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Maple Binding And Dye


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For my first build which you can see here I planned to stain all the mahogany with dark solid black leather dye and the maple top with grey water dye leaving an unfinished maple binding on the edge.

However I was informed by my dad that this will be impossible if I want to keep the maple binding unstained. So I did a test on a left over wood from band sawing the body, putting tape over the maple binding and he was right !


(Click for larger photo)

We can see the dark black dye builds into the joint and then the maple, especially at the top and bottom of the guitar where the grain is straight.

So I was wondering whether there are any alternatives to my project ? Would it be any good if I varnish the maple binding beforehand to stop the black dye from staining it ?

Any advice much appreciated,

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This may not work with the black leather dye (although there's no reason you can't use black analyne dye), but the best way to go about dying a top or body and leaving the binding untouched is by taping off everything except the binding and coating the binding in a layer or two of either shellac or vinyl sealer (both are easily available). Then remove the tape and stain away. You might consider switching over to alcohol based dyed though, they're a little easier to work with IMHO.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Just tried to varnish the maple binding on a test block with acrylic matte then apply black leather stain, same problem...what a difficult job dealing with maple binding !

I'm wondering whether to stain the mahogany leaving an untouched 0.5 cm gap before the maple and use a black pen instead of stain for the 0.5cm area. Your thoughts ?

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I don't know anything about the leather dye, but it can be done (following Myka's method) with a very dark aniline-type dye. Mask off the binding, apply 2-3 coats of 1 or 2 lb. cut shellac to seal it. Worked like a charm for me, no bleed at all.

Seems to me that a pen (Sharpie?) would bleed just as easily as the dye.

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