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Need help with staining mahogany

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bassgiant15, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I know this is a bass forum, but i had to ask here since i mainly play bass.

    I am working on staining a mahogany telecaster body. I want to stain it black and want it to be pretty dark. This is the first time i have ever stained a guitar and just want to do the best job that i can on it.

    Can anyone recommend me some materials as far as applying the stain and also a basic outline for me.

    Also, if someone knows of a black stain that i can get from Lowes or Home Depot that i could get more easily than ordering from stew mac....I would greatly appreciate it!!! (I am a noob and don't know much about what kind of stain to use)

    This is what i ordered, but i will send it back if i can get more black stain locally in a greater abundance. http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/product/5032

    I have this link to go on so far:http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Finishing/Finishing_schedules/i-nitrocellulose.html

    Also, this for a bit of pictures:

    I have been told elsewhere to "buy some black leather dye, it'll work perfectly. Wipe it on with a paper towel or a rag you can throw away. Just keep applying coats evenly until it's as dark as you want."

    Will this work better than the stain?

    Many many thanks to anyone that can lend me some advice/help!!!!
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    You can get some stains from HD or Lowes (I'd suggest a brand like "minwax"). You'd want to get close to an ebony type color, if you're going dark, However, do yourself a favor and slightly wet down the surface with water before applying it, so it doesn't bleed too far into the wood,just in case you're trying not to get completely black, plus you can remove it without having to sand down too much as well.
  3. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Many thanks for the reply and the tip about wetting down the surface before applying!!!!

    Would this work: http://www.lowes.com/pd_88350-24-619950444_0_?productId=3122787&Ntt=minwax%20black%20stain&Ntk=i_products&pl=1&currentURL=/pl__0__s?newSearch=true$Ntt=minwax%20black%20stain$y=0$x=0

    I am wanting to stain it pretty dark i would say. As dark as i can get it is what i am going for.
  4. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    Hello! Just watched your you-tube vid,nice job! I can't offer any input on the leather dye,but I am the finish-meister at a custom woodshop(6yrs),and can offer input from my exp. there.
    The leather dye may work,but your guitar isn't made of leather. Minwax has a stain called "JACOBEAN" which will leave you with a trans-black finish. The pores in the grain will be pitch black,and the graining will show a lighter shade of black(about 40% lighter)
    As mentioned before,you can tune your shade by applying more coats,and this stain is readily available just about anywhere for about 7bucks/quart. And it's made for wood ;)
    To ensure even application,they also make a wood conditioner that you rub in and let flash off for 10min before staining,but this process is mainly for light woods(pine/maple/ash etc.) and you shouldn't have any worries w/mahogany.
    I saw you wetted the surface prior to staining. O.K. if you're using a water-based stain,but if not,be sure to let it dry completely before staining! I assume you did this to raise the grain/open the pores for deeper stain penetration.If so,I suggest using a brush for application(w/grain direction),as rag-rubbing will crush and close the little "furs" into the pores.
    Lastly,let each coat dry for a few hours before passing judgement. Oh,also,how the wood is sanded GREATLY affects the way it takes stain.If you plan on adding a clear-coat,I would sand the wood to 120grit,stain to color pref.,apply clear,then do my fine/extra-fine sanding between coats of clear. Fine sanding(220grit/higher)before staining "closes" the pores in the grain,allowing less stain to penetrate the wood,making for a lighter finish.
    GOOD LUCK! I hope this helps! :)
  5. Your link is no go. But if its the minwax "stain and finish" in one stuff then it won't really stain anything. Its more paint then stain. In which case you might as well paint it.
  6. Tdog


    May 18, 2004
    If you want black.......Fiebings Leather Dye is the way to go. Get USMC Black....It doesn't get any blacker! I've used this stuff for years and works very well. It is about $4 a bottle and goes a long way. You can find it on Amazon. Gibson has used this stuff forever to dye ebony fretboards black....(ebony is not always perfectly black).

    Don't worry about using a leather dye on wood....It Will Work Very Well.


  7. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Thanks for the info. :)

    By the way, the youtube was actually just reference for me. It wasn't actually my doing.....wish it was though. :)

    Could someone post a link for me to something from Lowes or Home Depot that i could get that is a black stain? If possible i am wanting to get something close to as black as this: http://www.long-mcquade.com/files/3037/lg_Corvette-Taranis.jpg

    My other question is do i need one that is alcohol based or water based. I'm assuming waterbased...

    Again i really appreciate everyone's help with this. I am wanting to get started this weekend if possible.
  8. If your looking to have that heavy grain look then mahogany won't cut it.
  9. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Don't they also sand blast those bodies a bit to get the enhanced grain, or something?
  10. So they say. The grain in ash is "enhanced" by nature IMO.
  11. Dream Weaver

    Dream Weaver

    Jul 11, 2009
    Black leather dye straight up will give you black... It is some intense stuff. I used it on some oak panels in an ent center and it is nothing but black, no greys, just deep rich black. I don't know if you will see any grain once the finish is on. Since it is super cheap, I'd buy some to test out on a piece of mahogany first, then toss some finish on it. The end result may look more painted than stained. It penetrates pretty deep too. I had it bleed through my 1/8" panels.
  12. hey what finish did you put over the leather dye?
  13. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Thanks for the info.

    so then would a water based black stain (probably many coats of it) get me close to as dark as a Warwick Double Buck color? Warwick's nirvana black is basically what i am going for.

    Like this: http://www.ethereality.info/ethereality_website/about_me/images/workspace/126_elm/warwick_corvette_db5-1.jpg
  14. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Boy, lots of "information" in this thread. bassgiant15, keep reading, or look up seasoned builders on this site and PM them for input.

    Leather dye is just aniline dye, it works fine on any even remotely porous surface. Try getting a spot off of your concrete floor if you don't believe me.

    Minwax ebony or jacobean will get you the colour you want (I'd go with ebony over jacobean as the latter is really a very dark brown while the former is actually black), but the finish on the warwick you posted is probably not going to be possible on your guitar. That warwick has been mediablasted to enhance the grain which is already naturally much more pronounced than your instrument. Then its either painted or stained and then shot with a matte coating to keep it wood-looking.

    If you want the vibe of the warwick, I'd personally scrub the whole guitar with a brass wire brush (not steel) to open as much pore as possible, and then stain it with ebony before sanding and applying a non-water-based satin clear. Don't bother with nitro, unless you're just going with solid black with no grain visibility. At least it will be closer, but I really don't think its going to turn out anything like that photo. Sorry if this bursts your bubble...
  15. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Many thanks for the input!!! :)

    Didn't burst my bubble at all.

    Like you mentioned, I think that minwax ebony is probably the closest i will get to that warwick color. I guess i am just going for the same shade as the warwick and not necessarily the same absolute finish. I'll probably try to find some of that minwax ebony locally as well as try out the brass wire brush trick you mentioned as well. Thanks again for the input.
  16. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    well i did some staining and didn't like it...

    here is how it turned out [​IMG]

    so i sanded it back down and it looks like this now:


    i got some of this http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2007234/24140/Black-Jet-Solar-Lux-Stain.aspx hoping that it will be black and still show the wood grain underneath.

    Has anyone used this brand before and seen how it will turn out? I am just not wanting to have to sand it down again if possible.
  17. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    iron acetate - a chemical stain - will give you black on most mahogany while keeping grain.
  18. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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