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ScottR

Getting the most depth and movement out of figured woods.

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When I'm building, I like to use the time between spraying the last coat of lacquer and the first step of leveling to test new finishing ideas I dream up whilst sanding. My mind tends to wander when I'm engaged in sanding....

One of the challenges I've tried to address is the trade off from dying figured wood and chatoyance.. The more dye, the less chatoyance is the standing rule. The dye accents the figures depth and the dancing movement of the chatoyance is what makes it so cool.

So now, I'm between builds and while I'm waiting for the picture in my head of my next build to come into better focus, I thought back to a previous build and how I wished I learned more about figure before I finished that one.

IMG_0846.JPG

This top is madrone burl that has been polished and oiled with Behlen's Teak Oil. It looks pretty good, but I think it could have been more dramatic.

I took and old off-cut from that top and reworked it the way I would these days.

This side I used brown shaded dye layers.

C02285.jpg

And this side more red shade layers.

C02286.jpgC02288.jpg

The difference from the original is subtle, as I wanted it to still look very natural....but I like it.

SR

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Well, that was fun. Oddly enough, Madrone burl has next to zero chatoyance, no matter how much you polish it. It looks very tactile, but doesn't move much at all.

I've used my new technique with curly maple in my domestic but not domesticated single cut build, and loved the way that turned out, but haven't tried it with quilted maple yet.

But I do have some offcuts with good figure.:)

Blue is a tough color to get blue enough with out going too dark. There seems to be a fine line between washed out and too dark.

So I tried to pop some blue quilted figure. My technique involves multiple sand backs for depth and dance and tints for the main color. So I prepped an offcut and decided to use 28x50 easy sanding sealer on it, since I tried that on my last build and loved the way it worked. This is a two part polyester...or possible polystyrene coating that seals hard without shrinking and is clear with a very slight pinkish tint.I made a dam around the edges of my off cut and pored the sealer on like a bar top. I wondered how it would do as a finish? I put a drop of blue dye in the dregs left in the mixing cup and waited to see it that would harden. It did. So once the seal coat cured I leveled it and poured another layer. This time i mixed in some blue dye and then added the catalyst. That stuff turned damn near black in my cup!:blink: I poured it into a new dam I made around the edges and waited. The black turned transparent and lighted to a reddish bronze. It cured, but the blue dye I added to it disappeared.

This is the result of that little experiment.

C02280.jpgC02283.jpg

It's actually a pretty cool bronze, but it ain't blue!

SR

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While that was curing, I worked up another off cut. This one I dyed a with water base. I normally choose alcohol because it dries faster and doesn't raise the grain. Then I thought as many sand backs as I do, raised grain won't be an issue, in fact the prosecc might well insure I never have to deal with fuzzies. So I did the same thing with what is normally the foundation for my IPA burst. On thing I notice is multiple dye applications of water base do not seem to build up as dark in the open pore areas as alcohol base does. Any way, this was the result of that experiment.

C02279.jpg

A red tint over that would look pretty sweet, I'm thinking.

SR

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I decided to polish up the sanding sealer on my "blue " experiment and see how it might do as a finish.

It turns out, it polishes like a champ.

C02290.jpgC02292.jpgC02293.jpg

SR

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But I still don't have a good blue prototype. So I turned the piece over and sanded the back to 400 grit.

C02299.jpg

I don't like using black in the dye and sand back process.It turn the following colors muddy. I prefer to use a darker version of the desired color. The open pores will take in the most dye and will create the shadowed areas of our 3-D finish. For my deep shadows I use some pretty strong blue with a few drops of burgundy red.

C02301.jpg

Then I sand that back with 180, 220, 300, and 400 grit.

C02302.jpg

The idea is to create depth- shadowed areas- with out leaving dye covering the grain, which would block chatoyance. Now I dye with a layer of blue.

C02305.jpg

I get impatient and take pictures before it is completely dry. I'm used to faster drying alcohol. This time I sand back with 220, 300, 400, and 1500 micromesh.C02306.jpgC02307.jpg

SR

 

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Very interesting! Guess I'll have to split my offcuts for more testing surfaces to see if I could reach anything interesting with my ovangkol top.

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Starting the sand back with one grit higher than the last started creating midtones in the shadows, and finishing one grit finer begins the polish which brings out the "dance". Next is another application of blue. dye.

C02309.jpg

This one gets sanded back with 300, 400, and micromesh 1500, and 1800.

C02310.jpgC02311.jpg

More depth in the shadows and more subtleties in the midtones....and one more application of blue.

C02312.jpg

SR

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C02314.jpg

From here I began my sanding with 400 grit and went all the way through the micromesh grits through 12,000.

C02315.jpgC02317.jpgC02319.jpg

This thing gleams like pearl or abalone and dances like Fred Astaire. :D

I made another dam and poured more sealer and quit for the day....yesterday. Now I'll take a couple of shots of that, level it and sand it to 220 grit and then shoot some lacquer and a blue tint and more lacquer and see what we get.

SR

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13 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

Very interesting! Guess I'll have to split my offcuts for more testing surfaces to see if I could reach anything interesting with my ovangkol top.

I believe you should.

I am fascinated by what trees look like on the inside. And by how many ways there are to make that wood beautiful.

SR

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This is awesome @ScottR wish I saw this before staining the V. I used brown as a base layer on that (all waterbased) and it has worked better to highlight the figure with blue, however when I added a burst, there is the element of green which fortunately seems to work. I have got a good combo of chatoyance vs highlighted figure though. Interestingly my "artist grade" finish on my PRS although being super flamey, has absolutely no chatoyance.

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Polishing the raw wood brings out the chatoyance. Leaving dye on top of it can hide some or all of it. I th9ink it is safe to assume guitar factories don't go to great lengths to polish the raw wood either before or after dying. That would be pretty hard on their production efficiency.

SR

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Seal coat and dam. I actually put a coat of water based sanding sealer over this to see if it would protect the dye.

C02321.jpg

I'm thinking it didn't help. It looks like the poly changed the blue to bronze again.. I''l have to ask @Skyjerk if he's ever run across this.

C02322.jpg

Leveled and roughed with 220 grit.

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Dust coat of lacquer, a couple of wet coats and another dust coast.

C02327.jpg

Tinted.

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Now the lacquer cures and we'll see how it polishes up. It looks pretty good in this light, but I'm afraid it might be a tad dark in lesser light.

SR

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21 hours ago, ScottR said:

IMG_0846.JPG

 

THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING i HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME!

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I'm going to have to do some more reading on your info above.  this is a dissertation in finishing.  LOTS of good info there... almost overwhelming.  while I think your tests after this look great... I would not second guess the finish above.  it fits this guitar very well IMO and wow... that is a stunner.  I'm floored.

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4 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

I'm going to have to do some more reading on your info above.  this is a dissertation in finishing.  LOTS of good info there... almost overwhelming.  while I think your tests after this look great... I would not second guess the finish above.  it fits this guitar very well IMO and wow... that is a stunner.  I'm floored.

Thanks Mike!

Here's the build thread if you are interested in more...

SR

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some good info above on the blue.  I learned how not to do blue on my sweet spot.  it turned way too dark and I feel like it was a fail, in stride tho. 

one of the things that I stumbled into and haven't had a chance to really make use of is tinting my tru oil.  it's what I did on the last step.  saddly, the base was already too dark.  I didn't actually tint the tru oil... I just put blue leather dye on top.  what I liked about this is it really changes color depending on the light. 

When I get to do it over again, I'm going to do a much lighter base and a lighter tint on top of true oil.  Like you've outlined above... seems like with dark colors you really can't see the grain... so I've learned that on my build and again here how I might get the darkness without dulling the finish - thank you for that!

I would love to try what you did above, and will someday, but I've no sprayer at present... so storing that away.  for the record your end result is stunning and about the most 3-D I've ever seen.

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Thanks Mike. I had planned on the highlight areas to be brighter. Bleaching the wood first might be the best bet for the best blues. I'm thinking I may have to rehearse blue one more time before using it on a guitar again. And find a way to seal of the dye from the poly sealer or just drop that altogether. I really like the non-sink aspect of it though. Nitro always keeps shrinking for 6 months or more. With this stuff under it, it doesn't matter.

Maybe a layer of shellac over the dye is called for...

 Oh, and that project is not done yet. Since those last pics its gotten more layers of nitro, which will need to cure and then get polished out.

SR

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42 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Thanks Mike. I had planned on the highlight areas to be brighter. Bleaching the wood first might be the best bet for the best blues. I'm thinking I may have to rehearse blue one more time before using it on a guitar again. And find a way to seal of the dye from the poly sealer or just drop that altogether. I really like the non-sink aspect of it though. Nitro always keeps shrinking for 6 months or more. With this stuff under it, it doesn't matter.

Maybe a layer of shellac over the dye is called for...

 Oh, and that project is not done yet. Since those last pics its gotten more layers of nitro, which will need to cure and then get polished out.

SR

so... please elaborate.  why is shrinking an issue?  I guess where there are seams it might be... but I would think using filler there would prevent any lines from showing - but I'm getting the impression there is something else you are alluding to.

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36 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

so... please elaborate.  why is shrinking an issue?  I guess where there are seams it might be... but I would think using filler there would prevent any lines from showing - but I'm getting the impression there is something else you are alluding to.

Pores.

Maple has such fine tiny pores that filling is not typically done. So you can spray a nice nitro finish over a maple top, let it cut for 3 or 4 weeks, then level it and polishing to a blinding gloss. It looks perfect. Six months later, you're playing it and the light hits it just right and you see tiny dimples pointing out all those tiny pores. The nitro follows the form as it shrinks, and sinks into the pores just a bit. The guitar's finish is still blinding and looks perfect from most angles. And there is nothing wrong with it. But it still seems to be a finishing goal to not have gloss clear sink into pores.

SR

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14 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Pores.

Maple has such fine tiny pores that filling is not typically done. So you can spray a nice nitro finish over a maple top, let it cut for 3 or 4 weeks, then level it and polishing to a blinding gloss. It looks perfect. Six months later, you're playing it and the light hits it just right and you see tiny dimples pointing out all those tiny pores. The nitro follows the form as it shrinks, and sinks into the pores just a bit. The guitar's finish is still blinding and looks perfect from most angles. And there is nothing wrong with it. But it still seems to be a finishing goal to not have gloss clear sink into pores.

SR

ah... so would doing a filler on the maple prevent this?  I ask because I'm about to refin my blonde (yes, again) and wondering if I should try to pore fill it.  Honestly, since this will be a satin finish... I don't think it will bother me a t all... but might be good practice to see how it would have worked on a gloss.  (thanks for the info)

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1 hour ago, mistermikev said:

ah... so would doing a filler on the maple prevent this? 

Yes, as long as you get all the pores filled.

SR

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On 5/27/2019 at 4:53 PM, ScottR said:

Seal coat and dam. I actually put a coat of water based sanding sealer over this to see if it would protect the dye.

C02321.jpg

I'm thinking it didn't help. It looks like the poly changed the blue to bronze again.. I''l have to ask @Skyjerk if he's ever run across this.

 

 

What exactly happened?

 

 

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6 hours ago, Skyjerk said:

 

What exactly happened?

 

 

Hey Chris

I'm not exactly sure. It looks like the poly absorbed much of the blue and changed from a pale pink tinted clear to a slightly darker bronze tinted clear. What blue dye remained in the wood looks to have darkened...which my be due to the now brownish layer of clear above it. And the darker blue dyed areas mow look black.

SR

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12 hours ago, ScottR said:

Hey Chris

I'm not exactly sure. It looks like the poly absorbed much of the blue and changed from a pale pink tinted clear to a slightly darker bronze tinted clear. What blue dye remained in the wood looks to have darkened...which my be due to the now brownish layer of clear above it. And the darker blue dyed areas mow look black.

SR

thats wierd. Sounds like maybe some reaction between the dye and the coating. What kind of stain/dye did you use?

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