Monday, May 10, 2010

First dye application

Well, I've decided not to use the Minwax stain after all, and to just move forward with diluted TransTint dye. So I guess I'm no longer an idiot for not noticing I could've just used the Minwax, because I don't want to use it anyway. Part of the problem I was having with TransTint dye is that I was trying to get a red mahogany color by mixing brown mahogany with a pure red dye to make red mahogany. It was making my test pieces turn a little pinkish in hue. So instead of doing it this way, I just broke down over the weekend and picked up a bottle of Transtint red mahogany dye.

I think I'll contradict myself and just say, that I do after all, prefer TransTint dye diluted with water, over everything else I've yet found, as it goes on looking like a pure color, without an oily residue, and it still highlights the grain. I don't think the wetness of the water is going to cause much of a problem with warpage, as long as I don't go overboard in application, and I allow it to dry thoroughly.

A few things contributed to my ultimate rejection of Minwax stain. It's oil based, and rather stinky. Also, I recently read an online forum discussion, where a luthier I greatly admire had only negative things to say about "Ace hardware finishing" solutions. They generally might be "good enough," but good enough is never good enough.

I also learned that the "fuzzy" look I was getting was due to my over-sanding. I sanded my surfaces to 400. I thought smoother was better. This isn't actually true, it turns out. So I lightly resanded everything to 220.

A Martin authority tells me that Martin mahogany stain color is achieved by first applying red mahogany, then brown mahogany. So I did that. I mixed a semi-weak solution so that I can "creep up" on the shade that I want. I started on the back, and applied two coats of red mahogany, followed by two coats of brown mahogany. I waited a few hours in-between coats, so that the wood wouldn't get too soggy.

First a coat of red. These pics appear darker than what the wood looks like.

Then I touched up the red some.

Then I added brown.

While building this guitar I've been really worried about the outcome, pretty much, throughout the process. Maybe worrying about it so much, helped it to turn out better. I've stopped worrying about it so much, lately. I'm genuinely excited now...and confident that this sucker is going to be flat-out awesome.

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