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Sandwich / Stain / Tru Oil

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I like the sandwich look on a guitar, two pieces of wood with a different colour wood in between.

I was wondering if it's possible to get this effect by masking off the body (all alder) and appling tru oil to stop the middle section be stained then taking off the masking to stain the body. Would this work? Would the stain creep under the oil / stain the oil? Would the oil go through the masking tape?

Does alder look anything like maple when oiled (colour wise)?

How hard would it be to stain hard maple? I've heard it doesn't take stain well, does that mean it's a lot of work or just not possible?


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I'm not sure if it would work with Tru-oil or not. Seems to me like it probably would, but some testing would be in order.

The general idea most definitely works, though. I have a few guitars that have a "natural binding effect" created by having masked off the edge of the maple top and leaving it uncolored, just cleared over, while the top and the rest of the sides are stained.

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I've actually been experimenting with this for the last couple weeks.

I've seen it done before with brush on lacquer and it worked perfectly. I haven't tried that yet. I have some wipe on poly in my shop that I might try.

I've tried it with shellac and oil dye but it didn't work too well. I think the alcohol in the shellac seeps under the tape and makes it impossible to get a solid line.

I haven't tried oil, but I doubt it'll work. Most oil finishes don't sit on the wood, but rather they go into it. You would have to sand back the actual wood to get past the dye on the oil. In other words, it wouldn't make much difference.

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It certainly works with stain, but I have never used tru oil.

I do this with maple and birch skateboards. I can get razor sharp lines by masking the area that will remain unstained and make sure that the tape goes over the intended 'hard' line. Take a straight edge and a sharp razor blade and cut the tape on the exact line that you want the stain to begin and make sure that the blade scores the wood - you want to split the wood fibres to prevent seepage. Then I use a cloth soaked with stain and put on very light coats, building up the color over days. Get too greedy and you get to sand it back down and start over.

Again, I've only done this with skateboards and never with tru oil, but it's worth seeing if the technique will work for geetars.



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Why shellac? Why not just use brush on lacquer? That's what I used to stop stain from getting onto my bindings in the last guitar I built. HOWEVER, I am building a humidor that will have stain, but also be tru-oil finished... so I WILL be trying this in the somewhat near future. So when I get around to it, I'll let ya'll know if I remember...


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