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How to acheive this type of finish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by kentiki, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    Any suggestions on how to acheive this type of finish? Any suggestions welcome?

  2. Traynor


    Feb 13, 2014
    Broomall, PA
    It looks like that finish was achieved by staining the wood black, and then sanding it enough to remove some of the staining but not all of it. And then multiple coats of clear lacquer were applied on top.
    PortlandBass77 likes this.
  3. s2bs2


    Apr 1, 2009
    Sonoma, CA.
    looks like white grain filler, and then black stain, etc.
    PortlandBass77 likes this.
  4. If I were going to give it a go I'd :

    Sand swamp ash body to 120
    Use a super concentrated water based trans black dye.
    knock off the fluff (180 or something) and dye again.
    carefully but not excessively, grain fill with natural or white, (probably water based)
    knock back the grain filler (220) till the black comes back.
    rub a light concentrated trans black (probably alcohol based) to bring back the black and makes the white grain filler gray.

    shoot the whole thing with 2k urethane, sand, buff whatever.
    Rano Bass and PortlandBass77 like this.
  5. Mahataru


    Apr 7, 2013
    I used to work in the finish department for a larger high end guitar maker that did this type of finish.
    This look is achieved by:
    - staining the wood black
    - sealing the wood with a light coat of sealer or whatever you are using for your topcoat
    - porefilling over the seal coat with white fill
    - then seal over porefill and proceed with normal topcoating

    It is imperative that you seal the stained wood before applying the porefill. The seal coat must be thin enough to leave the pores open, but thick enough to keep the porefill from getting caught up in the general texture of the wood surface between the pores.
    Rano Bass and Deep Cat like this.
  6. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    What did you use for the white fill?
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Spackle, wall filler, plaster of paris, white pore filler, etcetera. This is also called a "pickle" finish. You can dye the filler a contrasting colour too, like red or bright green, etc...
  8. BeeTL

    BeeTL Commercial User

    Sep 26, 2006
    Oldsmar, FL
    Brad Lowe, Lowe Custom Guitars
    Everybody here has given good advice.

    Woodworkers call this finish "ceruse".

    Google ceruse wood finish and you'll get lots of ideas.

    My favorite version is Kauer Guitars' Starry Night.
    BassHappy likes this.
  9. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    The pics are actually of a Kauer.
    BeeTL likes this.
  10. BeeTL

    BeeTL Commercial User

    Sep 26, 2006
    Oldsmar, FL
    Brad Lowe, Lowe Custom Guitars
    Too funny!

    I was browsing on my phone...I guess I've never seen a Daylighter bass from behind.


    Google "kauer dougk starry night" and you can find out exactly how he does it, then.

    I think he also called it "dog hair" early on.

    He's discussed it at least a few time online at Reranch and the My Les Paul forums.
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    get a black gloss guitar and then draw the wood grain on with a fine tip white paint marker, just kidding, don't do that
  12. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
  13. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Right. Paint the whole thing white then use a black magic marker. She's a black magic marker trying to make a pencil out of me...
    mpdd likes this.
  14. Gully Foyle

    Gully Foyle

    Sep 28, 2014
    Near Boston
    20150215_174312. I recently did this finish, ceruse type like you are looking for.

    The clears are up to you, and you'll need to think about compatibility, but here's what I did.

    Raise the grain with water, sand it back with 400, repeat 3 times. Dye black with aniline dye, or india ink.

    5-6 wipe on thin coats of 1lb cut platina shellac, mix it yourself.

    Then white grain filler, rubbing it all off briskly once it begins to set, the white will stay in the grain.

    Then, seal the fill with some more shellac.

    Clear coat and finish as you like. Mine was water based wipe on poly, with the gloss knocked back
    BassHappy likes this.
  15. Mahataru


    Apr 7, 2013
    The pore fill they use is made by a company called Chemcraft. Its a solvent based grain filler that is meant to be rubbed on and wiped off while wet to avoid having to sand off hardened filler paste. The advantage of avoiding having to sand back hardened grain filler is that it allows you to avoid the risk of sanding through the stain (in this case black dye) that is under the pore filler and sealer.

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