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Is This Possible ?


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Hi, I've decided to pick up some water soluble aniline dyes from LMII and I'm keen to know if it is possible to finish some high grade flame maple in a style similar to a PRS or mikhailgtrski's Warmoth project, but use Tung Oil as the final clear coat rather than nitrocellulose. I'm new to all of this, so for just now I want to avoid nitrocellulose. I have the parts for my Warmoth project coming in the next few feeks, so again, any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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No.

You can dye the guitar and finish it with an oil finish, but it will not have the effect of a clear coat, ie: it won't be glossy or have a film finish.

If you want to use an oil type finish, avoid pure tung - it sucks. You can use a finish like danish oil which will give a matt/satin look, or an oil varish like tru-oil, which will give a nice soft gloss, but pure oils are to be avoided - they offer minimal protection, stay sticky for a long time, and never really dry properly.

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+1

I'd say nitro is the way to go, although you can get decent results with some of the waterbased lacquers.

But if you've never done any finishing, I suggest you first read some good finishing books and tutorials, find an inexpensive guitar, and practice your technique... Best to make your mistakes (and they will happen) on a throw-away rather than your nice new Warmoth.

Also, if at all possible, get some figured maple scraps for testing your dye method. Again, practice, practice, practice before committing it to the real thing.

Don't rush it! "Patience is a virtue" definitely applies when it comes to guitar finishing.

Mike

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Thanks alot, you've been a great help. Ah, I was aware I wouldn't get a glossy finish using tung oil, what I ment was - would the tung oil affect the underlying dye in anyway - that sort of thing. I would like to finish it using the aniline dyes using a dark brown as the first coat to bring out the grain then a lighter shade of brown or amber finished with tung oil. Thanks again, and I'm going to buy a cheap piece of maple off eBay to practice on - the Warmoth was too expensive to afford mistakes. Thanks.

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would the tung oil affect the underlying dye in anyways.

Depending on the oil, it may redissolve some of the dye. Test it on scrap.

I really think you'd be better off with a hard finish. If you don't want to use nitro, Stewmac sells a waterbased brushable lacquer that will give you a decent hard glossy finish. It's just a little more work to get it level than with spray lacquers.

My $0.02 :D

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search for 'hard' shellac if you land on the home page.

One thing to consider - you have to be very careful when applying shellac over dye. The alcohol in shellac will re-dissolve your dye, especially if you wipe or brush it on. You can spray it, but too heavy an application can cause your dye to look blotchy. Very light mist coats are best.

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If you're going with an oil finish, use water-based dyes. Alcohol-based dye will run.

Even with 40 coats of Tru Oil, the heavier-pored woods still show their pores. You won't get a glass-like finish from it, though you can get close. More importantly, all oil finishes impart some degree of ambering to the color.

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Those Lmii dyes are nice, same stuff companies like Mcnaught, and Myka and Suhr etc use. But MAKE SURE, you don't use water based dye with water based lacquer!!! Thats what happened to my last project! It was sweet, then ended up with mineral streaks from running dye with KTM-9. Still looks ok though.

DSC01964.jpg

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Thanks for all the help and advice people. If you seriously think a hard gloss finish is the better thing, I'd consider it, but I just don't like the glassy look on alot of tops, I feel that the oil finishes make it look alot more natural, but as said, if they gloss is that much better I'd consider it. As for Rockeros' project, the streaks add something to that, it looks good. Oh, and about the shellac, I've heard horror stories about using the stuff, but I'll still look into it. Thanks again.

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It's your guitar - if you like the matte look, go for it. PRS is doing some of their Singlecuts in satin nitro, but it's not a look that I'm too keen on.

IMO oil/matte finishes look good on certain exotics like wenge, rosewoods, etc. But unless you're going to leave it natural, I think figured maple looks best with a nice gloss finish.

Again, my $0.02 :D

Mike

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I've just found an oil-based varnish called Le Tonkinois --I wrote about it in another thread. It's an all-natural mix of tung oil and linseed oil, and it's been treated (boiled) so that it hardens.

The stuff is non toxic and non irritating --you don't need a mask, don't even need gloves (although it's pretty sticky). It's also waterproof (it's rated for marine applications), humidity proof and temperature proof.

It goes on really easily and it gets hard quite quickly. I've only been working with it for a few days, done about four coats on scrap --it's already quite hard and really does feel pretty tough. It'll fill the grain if you want--you wet sand with it to do that--or you can choose to show the wood.

This stuff isn't like other oil finishes I've seen though --for one, it's quite glossy (I haven't even polished it yet). But in terms of 'depth' it's very similar to the nitro finish on my Gibson. Apparently there's an additive available to take the shine down some, but I prefer the glossy look.

I've used it over two types of wood stain --one was water based, the other solvent based. The solvent based dye seems to work best --there's very little lifting of the color. On the other hand, the oil is quite dark --I'm using a red stain on a mahogany type of wood. For the first two coats of the varnish, the red remained pretty red. By the fourth coat, though, there's a bit more brown than I was hoping for. Still looks great though. And it's possible with this stuff that three coats is all it needs.

I also applied some to some white ash --it turns the wood an amber color. But with both woods, it has a really dramatic effect of bringing out the grain.

Each coat requires a 24-hour drying period --although there's a new version that only has an 8 hour wait. But the curing time is very short --I believe it's something like a week. I'm not sure, I have to check into it.

I'm still trying to get the hang of applying it --I've been rubbing it on, but it really should be applied with a brush. Although I'm thinking of trying to spray it too (it dilutes with white spirit).

Anyway, so far, it seems like a really good alternative to other finishes. I really like the non-toxic part!

I'm going to copy this and start a new thread with it...it'd be nice to get some other people to try this varnish and see what they think of it. Maybe it's only available in Europe? That'd be a switch!

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK...my $0.02 ... I have done alot of my furniture with nothing but a few coats of dye (stain) and a topcoat (or three) of linseed oil. Works great, lasts great, and is easy to maintain. Just oil it once or twice a year. It's not sticky...it actually is perhaps a bit slick, like a newly "pledged" table. Granted, I haven't tried it on a guitar (at least with a dye or stain), but it should work fine if that's the look you want. I have , however, used linseed oil quite often on my natural wood guitars and it works wonderfully. It is true that it will give a bit of a yellow tone to wood, but it actually looks very natural. More like aging than discoloration...Rog

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