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Staining Mahogony

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This is similar to Kevin's method, but without the veneer. Its a solid mahogany neckthrough. Prior to filling the grain I laid three heavy coats of dark red mahogany stain down and worked it right into the grain with a rag.


Then I sanded everything right back down leaving the remains of the stain in the open grain areas. (Sorry about the irritating rhyming) This was a good way to enhance the grain of the wood, especially if its a relatively nonfigured wood. Then fill the grain and apply clearcoat. In this case polyurethane.


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Hmmm... "The stain's remains are mainly in the grain..." :D

Seriously, looks good to me, Southpa - <old codger moment> in the old days, furniture finishers used to fill mahogany with a red oxide filler, sand it smooth and cover it with a dark transparent toner to give cheaper (and lighter colored) mahogany a richer look, and Gibson used a red filler on their heritage cherry finishes</old codger moment>.

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wow, they all look excellent, even your's does Wes - although you probably can't really see the figuring in reality, it looks alright in the picture.

and southpa, i can't see your pics, so i fixed the links up:



i want to stain a Mahogany guitar black. i am not really bothered about the figuring, i just want a black guitar, but not a solid black poly guitar if you know what i mean. so would i just stain the wood black, fill it and poly it? if so, what filler would you recommend? who would i apply it and so on?

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I guess I should have shown what the wood looked like originally, ie. before staining.


And thanks for straightening things out Page_Master, what did you do, btw? I've been thru too many picture hosting sites that eventually want money or folks need a password just to view my pictures. And there are always a few hitches in posting the pics elsewhere like this site.

Anyway, back to the wood. You can see a BIG difference in color tone from beginning to end, namely because mahogany is such a porous wood. If you want a black guitar but still want to allow some of the figure/grain showing thru then I would imagine the darkest stain you can find would do the trick. Experiment with black walnut, maybe? You can rub it in with a rag or brush it on. Sand lightly and evenly then apply a clear grain filler. Read LGM's tutorial on finishing and choose your poison, :D . He likes polyurethane and so do I as long as it remains uncontaminated throughout the finishing process. Poly also lays down thicker and actually helps fill the grain quite nicely.

My next guitar will be similar to this one (stolen) but I'm going to go a different route in the finish. Kingfisher blue stain and then clear grain filler then laquer clearcoat.

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hmmm i never really noticed, but that right horn looks a little off :D

but i like how that fingerboard is aging B)


no the horn is not off..the crappy camera just makes it blend with the chair.this is the same picture as in the gotm thread...if the fingrboard aged in the picture inside the computer then wow...i got problems :D

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hey Southpa

thanx for the info. i was thinking of that, i just wanted to be sure. B)

anyway, to fix those pics up, all you have to do is get rid of the ".ori" in "http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid101/pc19c8991026205ecfdc271bc2730eb95/f9e003e6.jpg.ori" in other words, the URL was named incorrectly. if you ever want to show a single picture, make sure that the picture format, whether it is ".jpg" or ".gif" ".bmp" is at the end of the URL. for example, like this: http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid1...95/f9e003e6.jpg

so then all you have to do is click the IMG icon on the top and copy that URL in the box like so. and here is the finished product:


enjoy! :D

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There is a picture in the gallery of a telecaster I built and finished in a natural mahogany. Here is the best process I found worked best:

1) Sand back to 220

2) Apply DARK grain filler

3) scrape with Credit Card and back with 320 - repeat 2 & 3 until all grain is filled

4) shoot a few coats of sanding sealer

5) sand flat (no bumps in the finish)

6) at this point you can apply a dye (water or alcohol, I prefer alcohol)

7) seal with a few more sanding sealer coats

8) sand flat again

9) apply nitro finish

I choose not to apply any dye since I really liked the look after just the grain filler. The dark grain filler will darken the wood a bit. Do not use the light grain filler - it will leave little white specks in the grain and really looks pretty bad.

hope that helps.


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