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So much confusion for someone new!

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Rob L, May 26, 2020.

  1. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    Before I start I'd like to say my confusion has not been caused but the folks here. They gave me honest opinions. Some helped some didn't. That's the nature of things. My confusion stems from the web itself and I'm sure is the reason I'm having so many issues and had to trash one body already and may lose another.

    I've never used stain/dye/ink before. So like many I hit the web to try and learn. All that did was confuse me more!
    I hit youtube, searched out sites and everyone seems to say something different.
    Sanding sealer..when to use it. When not to use it. How to use.

    Sanding sealer: Oh hi Mr. Guitar building guy use it before you stain! NO, use it after you stain! No that's wrong only use it for bare wood that isn't getting stain. One person says one thing, one site says another. One pro company says this yet another says that. Oh if you use sanding sealer stain won't take to the body. No that guy's wrong of course it will take to the body. No both are wrong. And don't forget to dry sand. NO! it's wet sand.

    Pre-conditioner: Hi again Mr guitar builder guy! Use it on raw wood so stain won't be blotchy. No No No use it with sanding sealer. No they are both wrong you don't need either just sand and stain! And don't forget to dry sand. NO! it's wet sand.

    Oil-vs-water: Back again I see Mr guitar builder. You're just a glutton for punishment aren't you!? Of course you can mix the two. No he's wrong use one or the other. No they are both wrong. Your stain/dye/ink will act as a finish. Just slap some car wax on it. And don't forget to dry sand. NO! it's wet sand.

    I posted this cause I'm just so confused now when it comes to stain/dyes/ink. I can't seem to get a straight answer anywhere. All the "professional" painters, and luthiers all seem to say something different. I love the look of stain but flat out painting the guitar seems to be easier for me. Sand it/primer it/sand it/paint it/sand it/gloss it/sand it/one last gloss.

    Sorry. I'm just so confused and have wasted so much money I should have just bought a used guitar.
     
  2. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf Tele-Holic

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  3. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it might depends on how you are going to finish it after staining, what wood it is and what you want the finish to be like.

    2 of my guitars are stained with waterbased wood stain and finished with tru oil. They are both Alder sanded to 320, no grain filler, no sealer or anything, several coats of tru oil applied with some super fine grit to start with.

    They don't look like a PRS top but they look how I wanted them to.
     
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  4. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    btw, I pretty much followed the 'crimson guitars' methods ... they have loads of staining and oil finish tutorials on youtube. the first one I did that was all I had to go on really, the second one came out a little nicer because I learned from my experience. ... which is probably why you get conflicting methods sometimes, everyone finds out what works for them to get the finish they want.
     
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  5. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    you may want to experiment for youself on a 2X12 or 2X10 cut to the approximate dimentions of a body ( by this I mean cut to 2X12X12 or 2X 10X10 ), to see how the stain may react with other chemicals and the veried results with the wood and grains, before you commit to the shaped body of course some body woods will react differently , use this as a learning tool not a rushed effort into unknown territory . do lots of research before you start to see how you want it to end up.
     
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  6. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  7. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    @Rob L This was my second and best effort. I can tell you exactly what I used and what I did to get this result on my kitchen table.... but I can't claim it's the best way or even the right way. :D

    IMG_20200526_171144.jpg


    IMG_20200526_171156.jpg
     
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  8. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    I have tried that but all I had was a nice piece of pine. The body wasn't a nice piece. The "scrap came out pretty cool. Gloss but not too gloss. I had used sanding sealer, stain then gloss poly all water based. When I got to the guitar it was a disaster. It blotched, it looked like little bubbles had popped all over the body then as it was drying the poly start to peel.
    I tried to save the body but the stain just wouldn't fully sand off and I sanded so much it ruined the contour of the body. In the trash it went.

    My current guitar is working a lot better though the green still is as even as I want but it has 6 coats of water based on it. This body is white Popular. A Luthier said..I swear by this method...pre-stain conditioner (water based) then the black stain I want to use ( also water based). The gloss top coat I have is also water based. All three products are from General Finishes. This is the back has already been spray with sanding sealer. And I haven't bee able to find an answer to...can the pre-conditioner be applied over the sealer or do I have to sand the sealer off to the raw wood again.
     
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  9. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    I always appreciate the advice you give me Jim. I didn't even know this part of the forum existed. There's a ton of posts etc and I have a hard time finding the right one.
     
  10. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    That's really pretty. Very even color. I would want just tiny bit more gloss. My problem is my current body is half done. The top just needs some very fine sanding then start the top coat. It's the bottom. I have pre-stain conditioner but can it be applied over sanding sealer.

    I saw the directions for a name company that said sanding sealer is only for raw wood that isn't going to be stained/dyed/etc. Well the back of my new body is sealed with cause I was told White Popular needs to be sealed.
    Hence my confusion. A dozen different answers to one single question and not knowing which answer to go with. I've already lost one body.
     
  11. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    yeah the colour was the easy bit to be honest... like I said before I just sanded with 320 grit until smooth, wetted it a little to raise the grain and sanded again... I might have done that twice, then I just used water based 'multi purpose' wood stain I bought off ebay, applied with an old cut up t-shirt (used 'workshop paper towel' the first time, but I thought cotton cloth was better) when the first coat was dry (that didn't take long) I did another coat the same and called that it. The first time I did it I used a lot more stain but after a couple of coats it just seems to sit on top and get a bit dark and uneven in places. I certainly could have got it more glossy (this isn't buffed or polished in any way) but I wanted it to look like the faded Les Pauls, the satin Gordan Smith's and more that type of finish. I've seen videos where people get a very shiny finish with the same product.

    I don't know because I've never used any kind of sealer, but I presume the point of sealer is to 'seal' the wood, which I would guess could be detrimental to how the wood takes the stain/dye.
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    One of the best things you can to with any advice you are given (including by me) is to try it on your own piece of wood with the materials you decide to use. In fact, you should do that any time you start a finishing project that is even slightly different from what you have been doing for a long time. Each time I build a guitar I keep every reasonable sized cutoff for experimenting.

    I do a lot of staining and can tell (and show) you what I do and the products that I use, but there are a couple of people here that swear you have to do the exact opposite. I took their advice to heart, got out a nice scrap of some wood that I was using and tried their approach. I varied it - two different solvents, two different sealants, and compared to the method that I have been using for years. FOR ME, their method failed dramatically, in fact I use a variation on it to keep stains from penetrating wood that want to keep pristine.

    The other really confusing part of all of this is that there are a lot of new products and methods that are applied much differently than traditional finishes (lacquer, shellacs, varnishes). I tend to the traditional - I've tried a couple of modern finishes and not been happy with them. I have also experimented with both staining the wood (which is how Gibson did the old 'bursts from the Loar era) and tinting the finish (which is how Fender and most modern builders do it). Again, I've figured out what works for me so thats what I use.

    If you truly are interested I will show you some of my guitars and talk you thru my schedule. But I can promise that as soon as I post that someone will tell you how wrong it is.
     
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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    How about showing us your body and telling us what you are trying to achieve. "Staining" covers a lot of ground.
     
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  14. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    My entire confusion is what to do to the back of this guitar now.
    I have water based black stain and water based pre-stain conditioner. Thing is the back has already been sealed with sanding sealer cause several people said the grain on popular needs to be sealed.
    NOW, several others have said...no no use pre-stain conditioner. There seems to be no place where you get the same answer twice and since this is only the second time I'v tried stain/dye/ink I had no idea who to believe. Like I said, my pine body was trashed. I don't wanna ruin this one.
    Right now the front is okay. Not exactly as I wanted it but I can live with it. I only need to put a top coat on. Then again, do I sand the top before the first top coat? Do I sand in between top coats? Do I not sand at all?

    Here's the front and back. As I said the front is ready for top coat. The front was also sealed and I'm okay with it. Not what I really wanted though.
    You can see the top is like 3 shades of green. Again I can live with it cause I'm not sanding this thing down and starting over again.
    The back is sealed. I'm wondering if I should sand it off and use the pre-stain conditioner. Oh with the back, I tried to stain it Ebony (Last picture) and it was a disaster. So I got pure black instead.


    IMG_0249.jpg IMG_0251.jpg IMG_0228.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  15. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    I do know this is the last guitar I'm going. When I had my shop and all my tools it was easy and fun. I made my own bodies. Did all the routeing. Had a small spray booth set up. It was fun.
    This hasn't been fun at all. I do wanna make a CBG in the future. But no more guitars. No shop, no decent tools. I work outside on a small rolling cart.
     
  16. OldDude2

    OldDude2 Tele-Afflicted

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    Rob,

    First - Stop being so hard on yourself.
    Second - It looks like you're doing a great job trying under harsh conditions. Mother nature does strange things outside? Heat, humidity, bugs...etc

    I have failed more than once on outside projects, but my biggest one involved a Pinewood Derby car for my son. The lacquer never dried and the car stuck to the track upon ready set go:oops: 15 years doesn't heal that one.

    There are a lot of guys here going to offer suggestions take one and run with it, but have fun life is short.

    The OD2
     
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  17. jhiatt1

    jhiatt1 Tele-Meister

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    Here is my build.

    I stained the body. Aged it by hand. Painted the top. Distressed it. Then 4 coats of tung oil. Each coat was wet sanded and the final coad dry sanded to take away some of the shine and give it that old used look.
     

    Attached Files:

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  18. jhiatt1

    jhiatt1 Tele-Meister

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    I used a dark Mahagony stain.
     
  19. jhiatt1

    jhiatt1 Tele-Meister

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    I am very happy with my results.
     
  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    OK, those are really not the effects I try to get with my stains and finishes so its best that I say nothing, l have stripped guitars that I wasn't happy with something about the finish, but with stains that becomes very difficult. The fact that you have several different things on the body already makes it hard to chart a path forward.

    Don't give up on guitar building but remember the cardinal rule of finishing - practice on scrap.
     
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