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  1. #1
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    07.04.16 @ 08:03 PM
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    Default Guitar Projects - My Friday Night

    Friday is my regular day off. And while I usually have lots of grand plans for things to do and get done, rarely do I actually take full advantage of all those daylight hours and knock out more than one or two things on my "To Do" list.

    Today was much the same; I was going to get lots of stuff done, make phone calls, run errands, etc. Then I looked over at the two guitar projects I've had sitting idle. I was waiting to get the Sustainer/Re-Finish Wolfgang project done before I worked on any others, but it's been held up until I get some routing done. So I started going through parts and took a look at all my supplies from StewMac along with the unfinished Warmoth VW body (their version of the EBMM/Wolfgang) I won off eBay several weeks ago.

    Long story short, I went to town on dying the VW. I'd bought two color options: blue and black. Now I should say, this was my first time EVER dying a guitar body; I was quite weary. I used the black concentrate with a brush on the back and in the control cavities first. After a couple hours I turned it over and decided this guitar top would indeed be transparent black. I mixed the dye with alcohol until the mixture was right, and a short time later the top was quilty-black. I'll seal next and dye again if necessary (though I doubt it will need it).

    Pictures of the process are below!
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  2. #2
    Eruption smme5150's Avatar
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    Nicely done!

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium
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    damn its lookin sexy
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  4. #4
    Eruption guitar08man's Avatar
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    black quilt = sex

  5. #5
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    looks like an awesome job, I'm not a fan of black though. did you use the StewMac dye's ?? and how was it using alcohol ??,
    I havn't done it with alcohol .
    With the stewmac stuff you can use water or alcohol and I always use water,
    the only minor problem is you can raise the grain with water .

  6. #6
    Eruption Wolfgang_'99's Avatar
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    06.18.10 @ 10:55 PM
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    Very, very nice. I would love to construct a guitar with my dad soon... Maybe in the summer.
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  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing!
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    12.14.17 @ 08:00 PM
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    Nice work. I hope it turns out exactly the way you like it. This will be cool to watch.

  8. #8
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    Update: I am a fucking moron.

    Okay, it's not quite that bad. This IS my first time finishing a guitar after all, and each step is literally something I've never done before. I've done a lot of reading about it in the last couple of months, but nothing hands-on until now.

    The guitar was looking great--just as the photos demonstrated. My plan was to stain, then seal, then sand to 330 grit, then clear coat. I cracked open the sealer and started to apply it. Little did I know that shit dries FAST, and once it is dry it's like a cross between super glue and rubber. It was globbing and dripping, and the guitar body was a freakin' mess, then the stain started to run a little bit. Long story short: I had to sand like crazy after the sealing debacle, and the body will now require another round of staining.

    Does anyone know the better way to do a finish like this? Is it better to seal first and then stain, or the other way around? I'd read preferences both ways.

  9. #9
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Update: I am a fucking moron.

    Okay, it's not quite that bad. This IS my first time finishing a guitar after all, and each step is literally something I've never done before. I've done a lot of reading about it in the last couple of months, but nothing hands-on until now.

    The guitar was looking great--just as the photos demonstrated. My plan was to stain, then seal, then sand to 330 grit, then clear coat. I cracked open the sealer and started to apply it. Little did I know that shit dries FAST, and once it is dry it's like a cross between super glue and rubber. It was globbing and dripping, and the guitar body was a freakin' mess, then the stain started to run a little bit. Long story short: I had to sand like crazy after the sealing debacle, and the body will now require another round of staining.

    Does anyone know the better way to do a finish like this? Is it better to seal first and then stain, or the other way around? I'd read preferences both ways.

    HI,

    depending on what stains you are useing, I use the stewmac stuff thinned in water it's easy as hell to work with.
    I have never sealed first, I stain the wood then wait till it dries then wet a corner of it to see if it's the actual shade I want. if so then I'll fine sand it and *spray* on a sealer coat , never never brush one on unless your good at it and since this is your first I'm betting your not good at (no offence) depending on how thick I want as to how many, but I don't put very many I just wanna seal it well but not go overboard like the off the shelf stuff. so anyway what stains and sealers are you using ? for a home job Stew mac consentrates thinned in water and Deft wood sealer in a spray can is the way to go it's easy as hell
    Last edited by rolsguitars; 04.30.07 at 11:28 AM.

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 06:41 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Update: I am a fucking moron.

    Okay, it's not quite that bad. This IS my first time finishing a guitar after all, and each step is literally something I've never done before. I've done a lot of reading about it in the last couple of months, but nothing hands-on until now.

    The guitar was looking great--just as the photos demonstrated. My plan was to stain, then seal, then sand to 330 grit, then clear coat. I cracked open the sealer and started to apply it. Little did I know that shit dries FAST, and once it is dry it's like a cross between super glue and rubber. It was globbing and dripping, and the guitar body was a freakin' mess, then the stain started to run a little bit. Long story short: I had to sand like crazy after the sealing debacle, and the body will now require another round of staining.

    Does anyone know the better way to do a finish like this? Is it better to seal first and then stain, or the other way around? I'd read preferences both ways.

    Just curious, did you apply the sealer pretty soon after the stain? If so, did you follow the required "re-coat" parameters? I know that w/ "most" paints you have to re-coat within say 45 min or after 4 hrs or it'll do some silly stuff. Basically, if you re-coat in that drying stage the thinner (either solvent or water) in the re-coat wants to dissolve your first coat. In the woodworking I've done I've learned to just be patient & wait to re-coat.

    Regarding order of operations, one purpose of sealers is to seal the grain of softer woods causing it to rise less when stain is applied netting a more even finish that poly would then be applied to. Again, I'm speaking from furniture re-finishing so I'd definitely defer to Rols for proper materials & techniques for guitars.

    Oh yeah, make sure it's not humid when you do it. That will add to drying time significantly.


    Ted
    Last edited by Ted Van Halen; 04.30.07 at 05:22 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the tips, guys.

    Rols, yes I am using all StewMac stuff. I don't have decent facilities for spraying right now, so it was my intention to do all of the finishing with brushes. I bought ColorTone dyes, sealer, and clear varnish. Basically it means I'll have to do a lot more wet sanding between clear coats, but it also means I don't have to string up plastic in my kitchen or bathroom to do the spraying. (Oh, I look forward to buying a house.)

    Ted, I waited a day after staining to apply the sealer.

    I've had mixed opinions--about 50/50--thus far on sealing first or later. I think there is most definitely a logic to spraying it. However, Ted's suggestion that it helps prevent rising of the wood prior to staining makes sense, too; the maple top rose slightly between the pickups and Floyd route in this first dye session. I used alcohol instead of water thinking it would dry faster and help prevent that kind of thing from happening (but it didn't). Also, the water in my building is very softened, and I wasn't sure if that would affect the dye at all.

    Well last night I applied another very thin layer of sealer, as I think I sanded most of the first pass off in the "clean up." I'm going to focus on just the top tonight and fine sand and dye again. I think the top will then be ready for clear. If it does indeed go well, I'll do the back and sides tomorrow, then give it a few days before I start doing clear coats.

    This place really is amazing for help and advice. Thanks again, guys!

  12. #12
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    Here's an update w/ photos...

    Most of my "discoveries" here are probably old news to those who are experienced with finishing guitars. I did a lot of reading before diving into this project, but hands-on work, for me, is still the best way to learn it.

    So after last weekend's frustrating sealing debacle, I made a couple attempts at dying the body again. I'd sealed and sanded pretty decently before, and I think that was a mistake. The top wouldn't take the dye in with as much contrast as it did the first time when the top was unsealed; I ended up with more of a gray than a bubbling black-to-almost-natural effect. So I again started from zero and sanded and bleached the top (photo 1). The next round of dying was more successful and brought some of the contrast back (photo 2). It's not as vibrant as the first round, but again I think that is from the sealer. (I've now learned with figured tops to seal AFTER dying.) I've given the entire body a good pass with steel wool, and everything overall with the finish is nice and consistent. I completely spaced getting conductive shielding paint in the pickup and control cavities, so I'll have to get a couple coats done there before I apply the clear coat.

    This axe will have a Wolfgang Special neck I bought off eBay a few months ago. The original owner of it had painted--and then removed the paint--over the headstock. So while the black and decals were intact, the clear coat on it was spotty. To get myself familiar with the clear varnish I bought, I applied a light coat on the headstock tonight (photo 3). I do another coat shortly, then wet sand and do a couple more coats tomorrow. The varnish went on with no problems and was easy to work with.

    I'm hoping by sometime next weekend this thing's body will have most or all of its clear coats applied! It'll have a matching set of zebra SD 59s in it, a three-way toggle, one volume knob, and the tone knob space will be occupied by a two-way hum/coil tap switch (because I don't ever use the tone knobs I put in my custom guitars, and I'm frustrated with push-pull pots).
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