|Ready for my closeup Mr. Lucas|
Let's finish this sucker!
One odd note: After I sand the body to 400 grit - I usually brush off all the sawdust with a large brush, then wipe the body down with mineral spirits to get off all the dust on the surface and in the wood pores. Finally, I use a tack cloth as a final way of getting all of the dust off the body - so it doesn't get trapped under the finish. For some reason the tack cloth left a sticky residue on the cocobolo strip in the middle. It was bad enough that I had to remove it with acetone. I'm not sure what happened - but if you are playing the Luthier Home game - it's something to look out for.
|Pictured: "Practical" effects|
I taped off the sides of the body with painter's tape so that I would keep the dye to just the top.
Yeah, if you've ever used painter's tape when painting a room - you know how effective it is.
I had mixed up the brown dye earlier in the day. Again, I'm using TransTint concentrated dye with denatured alcohol as the solvent. I rubbed the dye on using an old cotton rag - going with the grain.
|"Think it'll work?"|
"It would take a miracle"
|"You look marvelous!"|
The dye dried remarkably fast (a plus over water-based dyes). Like all of my test strips the color seems to be less vibrant once it drys. But when I hit it with the shellac it should come right back to life.
|Pictured: Mostly dead (which is slightly alive)|
I didn't take any pictures of it but the dye did spill over the top and run down the sides in a couple of places. I had to drop back to 220 sandpaper to get rid of the blemishes on the sides of the guitar (then work my way back up to 400 to match the rest of the body). I'm not saying that taping the body off doesn't work - it does. Just don't use painter's tape. It's pretty useless. When I did the second coat of stain I used plain old masking tape to tape/mask off the body and it worked much better. It has a higher tack which keeps it adhered to the body. Just be careful - if I had used the masking tape directly on the maple - it probably would have pulled away some of the wood when I removed it.
|Round 2: Fight!|
So, I'm not going to go for a third pass. It's time to put a coat of shellac on this puppy.
I'm using shellac for three things: 1) To add depth to the color and flame of the maple. 2) To seal the cocobolo (which doesn't take a finish well but does take shellac well - and I can add a finish over that). 3) To act as a sanding sealer - which helps fill the wood pores and seal off the color/dye from the finish.
Now that the top is stained I am going to shellac the whole body (then spray the whole body) so now is a good time to mount the guitar on a spray stick. This will make it easy to get at the whole body all at once and allow me to hang the body for drying. It's also useful for mounting the body in my bench vise. So, handy all around!
|On a stick...|
|"That's some funky lemonade you got going there baby"|
There are a few ways to apply shellac: with a brush, with a sponge/rag, or using a pad (for when you are doing a french polish). I started out using a foam brush. It's supposed to cut down on visible brush strokes and give you a smooth result. Well, that was not my experience...
A few things were going on here:
- The shellac wasn't fully dry when I took the above photo.
- I put WAAAAY too much on - the coat was very thick.
- I went over my mistakes as they were drying - which you shouldn't do with shellac. You should wait until it's dry before applying more shellac.
Once the first coat was dry I switched to a rag and applied the shellac a bit thinner. I was able to even out the look, color, and thickness of the shellac with the second coat - and it looks better.
One of the great things about shellac is that it dissolves itself - so when you put on a second or third coat - it is melting into the previous coat. This helps cover up boo boos. And I'm good at making the boo boos - so anything that helps cover them up is appreciated.
|Much more better!|