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Combining Paint And Stain Techniques For A Finish

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To start off, I'm pretty much clueless as far as finishing wood goes. On the other hand, I have RTFM's. A decent amount of FM's :D

I'm in the process of building an ESP-style Explorer. Right now, all I have to do is bust out the bevels, modify the heel a bit, and sand it down all purdy. Then I'm going to staint and pain it. Paint and stain it. Mix them.

Who's hesitant? Me. What I want to do is paint the body and headstock top black, and stain the neck and bevels a deep cherry-ish red. I think it'd look cool. But is it possible? I don't know if it's feasable.

I have a few bits of tearout/drill boo-boo's that needed puttying. Thankfully, they're not on the bevels, because I know stain doesn't like wood putty. So I know that I can't stain the body black, I'll have to paint it.

I could paint the bevels red, but that's already been done. I thought that seeing the grain of the wood peeking through would be a cool effect.

So is this paint/stain scheme even possible? I don't know if anyone else has attemped something similar or not, I'd like to hear some advice if they have :D

Thanks in advance!


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for the ultimate perfectionist, you could shellac the edges of the body near the bevels, dye, then scrape the body clean, before masking the bevels and spraying your body color. unmask the bevels before the clear, and you should be fine.

most people spray clear over dyes anyway, so there should be no adhesion problem with the color coat. However, I am NOT an expert, and my opinion is probably no better supported than yours.

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Hey, at least it's an opinion, anything helps. That procedure sounds like it'd work, yeah. So to recap, then:

--"mask" around the bevels with clear

--Stain the bevels cherry

--Sand down the clear and mask the bevels for spray

--Fill the mahogany grain

--Spray, sand, repeat

--Unmask bevels

--Clear the whole guitar

A few more queries, for anyone interested...

Would I have to grain fill the parts that I want to stain, or no? Also, I like the feel of an oiled neck, nice and woody *snicker* Would I be able to tung oil over the stain? I've also heard some people taking some 0000 wool to the finished neck to give it a smoother feel...

Other than that, the method sounds like a pretty solid way to go about it, and the way I'll probably go.

Thanks for your help, Nameless!


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I don't know if mixing the different finish styles is going to work but if you do mix them then I would grain fill the oiled part for sure.

On the neck you can stain and oil no problems , I have done it. Just watch out if you use an oil based stain, you will have to wait until the stain is completly dry before oiling it. say wait a couple of days . What happens is that the oil will disolve the stain and pull it off as you wipe n the oil. best method is to spray on the oil. If you can't do that then wipe it on lightly for the first coat. If you use a water based stain then no problems at all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay then. Not to revive a fairly dead thread or anything, but I'm back with an update.

Just finished rasping and sanding my way to a sexy body shape (if only the gym was that easy), and aside from drilling a few miscellaneous things like pilot holes for control cavity and pickup rings and stuff, the guitar is done!

With regards to everything except painting. And staining. Perhaps both.

I dunno, but currently, I'm not feeling a whole hella confident about staining and painting right next to each other. I mean, there's probably a reason why I haven't seen the technique done on many (any?) guitars.

Have you?

I'm thinking of just painting the bevels/back of neck red, like the Kevin Bond Rhoads that Jackson makes.


I mean, why potentially screw something up hardcore? I want to :D not :D

Though the idea of the grain of the mahog and maple showing through on select parts of the guitar would look really cool. A wee tiny bit of class on the unabashedly metal guitar. I would have no problem with having opaque red as opposed to stained red, and it'd be much much easier to do. I just lose the coolness of half-stain-half-paint.

So I'm more leaning towards the full paint, now. Any comments, suggestions, encouragement? If I paint the neck, how would I be able to get the smooth feel like a nice 'tongue oiled' neck? Or am I just under the impression that you can't tung oil paint?


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perhaps candy or translucent red paint on the bevels, instead of opaque red?

Ooooooooh..... Excellent ideas, Nameless, you've got me thinking on this one. Either would look fantastic, I'm thinking. Perhaps the candy red would look more 'professional' just because my bevels aren't exactly perfect.

I'd do some research, but I gotta run out the door to pick up a friend. Do you know, off the top of your head, where online I'd be able to get supplies for either of the finishes? Or would it be easier to run down to the neighborhood Ace or Home Depot?

Thanks a bunch,


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perhaps candy or translucent red paint on the bevels, instead of opaque red?

If you are going to use a candy I would use Kandy Koncentrate for House of Kolor in SG100 intercoat clear. Both of these can be purchased from Coast Airbrush in Small quantities. The reason for using the SG100 is to mix the Kandy Koncentrate and allow spraying like an automotive basecoat not a finish clear. This method drys very fast and will allow you to keep working on other colors very quickly. If you buy a true candy it is Catalyzed just like Auto finishing clear and much more difficult to spray. All of the colors on my hendrix guitar is HOK KK in SG100 over white. I do believe that HOK is available in rattlecan now at wallmart but it may just be a label and not the true product from what I hear.

Hendrix Project

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