Friday, 6 March 2015

Ash Stratocaster: Grainfill & Dye

More progress today on the Ash Stratocaster build! I finally got the body sanded to 400 grit and then went through 3 passes of raising the grain with water and sanding back down until I was happy with the smoothness.

Smooth as a baby's Wossname.
With the body smooth as a baby's unmentionables, it then was time to fill the grain. Instead of dying black and sanding back, I opted to fill the grain with dark filler in much the same way as I did with the Ash Les Paul build. For that build I used walnut Timbermate to fill the ash grain as it matched the brown hues in the burst nicely. For this build I decided to use ebony Timbermate as the black would work much better with a blue dye. I actually did a few tests with 4 different Timbermate colours against a blue background and the ebony was certainly streaks ahead of the others. Anyway, I got the Timbermate smooshed down into the grain, and a few hours later sanded it off again with 400 grit.

A slurry of timbermate pushed down into the grain and left to dry.
Timbermate sanded back with 400 grit to leave the grain filled.
Once I was happy with the amount of black left in the body (there was still a little more than I was hoping for, but it's in the grain - what can I do) it was time to start the staining. After agonising for a month over what dye to use (you've probably read the posts!), I finally decided on the Colortone blue. It's not as "brilliant" a blue as I would have liked, but with the darkness of this piece of ash, and combining that with the darkness of the ebony Timbermate, she was never going to be a "brilliant" blue anyway.

And so the dye went on for a first coat, and I gotta say, I was very pleased with the results! The blue dye combined with the ebony Timbermate resulted in a kind of "slate" blue. Very nice! It's not what I had envisioned for this build in the beginning, but I'll take it all the same! Here's a picture of the blue in the sunshine. The dye here has dried quite a bit, so the final colour will be a bit darker (a more "wet" look).

Blue dye and black grain in the sun. It's dry here so final colours will darken.

The photos give some impression of the contrast between body and grain. This will increase again when the lacquer goes on. Suffice to say I'm very happy with the way the grain pops. I think she'll look pretty good with a bit of lacquer and a brilliant shine!

And... here she is with the original white scratchplate on. Looks pretty good, but I'm now imagining a black burst around the edge and an aged cream pearloid scratchplate.

Final colour will be darker blue, but I'm also considering a black burst
What do you guys think would look best?