Tuesday, 7 May 2013

12 String 335 - Vintage Amber Staining

Ok, so no more sanding - the body and headstock remain sanded to 360 grit, and that's how they will stay for the conceivable future. I have managed to sand the neck and the sides of the guitar to 400 grit. Hmm. Well, time to put the wise teachings from Bill at Canadianbreed to the test. Today I am dying my maple headstock and body with Vintage Amber ColorTone Dye from Stewmac.

Following Bill's advice I set up two concentrations, one with 8 drops of Vintage Amber in 25mL of water, and another with 20 drips in 25mL. Contrary to most internet lore, I taped off the bindings so that they were saved the majority of the stain. Many seem to believe that this is a waste of time and that the bindings can be scraped after the fact, but what the hell - it's just time right?

Here are the steps i followed:
  1. First thing was to lightly wet the guitar with a damp rag so that the dye is accepted evenly. This worked a charm - i cannot recommend this highly enough. 
  2. Second went on the low concentration dye across the entire guitar top. The damp top accepted the stain wonderfully and I managed to achieve a very even colour across the entire piece. Luckily there were no glue marks or other issues brought to light by the stain! 
  3. Thirdly, I lightly applied successive passes with the more concentrated colour, while the original (less concentrated dye) was still wet.

The idea is to get the figure in the maple to accept more of the darker stain than the non-figured areas. The key here is that the wood is still wet from the first wash, and therefore the non-figured parts of the wood are less apt to accept more colour from the concentrated passes. Anyway, I didn't push it too much, basically for fear of some noob mistake, but the technique seemed to work quite well.


The figure could definitely be seen to accept more darker stain than the non-figured wood. The depth of the effect was not quite as distinct as I expected (based on Bill's results), but I think that a better result could have been achieved if I used a much greater difference in concentrations. In particular, I believe that my more concentrated dye solution should have been twice the strength than that which I used. Anyway, no prob - I am still happy with the effect I have achieved and am looking forward to moving on to step 2 in the process - the use of Tru-Oil as a lacquering agent to enhance the figure yet further.