Wolfgang finishing plans - Mahogany + maple

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by GoKart Mozart, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. GoKart Mozart

    GoKart Mozart Tele-Meister

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    0F629BBF-FECC-4547-AC70-449105950A76.jpeg 893B001B-E00E-46CC-BE7F-8E0A89CF8E4E.jpeg Hi all, I’ve done quite a bit of research and video watching on finishing but I’ve still got some questions on how to best proceed with this project. This is a Peavey Wolfgang body that I got last year from a factory clean out. Instead of the usual basswood + maple, it has a 1 piece mahogany body with a maple top. Here’s the thread in the Tele Home Depot documenting the regular progress:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/wolfgang-build-carvetop-assistance.919155/


    What I’m really wanting to end up with is a nice wipe-on finish that isn’t too thick or glossy.


    My plan right now is:

    1) Grain fill the back of the body and sides with timbermate

    2) Stain the top a dark brown and sand it back to accentuate the figure in the maple; maybe experiment with doing some yellow+light brown stain on the top afterward

    3) Do a final few coats of a homemade wipe-on poly (linseed oil+ poly mixture); my dad turns bowls on a lathe and he has a mixture of stuff that looks great on those. Either that or maybe just straight Tru Oil.

    I’m confused on whether or not I need to add any sanding sealer and at what step in the process? Also, I want to leave the edge of the maple unstained as a natural binding. Do I need to mask off the wood around it and coat the maple edge with something special?

    Appreciate any suggestions!
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I do not seal wood before I stain it. I'm told that is wrong.

    In fact, when I don't want stain to be absorbed by the wood, as in your faux binding, I purposely put shellac or vinyl sealer on those areas with a small brush. I would also mask them

    I do use dark and amber stains to pop the grain on maple. I never experiment on a guitar, particularly with stains. Use scraps (which of course you don't have, but find something similar)

    Can't comment on your home made finish - I only use lacquer. Once again, experiment on scrap.

    Here is a piece of flamed maple that I was experimenting with a couple of staining options. On the left if bare wood with an alcohol based stain wiped on, on the right the wood was sealed with vinyl sealer. The stain is simply sitting on top of the sealer (you might say the sealer sealed the wood, duh), On the edge I brushed on two coats of shellac and masked it, there is no stain on the wood and it gives me that faux binding look. I was purposely trying to make the stain darker on the out sides of the two pieces kind of like you might do on an actual guitar

    IMG_5551.JPG

    You'll here other opinions which is why you should take all of this with a grain and do your own experimenting with your own products.

    As far as your brown/yellow staining - this guitar got amber (directly to the wood)

    IMG_0739.JPG

    Sanded slightly back, then the ice tea 'burst was done with a tiny bit of brown in the lacquer

    IMG_0748.JPG

    Like yours the body is mahogany, I pore filled with a paste filler and shot the same brown tinted lacquer on the back as I was doing the top

    IMG_0753.JPG
     
  3. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Definately seal the edges where the faux binding is before any dying or stain. If I am doing a dye sand back as you plan I apply sealer to the back and sides. Then apply the color and sand back the top until desired color mix. Then the top is seal coated. Off comes the tape on the sides and I apply pinstripe tape over the faux binding before shading the back and side as desired.

    I will often spray a mist layer of lacquer or sealer over the pin stripe tape to avoid leaking. After coloring the back and sides on goes the clear coat.

    If I am not doing any sand back I coat the entire body with sealer before coloring or pore filling anything. Otherwise the same process.[​IMG]

    Eric
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Here is another maple cap with a little different approach to staining. I wiped on a coat of brown+amber stain, alcohol based, with more applied to the outer edges of the guitar. Use a little alcohol to make the color fade towards the center. The wood was NOT "sealed"

    IMG_4725.JPG

    Sealed with vinyl sealer and then clear lacquer

    IMG_4809.JPG

    The body is mahogany, I just pore filled with zpoxy and shot clear lacquer

    IMG_4810.JPG

    So, totally different approach than the LP in my last post, different results.
     
  5. GoKart Mozart

    GoKart Mozart Tele-Meister

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    @Freeman Keller, that iced tea burst looks fantastic!

    I was doing some reading on another forum and one guy mentioned that he sprays a vinyl sealer before he grain fills because he's run into issues with tinted filler soaking into the end grain. Anyone ever had that issue before?

    Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, and that is the argument that you will get here - some people want to "seal" the wood so the stain does not soak into it. It is difficult to control the end grain - it will want to absorb more, so I apply less and work with stain with a cloth with DA on it to somewhat pull it back. Its easier to put a little on, then darken it in the places that are not absorbing as much as to try to lighten areas that are too dark.

    The whole idea of the ice tea burst or for that matter, the fade on the tele is that the flame WILL absorb more. Think of flame like the waves of of the ocean that you slice thru the tops of - in between the figure the grain is more parallel to the surface and absorbs less stain, the flame lines are more like end grain and absorb more.

    Going back to that blue piece of wood - the right side has a coat of vinyl sealer, the left is bare wood. The stain on the left really pops the grain, on the right it doesn't. On the other side of the piece of wood I tried an little experiment with shellac. I was also comparing using alcohol as a solvent vs water (people use both for various reasons). Sanded the wood to 320, masked it off and applied a coat of shellac to the bottom half. Mixed the same concentration of dye with DNA and water, alcohol on the left. Wiped the stain on trying to make the outside edges darker as I would do with a fade on a guitar. Its not pretty and I'm certainly not putting a lot of effort into it

    IMG_5538.JPG

    IMG_5540.JPG

    IMG_5541.JPG



    IMG_5543.JPG

    What this tells me, and remember that your milage and results will vary a lot, is that I prefer alcohol as the solvent (which is good because it works better with the lacquer that I will finish with) and very simply, there is no way in hell that I would ever "seal" my wood. The stain simply sits on top.

    It was at that point I flipped the board over, sanded to 320, shot a coat of vinyl sealer, and tried it again. Knowing that the stain wasn't going to stick to shellac I put a thin line of it all around the edge and masked that off. That allowed me to experiment with the PRS faux binding idea on the same board. Here it is with DNA based stain, the left side is bare wood, the right is sealed.

    IMG_5549.JPG

    Once again, the sealer did what it was supposed to do, it kept the stain from staining the wood. Once again, it confirmed my decision.

    Don't take my word for it. If someone tells you to seal the wood ask for specifics, including pictures of how they do it and how it looks when they are done. I'm waiting to see that also.

    And last, but far from least, I sat in a clinic by James Condino where he demonstrated his method of hand applying stains on his beautiful mandolins. He uses water based staind (he FP's his instruments and the alcohol would pull back stain if he used alcohol for it) and most definitely DOES NOT seal the wood. The clinic was written up in American Lutherie, but you can get a good overview by running the video on his web page

    http://condino.com/skoolin/

    Its the upper vid on the right - I can't embed it.

    Bottom line, whatever you want to do, practice on exactly the same wood as your guitar with exactly the same materials. Satisfy yourself that it will do what you want. Don't take my word or anyone elses - but this does work for me.
     
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll show one more picture of staining bare wood. In this case I am trying to match a mahogany neck to a cocobolo body. Here is the unstained neck, a piece of the coco and a piece of mahogany that I'm experimenting to get the color matched

    IMG_4022.JPG

    The mahogany is a little darker than my neck but its what I had. Here is the stained neck with the body. You can definitely see that the end grain on the heel is darker than the straight grain of the neck

    IMG_4023.JPG

    Here it is with finish. Yeah, there is some difference with the end grain but it looks OK to me

    IMG_4378.JPG

    ps - there is no stain on the body, only the Zpoxy pore fill which I also used on the neck
     
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  8. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did the PRS think kind of, what I did was while I was still sanding the sides (right around 150/180 grit) I took water thin CA and painted that on the edge and forgot about it until I started shooting clear coats. After the first could coats of clear when I was sure the color was locked in. I took and made a razor blade scraper and scrapped the CA and Lacquer down to raw wood, then shoot lots of clear. It worked:
    IMG_7619.JPG

    After another 7 coats of clear the natural binding is not as white as it is here in the pic after the first of those clear coats.
     
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  9. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Dye will definately soak into end grain deeper than you can imagine!

    If I want to dye a top without getting any dye in the faux binding grain, I just tape off the top, spray sealer on the rest of the body I don't want dye on. Pull they tape off the top, tape off the side of the guitar & dye away. The dryer you put the dye on rather than slopping it on the less it will seep under the tape. Any that does seep under easily comes off with a scraper blade because it only in the sealer layer.

    Everyone has their method they preferred but many work. Try variations and find the one that works best for you.

    Eric
     
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  10. GoKart Mozart

    GoKart Mozart Tele-Meister

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    Hey gang,
    Thanks again for all of the suggestions. I put lots of pics of the finishing process in my main build thread, but here are a few pics of the top as it currently stands. Really pleased with the color. This was done with Angelus dyes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just have to decide on a final top coat for the body and top. I originally was going to use my Dad's preferred concoction for his wood turning projects of equal parts Shellac/Boiled linseed oil/denatured alcohol. Then I decided just to go with Tru Oil, which I've worked with several times before. Then I thought I'd just do several coats of satin wipe-on polyurethane for ease/durability and to keep the color on the top from changing further since Tru Oil and BLO has that amber hue to it. Still haven't made up my mind on that yet.
     
  11. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Great work! Gonna be gorgeous!

    Eric
     
  12. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    Might want to check out the video from Highline guitars on You Tube. He did a wipe on finish using Crystalac top coat that may work for you.
     
  13. GoKart Mozart

    GoKart Mozart Tele-Meister

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    Well gang...I need some help & suggestions. Had a bit of a setback.

    A few days after my last post after the dyes had several days to dry, I bought some Deft lacquer sanding sealer and brushed on a coat over the entire body as a prep for the final top coating of wipe-on poly. The next day when I was level sanding it I had a boo boo. Not sure if I should’ve done 2 coats of the Deft or if I should’ve used something finer than 220 to level sand the sealer, but I could tell I was going through the sealer and pulling color out of the wood and making scratches (this was done by hand).

    I tried to salvage it and re-dye the rough spots but it just wasn’t happening; I could tell that the sealer wasn’t allowing the dye to penetrate and it felt as if I was just pushing it around. With much regret, I sanded the whole body back down starting at 120-180-220 with my orbital sander and for good measure did the top to 320.

    When I went to re-dye, I could tell the colors on the top just weren’t popping as much. Although the wood definitely has color, after drying it’s got this dull uniform haze when I look at it under my behch lights. At first I thought this might’ve been because I went up to 320 on the top...maybe the fibers were too closed and not absorbing the dye as much. I sanded back the top lightly to 220 and re-dyed but with the same results. You can kind of see it in this comparison pic: the left side is before the boo boo. I’m kind of wondering if somehow there’s sealer that survived all of the resanding that got worked into the pores that’s causing the dullness?
    [​IMG]

    Here’s the real kicker; I bought a fresh bottle of Tru Oil as a last ditch effort to try and make the top vibrant again. I skipped the sealer this time and put on a very thick generous coat of Tru Oil last night. This morning I can’t even tell that it did anything, and you guys know how Tru Oil makes anything look better.

    Do I need to start over on the top again, maybe go all the way back to 80 grit? Appreciate any suggestions!
     
  14. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    What's the Deft Sealer made of? That sounds like the issue to me, which may mean sand it back and start over back to 120 grit or so.
    If it's the Deft Lacquer Sealer then the issue is contamination as oil products do not play nice with solvent based finishes like lacquer. I like to use Shellac as a sealer before Tru Oil when I have stained the wood.
     
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