put different chemicals into their thinner to change its characteristics. You might be fine but why risk it.

ps - welcome
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I do have the same brand of thinner/reducer but didn't think to use that for my color trials...only DNA. Guess I'll go back and start over. LOL Thanks for the insight.
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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I have mixed DA tinted dye into nitro regardless of the dye used. Some years ago I just started mixing it straight into lacquer thinner with a out 20% or less nitro in it.

The issue I find with lacquer thinner is not brand but using a good quality. Finish grade verses cleaning grade.

Ok, I planned on using Mowhawk "Classic Instrument Lacquer" and also Mohawk Lacquer Reducer 2255. What mix ratio would you recommend? I watched a video this morning from Jewitt Guitars showing a clear mixture of 1 part lacquer, 2 parts thinner, then he dropped his ColorTone dye into that mixture to spray.
 

Jim_in_PA

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I can't comment on the lacquer to reducer ratio, but Jeff is one of the world's most foremost finishing expert (his other business beside the luthiery), so if that's what he's using it is likely spot on. For the coloration, work your way up to the shade you want...you can always go darker, but you really can't go the other way. While I use waterborne finishes, it's the same process..I add the dye a tiny bit at a time and spray it to see if it works. A little lighter is just ok because you can spray multiple coats to fine tune the hue.
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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I can't comment on the lacquer to reducer ratio, but Jeff is one of the world's most foremost finishing expert (his other business beside the luthiery), so if that's what he's using it is likely spot on. For the coloration, work your way up to the shade you want...you can always go darker, but you really can't go the other way. While I use waterborne finishes, it's the same process..I add the dye a tiny bit at a time and spray it to see if it works. A little lighter is just ok because you can spray multiple coats to fine tune the hue.

Great advice, thank you. This is the video I was referring to as well:

 

Boreas

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You could consider staining the neck with what you have mixed up, then mix something close in thinner to use with the finish lacquer to give it some depth. But as always, test on junk wood first.
 

Freeman Keller

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Navy, you will get very different results applying a colored stain directly to your wood and applying a tinted finish over the top. Gibson's classic sunbursts from the Lloyd Loar era were done with hand applied stains - this can give some dramatic effects with the way the wood absorbs the stain. James Condino uses this technique on his mandolins.

Using tinted finish is a much more modern and forgiving approach - you can make the finish as opaque as you want it. You can fade one color into another with your gun - many modern bursts are done this way.

Lastly, you can mix the techniques. Use some stain to enhance grain and spray tinted finish over the top to color it as you like. Paul Reed Smith's finishers are masters at this.

I'm just concerned about mixing the various solvents with your original question.
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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Yes, I follow what you are saying. I think it would be interesting to see the results from the staining method, but I am starting to feel like this is going to open up a potential for big problems. The scrap maple that I am practicing on has turned blotchy in a few areas and I'm not sure if I want to take that risk on the actual neck...granted the wood on the actual neck has a much more consistent grain pattern than my scrap samples. Plus, now I'm convinced not to use my current stains due to the various solvents as we spoke about.

So, if I mixed up a new batch of tinted and thinned lacquer, I wonder if it could be rubbed on over the initial seal coat/sanding sealer coat as opposed to spraying? Of course I would follow it up with a few coats of clear top coat from the gun.
 

stratisfied

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Maple is difficult to stain. If you apply the stain directly to the wood, you will get a blotchy finish. Even pre-stain conditioners that claim to control stain penetration have limited effect on maple.

I spray my project necks with tinted lacquers and always apply a clear sealer coat to eliminate the possibility of the dye in the lacquer soaking into the wood. I never apply my stain directly to the wood when working with maple.

There are finishers that stain first and the apply tinted lacquer topcoats for more dramatic effect. The tinted topcoats tend to mask or even out the blotchy results of the staining.

Here are some particularly hideous walnut over maple finishes by Gibson done this way. Gibson has never been able to turn out a decent walnut finish on a maple guitar.

lg_93d767a2fc186fd1c7feea69e62ad998.jpg

R.5eb3e1010da1d33f75b88b6d59e3b6d1

s-l1600.jpg
 
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Boreas

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Yes, I follow what you are saying. I think it would be interesting to see the results from the staining method, but I am starting to feel like this is going to open up a potential for big problems. The scrap maple that I am practicing on has turned blotchy in a few areas and I'm not sure if I want to take that risk on the actual neck...granted the wood on the actual neck has a much more consistent grain pattern than my scrap samples. Plus, now I'm convinced not to use my current stains due to the various solvents as we spoke about.

So, if I mixed up a new batch of tinted and thinned lacquer, I wonder if it could be rubbed on over the initial seal coat/sanding sealer coat as opposed to spraying? Of course I would follow it up with a few coats of clear top coat from the gun.

If you have already sealed the wood well, it is unlikely to take up stain or much of anything - that is why you seal it. I would spray away with tinted lacquer, then switch over to clear once your desired color/tint is reached - following manufacturer's recommendations for the finish you are applying.
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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If you have already sealed the wood well, it is unlikely to take up stain or much of anything - that is why you seal it. I would spray away with tinted lacquer, then switch over to clear once your desired color/tint is reached - following manufacturer's recommendations for the finish you are applying.

Yeah, that's the way I plan to approach this..now. :)
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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Best luck - Keep us posted!

Yes, I will definitely keep this thread updated. I appreciate everyone's responses so far! Please keep them coming! ;)

Here is my latest progress. Last night I sprayed a few more sample boards of maple with Deft Lacquer Sanding Sealer. You can see my scrap pile of previous color attempts in the background. Some were "stains" mixed with DA and wiped on raw maple, and a few of them were tinted lacquers sprayed with HLVP gun. Anyway...it's been a long process. I just want to make sure I get it right before moving ahead on the neck. I've purchased 5-6 different bottles of ColorTone and Transtint dyes to find a certain color range.

1shsG3g.jpg


My actual neck:

OSuxjJP.jpg


dKIaL5e.jpg


The goal would be something like this:

p172H8F.jpg
 

DrASATele

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I would probably try spraying the stain dna mixture and then topping it with clear or tinted (if the color is off) lacquer. I say spray as I have found for myself that this is sometimes easier than wiping and getting "brush strokes" if your not use to staining by hand.
 

eallen

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Ok, I planned on using Mowhawk "Classic Instrument Lacquer" and also Mohawk Lacquer Reducer 2255. What mix ratio would you recommend? I watched a video this morning from Jewitt Guitars showing a clear mixture of 1 part lacquer, 2 parts thinner, then he dropped his ColorTone dye into that mixture to spray.

I don't know that a specific ratio is essential. I just put enough nitro in to give it some body to stick without running off like water but not so much that it doesn't dry quickly. I lean towards a little thinner with 1 part nitro to 3-4 parts thinner, & dye to desired tint.
 

NavyCoffeeDrinker

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I don't know that a specific ratio is essential. I just put enough nitro in to give it some body to stick without running off like water but not so much that it doesn't dry quickly. I lean towards a little thinner with 1 part nitro to 3-4 parts thinner, & dye to desired tint.

Excellent advice, thank you!
 

Freeman Keller

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I'm far from being very experienced at this but most of the time I thin lacquer slightly - I would say 1 part thinner to 4 or 5 parts lacquer. The last coat is the "flow coat" and is mostly thinner - maybe 8 or 10 to one. Like Eric, I add dye to the lacquer to get the color I want but keep it transparent enough to see the wood thru the finish. I'll shoot 6 or so coats of colored lacquer and then maybe 6 more of clear on top of that. I try to make sure the temp is above 65F and the humdity is well below 65%.

One more thing to remember about your neck is that lacquer will turn amber with age and that can be very hard to duplicate with new finish.
 




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