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Coloring Ash - Need Advice

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I am currently building a sharkfin v (RR style). The body is ash joined along the centre with the grain following the V (converging at the neck). I want to finish it in a rich purple, enhance the grain and colored darker at the edges. Being ash it is going to require grain filling and sanding sealer. Can I use a water based stain to get the desired color effect or does it require alcohol based ? and can anyone advise on the start to finish sequence of operation. Being in the UK, the suppliers of alcohol based dyes does seem a bit limited

The body at present is raw finished sanded.

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alcohol based dyes at craftsupplies.co.uk

thats what i use - its Behlen dye. i have dyed ash with success. i will tell you how to dye it:

1. sand to about 320

2. get a brush to apply, a glass jar (i used a tumbler, sorry mum!) get meths (clear if poss)

3. mix yout dye about 5:1 with meths and dye (if you use alcohol based, water otherwise) apply several coats (4 or so) it will look really pale on the ash. this is to ensure even dye coverage - end grain drinks dye.

4. repeat step 3 but reducing the amount of meths each time, this will dry really fast, say 10 mins or so. keep going until you are at 1:1 or even just dye, it is at this stage where you must decide how dark you want it.

NOTE: if you notice any peculiar staining happening - you could soak a cloth in meths and wipe it, if still wet may work, this also can help over saturation at end grain.

also dont judge it by its "wet colour!" always wait until its dry before you make any descisions!!

this stuff stains like MAD, wear gloves ffs! i didnt and had green hands for a week!

before you nitro/burst i would leave the guitar to dry out for a few days, you dont want your clears bubbling! and a LIGHT sanding after dye. alcohol dye doesnt really lift the grain which is nice, but water based will. i cant offer info on water based, as i have only used alcohol based.

you might want to search "bursting" or something for your darker edges, maybe black or dark purple.

the grain naturally accents itself with the dye i have found *but* if you want it to go mad black or whatever use black epoxy (i cant find any in the UK yet, let me know anyone if you do!) to fill the grain.

grain filling:

vinyl based is great for SOLID colours, for TRANS i know people use:


CA (super glue)

i have had no luck with epoxy, but the stuff i used might have been dozed. i am going to try polyester resin soon. i used it before, slow drying time, but EXCELLENT result! i didnt measure anything so thats probably why it didnt dry well.

sanding sealer: Rustins sanding sealer will do fine. whether you need to use this after grain filling is debatable.

fill grain *after* dying or you will be left with a patchy finish.

thats about it! let us know how it goes!


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"the grain naturally accents itself with the dye i have found *but* if you want it to go mad black or whatever use black epoxy (i cant find any in the UK yet, let me know anyone if you do!) to fill the grain."


I haven't used it so can't comment but i may have a go in the near future as i'm quite into this black grain thing.

Jem :D

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