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How To Get This Finish? Stained Top/natural Recurve

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I'm not an expert at these things by any stretch. I attempted a similar finish on a recent build. (My first attempt at stained maple, a bass for my brother.) Before I start rambling, I'll note that in my experiments, the black veneer I used soaked up the green dye I was using, and looked really weird on close inspection. I'd experiment before commiting to using that as your "dye-stop"

Anyway, here's how I did it:

Basically, I sort of followed the concept used in instructions for PRS-style "faux" binding, modified slightly to this application, and the finishing materials I was using.

The bass was a maple top, (which was dyed green) over a walnut back. In-between was sandwiched three sheets of veneer, BWB, so that I got an interesting contrasting stripe between the layers, that looked pretty cool, as the whole thing was bevelled.

I needed to grainfill the walnut anyways. I use an epoxy grainfill under KTM-9 finish. This was what I used to mask off the areas I didn't want to dye.

In experiments on scrap, the dye made it underneath tape no matter what I did, if I was using tape as my only resist against dye. And as it soaked into the wood, it was difficult to remove. I was mostly concerned about the dye effecting the brightness of my white veneer in the accent lines. I think if I was doing PRS-style binding, or simply masking part of the same woods, it might be different. Since I was mostly concerned about the brightness of my accent lines, and the veneer seemed to soak up dye like nobodys business, I figured an ounce of protection was worth it. The dye was fairly easy to get out of the walnut, and not incredibly difficult to get out of the maple when needed. (Using a card scraper)

So anyway, I mixed my epoxy slightly more viscous (using silica thickener) than I normally do, to aide in keeping it where I wanted it. I masked off all the edges of the maple with vinyl pinstriping tape of a various thicknesses as I needed to bend around it, and then used lowtack painters tape to add a little extra masking where I needed it.

I used a lot of tape, so this was a fairly lengthy step. In addition to veneer sandwich between the top and the core, I was also dying the maple neck - I had veneer sandwiched between the headplate and the headstock, in the scarf joint, between the fingerboard and the neck, and between the neck and the body, all of which I didn't want to take the green dye. I went as far as masking off just the accent line in the scarf joint, and putting epoxy over that accent line.

After the masking was done, I applied the epoxy grainfill as I normally do. (I also did the grainfill on the back and sides at this point, as I needed that before sprating) After it tacked up a bit, I removed the tape, and after it fully cured, a little time spent with the card scraper removed any epoxy that had gotten on the maple.

I did a bit of level sanding as needed on the grainfill as needed at this point too - I figured it was easier to do then rather than after the top and neck were dyed.

Then I dyed the maple green (ugh - not my choice, but my brother asked for it!) using what was my understanding of the usual method. (I dyed darker and sanded back a bit, rather than dying black and sanding back) Anywhere any dye got on the epoxied bits, it wiped right up with a rag that had a bit of alcohol on it. (In retrospect, I probably would have masked off those parts with a quick run of masking tape, just to make clean up easier) I avoided wiping up over-stain right next to the line, as that had a tendency to pull the dye from the maple a bit.

After the dying was done and dry, there where still a few spots where the veneer and the walnut where greenish. Fortunately, this was just the surface layer of the epoxy taking a bit of dye. (Probably because my alcohol based-dye was acting as a bit of solvent on my epoxy) a quick pass with a card scraper removed this surface haze, taking off the greenish tint, and still left a bit of epoxied surface underneath.

I wish I had photos - I'll have to get some at some point - but the thing is hanging in my parent's basement, waiting for the finish to cure. (I do all my spraying with my father's compressor.)

That was just my method, and I don't claim it to be the best. I just sort of went with what I thought would work well, and it seemed to be okay. I think if you were doing something like the instrument pictured, you might just be able to get away with masking with tape before the dye, and scraping down any runs afterwards, but since I needed to grainfill anyway, I liked the extra security the epoxy provided against dye seepage, particularly as I was trying to protect all those veneers accent lines. (A drop of green would just soak into the veneer and be a pain to remove.)

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I've used this stuff:

Fibre Veneer

from LMI as a veneer layer. I haven't tried it for what you are proposing, but it seemed like it is somewhat "plasticy"; it's basically impregmated with epoxy or something. I had wondered if it would resist being colored by water based dye. I don't have any left to try it on.

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