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Want this body to match ebony neck

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by coreytree, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions. A satin finished all black guitar is going to be boring. You have some very interesting grain and stains can be used very effectively to highlight grain. As I said in an earlier post, you are going to have a lot of difficulty with end grain absorbing a lot of stain and going very dark, which means the sides and the belly cut and particularly the area around the heel is just going to suck the stuff up and go really black.

    My humble suggestion would be to mix up some stains in various concentrations and experiment on scrap ash. You might try adding a hint of redish brown to bring out the warm tone of your neck. Remember that once you start on your body you are committed.

    Good luck, I think this could be a pretty cool guitar.
     
    coreytree likes this.
  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Send it to a professional. :lol:

    Seriously - I suggest sending pics of the fretboard from a different email address and asking Warmouth what wood they think it is - because although ebony CAN be a similar color, 1) Warmouth, WD and USA Custom rarely sell any necks with ebony that color, it often having been pre-dyed prior to fabrication, and 2) ebony only rarely shows that many open areas in the grain.

    That's if you want to match "ebony". There's a dichotomy here between what you'd asking for and what your pictures reflect.

    If, however, you want to match what is shown in the pictures - ebony or not (and 50 years of experience and the visual evidence tell me "not") -

    DO NOT USE BLACK ANYTHING! Whatever it is, that neck is dark brown in the pictures. Could bee the wood, could the the lighting, could be the camera, could be post-processing -0 but it looks brown, and black will look like a distinct *contrast*.

    ALL black coatings and stains (India ink more than most) have some small amount of blue in them. Pure lamp black tint is slightly blued. And that slight shading generally looks odd next to a dark brown - which has reddish tones. Black is also one of the MOST difficult colors to apply evenly. Flat is easier than gloss, but even flat black tends to show every small defect in the wood at certain angles. This is part of the reason Fender did not use black in their original sunburst finishes - the outer "black" edge is actually a very dark brown.

    If you want a flat finish with the grain showing you have two most practical choices at your experience level -

    1) after preparation apply a solvent based sanding sealer. NOT a thinner finish - they don't have the correct "sealer" components to allow the following to work.

    2. After sanding the sealer and cleaning the surface, apply dark brown stain or dye. Any areas that start to go TOO dark/uneven you wipe with a solvent-dampened rag. The sanding sealer allows you to "pull" pigment out of the grain - without sealer this does not work and it will end up blotchy.

    3. An option - if you want the grain to show but want a smooth surface, apply paste wood filler tinted the darkest brown you can manage (it can be tinted with universal tinting colors - the best ay - or dye, or even a compatible stain. If you REALLY want the grain to "pop" tint the gain filler black or buy a premixed black filler. This will NOT mess up the overall color - just enhance the grain, and is how the dark grain is normally enhanced. It has to be thinned with a compatible thinner - the first fill thinner and rubbed in before using a rubber or plastic scraper/spreader at a 45-degree angle to the grain. The second fill is a bit thicker and scraped at the opposite direction, which fills all the last pores.

    This is a VERY fast process! Then sand it smooth, clean, and apply one more coat of sanding sealer.

    4. Either after the first sealer coat - which will leave the pores open - or the filler/sealer, apply some kind of matte/flat finish coat of your choice.

    The entire process should be practiced on scrap wood with slightly similar grain until all procedures are refined and perfected. Dye (or stain) and filler work are NOT good things to learn on your guitar body!

    Please note that I'm leaving out about 80% of the procedural details. That's because they will depend on the specific products selected.manufacturer's recommendations, temperature, humidity, application conditions (ventilation, odor control etc) - and safety gear varies by product(s).

    Whatever you select do a LOT of reading before buying anything, and again - practice, practice, practice. Be patient and get it right *before* touching the real thing!

    Good luck!
     
    coreytree likes this.
  3. Mat UK

    Mat UK Tele-Afflicted

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    Hey Corey.

    What your planning sounds not too dissimilar to my last guitar. I wanted an all black sillouette so I paired up an ebony fretboard and ebony headstock veneer with a blackened poplar body.

    The poplar I used was nothing to shout about but I didn’t have the patience to spray a solid colour

    01742C11-D57A-4E07-88A1-D1A434C39762.jpeg

    I began with an ebony Liberon spirit dye

    97C6A4D9-664F-464B-940F-B58611F0CE3C.jpeg

    Then moved on to an Shellac based Indian ink - I figured the shellac element would double up as a sealer

    3814D996-0D94-41A8-87C7-13C2A2293AF5.jpeg

    This gave a nice deep uniform black. I tested both finishes individually - but the deepest black came from the combo.

    The original plan was to nitro lacquer a couple of thin coats... but because it was winter and I was impatient I went for 3 coats of tru oil then I rubbed out a satin sheen... I was never really that happy, but it came up well in the final pics.

    044B73E4-41CE-49FC-8F1B-98EC824BEB07.jpeg

    3A267A38-434A-454A-AEF9-566AF1810744.jpeg

    E427394E-7FE4-4B0E-B347-3ED25692A7BF.jpeg

    That ash body has lovely grain... think twice about covering it up :)
     
    coreytree and TELE_BLUES like this.
  4. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Mat, I really like how this one turned out. I followed it in your build thread at the time too. I've been experimenting with a winter-friendly black finish like India ink (or milk paint) for a pine body & poplar top tele, and I think i'll try the stain combo as well.

    My question is whether you did anything to treat the small knots above the pickup cavity in your poplar body - I don't see them in the final photos. I have some similarly small knots in the pine I'm working with. They show a little under a coat of India ink, but if they disappear into the finish like yours that's encouraging.
     
    Mat UK likes this.
  5. rcboals

    rcboals Tele-Meister

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    This finish would not be that difficult to do with that Swamp Ash. Look up Dog Hair finish and also Cerused wood finish. I am doing number three now in doghair mahogany the swamp ash would be so much easier. Link for swamp ash tele look,
    https://asher-guitars-lap-steels-st...asher-2013-t-deluxe-guitar-dog-hair-nitro-767

    Pic of my number 2 in mahogany.
     

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  6. Mat UK

    Mat UK Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks - that was a year ago now, I’ve barely done anything since!

    From memory all I did was fill the knots with wood filler...there wasn’t much to it to be honest, the dye and ink combo did a good job of covering any colour variation in the wood. I think I’d use epoxy to fill the knots if I were to do that body again.
     
    RiversQC likes this.
  7. TELE_BLUES

    TELE_BLUES Tele-Afflicted

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    MAT ,thanks that's the finish I was looking for on this tele/lp IMG_4038.JPG
     
    Mat UK likes this.
  8. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Thank you all so much for the well thought out and detailed suggestions for me to look into. Looks like I’ll be visiting a local woodworking shop to get some pieces of ash and other supplies to begin testing different finish types to see how it works and what I might do.
     
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