Saturday, 30 November 2013

Les Paul Florentine: Finalizing Quilted Maple Colour

Today I put the finishing touches on the dye job for the quilted maple guitar top of the Les Paul Florentine. I used two colours in the end as part of the job - a 100% Colortone Cherry, and a 90% Cherry + 10% Blue 'Wine-Red' mix. The Cherry was wiped on first as the 'base' colour for all the non-figured parts of the grain. The wine-red mix was wiped on next to highlight the more figured parts of the quilting.

I have used this technique before in my other dye jobs and it seems to work well. What happens is that the base colour settles into the wood where there is no figure. These wood fibres remain saturated with stain, whilst the figured parts of the grain soak in the dye and are ready for more. When the second colour is applied (usually a more concentrated solution of the first) it is wiped lightly across the surface and is taken up by the figure only. Of course this only happens whilst the first pass is still wet. If you take too long, or do too many passes with the more concentrated colour then the whole surface slowly begins to darken. 

I certainly can't take any credit for this method of applying dye to figured maple. I learned about it from this youtube video from Bill of Canadianbreed Guitars. It's a great video and a great technique - I recommend you check it out if dying guitars interests you.
Basically this is how I worked today, but after the initial pass with the darker shade I kept temporarily changing back to the 100% Cherry to touch up any areas that looked too purple. In the end I got the dark red I was looking for (or at least a close approximation of it).

I'm sure it could have been achieved with other colour mixes, but the Blue as darkening agent worked well enough for me in this case. The photo shows a little lighter and 'redder' than the colour is in real life, but it does show the figure standing out quite nicely. The next step will be 3 or 4 coats of Tru-Oil to really get into the grain and bring out the 'chatoyance' (oo la la) of the quilted figure.