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For an upcoming project I want to make a guitar with a flamed maple veneer on top. I am going to use the blue dye from stew-mac to stain the whole guitar. Most guitars I've seen only dye the top and leave the sides/back natural. But I want the whole guitar to be blue (except maybe some natural binding). What different types of wood would dye well. I know ash looks nice stained. Do alder or basswood work well with dye? I've thought about mahogany, but it is usually a reddish brown, so I'm not sure if it would look nice blue? Any pics, advice, or comments would be nice. Thanks. :D

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Do alder or basswood work well with dye? I've thought about mahogany, but it is usually a reddish brown, so I'm not sure if it would look nice blue? Any pics, advice, or comments would be nice. Thanks. :D

The blue thinline tele in this stewmac tutorial has an alder back.

Your natural binding won't look the same if you're using a thin veneer top. Veneer also won't have the same deep look as a thicker maple top (1/4" or more).

Mahogany probably won't look right unless you bleach it first.

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Thanks, that blue alder in the tutorial looked great. :D .....but on second thought, I don't really have access to alder. Are there other woods similar to alder that would look good in blue? I could get basswood or poplar, but I'm not sure if they're good with dye. And I figured mahogany wouldn't work. :D

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Alder's a pretty bog-standard wood. You live in the US. You can get at it easily enough. I don't have any experience trying to dye basswood or poplar, so I don't know how splotchy they'd turn out...as for mahogany, it might look OK, if done dark blue, but it's unlikely to look terribly vibrant.

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I was just sitting here and suddenly remembered that basswood can take stain well. A while back I made a windchime for my mom (don't laugh :D ) and I think I used basswood for the base. I remember staining it a darker shade of brown. If I can stain it dark brown then I can dye it blue, right?

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If I can stain it dark brown then I can dye it blue, right?

I suppose, but basswood is rather soft, dings up easily, and often has mineral streaks. Poplar tends to have a greenish cast to it, as well as the mineral streak issue.

Even if your local suppliers don't carry alder, there are plenty of places online that sell alder blanks. I'd go for either alder or swamp ash.

Mike

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I've done some off site research and found that poplar can take dye. This wood pen was apparently made from a piece of poplar and was dyed blue. If a pen looks that good, then a guitar should too, right? :D

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For an upcoming project I want to make a guitar with a flamed maple veneer on top.

What type of veneer? Are you talking about the thin 1/40" stuff or a 1/4" top? IMO you're much better off with the thicker top, especially if you want the natural binding.

I've seen several attempts at dyed thin veneer tops that have not ended well. Not that it can't be done - Drak has built some really nice veneer-top bodies, but he's been at it for over a decade.

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I'm planning on using the 1/40" veneer. :D Trust me, if I had the money I would definitely prefer a 1/4" maple top, but that's out of my price range right now. And if the natural binding plan doesn't work out then I won't mind having no binding either. I know that dyeing veneer doesn't work for everyone, but if it does mess up, it will be a little easier to remove than a maple top.

And I agree, that pen does look like maple. But the site said it was made from poplar so hopefully all will work well. :D

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The best wood to dye blue is Swamp Ash that has had it's grain filled black first, sanded back, then clear the body to level flat, then shoot a shader coat of blue, then more clear. Look at GuitarFrenzy's Strat thread.

And if you've never done any veneering before, then count your first attempt as simply practice, because chances are very good that's all it will be, and whatever money you spent on the veneer will be spent on practicing, so if I were you I would save your money until you had enough for a 1/4" laminate top, your chances are WAY better for a first effort success with a laminate top than with veneer, AND you'll be able to get your clear binding too.

I don't know why so many people think they can just buy some veneer and slap that sucker on like presto and everything's great, because rarely ever does that happen.

Veneering is not easy to learn, and rarely ever a success on a first try.

If I had a dollar for every thread I read here about someone saying they were going to do a veneer top, and then never hearing from them again about that project (like, 95% of the time), I would be fabulously wealthy, I'll tell you that.

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In my first post I agreed that ash looks very nice stained. This is probably what I will use since I've seen it dyed blue many times before. And thanks for that link, those prices for the flamed maple tops are a little better than others I've seen :D (the quilted is still a bit much for me though). If I use a 1/4" top, then the binding plan should work, and that's definitely a good thing.

And I also agree that if I did use veneer (though I decided not to use it for this project) it would be mostly practice. I realize that veneer doesn't always work for newbies, but if we don't try it at all, how can we become better? :D You people have helped me greatly, thanks again for all the advice.

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Dont try to stain poplar. It looks terrible with the green streaks. I would go for alder. Then again, PRS does whale blue with a mahogany back and neck, so it might be worth it.

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but if we don't try it at all, how can we become better?

I'm all for trying, there's no other way to learn it.

But one should do that on some scrap wood, going thru all the steps several times, not on a guitar you care anything about.

Learn how to cut and tape 2 pieces together, learn how to glue that down without any humps, bumps, or glue seepage onto the top, or gluing your veneer to your glueboard ( :D )...and learn how to finish it w/o getting any lifting in the process, and how to buff it out.

Then you could try a guitar with some expectant success. :D

I also think the best blues for rear bodies are done by adding the dye into your finish and shooting it on as a shader coat, you have much more control and evenness that way. B)

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For an upcoming project I want to make a guitar with a flamed maple veneer on top. I am going to use the blue dye from stew-mac to stain the whole guitar. Most guitars I've seen only dye the top and leave the sides/back natural. But I want the whole guitar to be blue (except maybe some natural binding). What different types of wood would dye well. I know ash looks nice stained. Do alder or basswood work well with dye? I've thought about mahogany, but it is usually a reddish brown, so I'm not sure if it would look nice blue? Any pics, advice, or comments would be nice. Thanks. :D

I am noe xpert but I once had a Tom Anderson Drop Top, that was stolen from me. The top was quilt maple and the body was basswood. Both were dyed "deep ocean blue" and the top and back both looked great, if this is any help.

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For an upcoming project I want to make a guitar with a flamed maple veneer on top. I am going to use the blue dye from stew-mac to stain the whole guitar. Most guitars I've seen only dye the top and leave the sides/back natural. But I want the whole guitar to be blue (except maybe some natural binding). What different types of wood would dye well. I know ash looks nice stained. Do alder or basswood work well with dye? I've thought about mahogany, but it is usually a reddish brown, so I'm not sure if it would look nice blue? Any pics, advice, or comments would be nice. Thanks. :D

I am noe xpert but I once had a Tom Anderson Drop Top, that was stolen from me. The top was quilt maple and the body was basswood. Both were dyed "deep ocean blue" and the top and back both looked great, if this is any help.

The question there: how do you know it's a dye job, and not a tinted clearcoat?

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