Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Scratch Pine Toronado: Sanding for Black Dye

With all the woodworking finally completed on the Toronado scratch build, it was time to start on the final finishing. That meant sanding - a lot of sanding. With the end grain in particular sporting some vicious machining marks, I started at 180 grit and worked them all out. A few dings needed filling with Timbermate along the way but I took these in my stride. It was my first attempt at routing a body after all. Sanding out my own machining marks made me realise that I haven't been sanding nearly enough on my previous kit builds. I now know what those light white patches on the end grain actually are - machining marks (or sanding scratches) filled with saw dust!!

After the 180 grit I moved up to 240 grit, and gave the body another good going over. I again concentrated on the end grain, and the results were smooth and clean. After the 240 grit sanding it was time to apply the first coat of black dye. The aim of this dye pass was to act as a trace - to get into the grain and highlight it. I'll be sanding the top layer back off when it's dry, and hopefully the dye will stay in the grain and accentuate it nicely.

It took a little while to saturate the wood with dye, but I used quite a dark mix and it's looking really nice. What I would like to achieve is a nice dark finish, but with wood grain still showing through as even darker black. I think I'm definitely movingin that direction. Here's what the first pass looked like after I finished applying:

The dye has blotched just a touch, as pine is want to do, but I think all-up it's looking pretty awesome. My other option for a black body, if all else fails, is to spray the body with a solid acrylic paint - but I want to avoid this if at all possible. From the looks of the first dye pass, I have made the right decision going with the dye. From here on out it can only look better and better!

You can see that the wood grain is already standing out in the background, giving a nice "trans-black" effect. After a few more passes, taking the top coat off with 360 grit sandpaper,  the grain should be highlighted nicely and the overall colour will be dark enough to start the clear coats. The plan at the moment is to then apply a 3 or 4 coats of Tru-Oil to soak into the grain and enhance it further before spraying with Acrylic clear.

Yesterday I ordered a sheet of pearloid red pickguard material to go with the black, so I can't wait to see what the two look like together. If the red is no good, I also have white perloid and tortoiseshell as options also. I'm hoping for a real shoe-gazer look similar to (but even better than) this:

Awesome huh? :)