Stain not sticking to wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rugmaster, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. I am working on an SG styled bass kit that I ordered about a month ago.The body is solid mahogany with a flamed maple top. I am trying to stain the body using water based MINWAX and it is working fine except for a few spots where the stain is not sticking to the wood. I did not sand through the veneer but I did do a bit of extra sanding in these spots to get rid of some blemishes that were in the wood. If anyone could help with some info on how to fix this that would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. Pic.?
    Make sure to use clean sandpaper when pre-sanding for finish.
    And clean surface before applying stain.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I dislike stain for the very reason that it often ends up splotchy with some areas to dark and some areas looking like they have no stain on them. The fact that its water based stain probably doesn't help.

    I would sand it out as good as you can and try an oil based stain, or better yet a transient dye.
  4. I will have to do what I can with the stain for now, but thanks for the advice, if I ever do another one of these I will most likely go with dye

    Here is a picture of one of the spots, I took other ones but they didn't turn out very good. Also I should mention that I am going to give the guitar a green stain and that the black is just to bring out the pattern in the grain:


    (click to see it larger)
  5. J Posega

    J Posega Cat Dad and Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    To me, that does look like you sanded through the veneer.
  6. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    And still if there is some veneer left there is glue in the veneer that prevents water based stain to stick on to it.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    You have three options now. You can leave it alone and just finish the bass like it is. You can sand off the veneer and start over, or you can finish it in a solid color. The second would be the most difficult.

    If it were my bass, I would go with a sold color, probably a sparkle finish. But that's just me. Whatever you decide to do good luck with it.

  8. If the bad spots are just around the outside edges paint that a solid color like black you know burst.
  9. negativefx

    negativefx complete hack

    Feb 18, 2013
    Fort Collins
    Stain is great... If you use a spray gun. Brushes and rollers just leave a splotchy mess.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    +1 that's glue that you're trying to apply stain to. Sorry and I hope I'm wrong.
  11. Sure looks like you sanded thru the veneer.Commercial veneer is very,very thin
  12. I didn't sand through the veneer because I would be able to see the reddish colour of the mahogany if I did.. and I can also still see the pattern of the flamed maple in those spots if I look closely. About the glue thing, I read in a book that if that happens you can apply lacquer thinner to the spot and it will fix it up.. but I tried that already and it didn't work :(
  13. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses
    I wouldn't use lacquer thinner on veneer. Veneer is so thin that the lacquer thinner could soak thru and possibly dissolve the glue holding it to the body.
    A little on a rag rubbed on the surface should be ok, but applying it directly could end in disaster.
  14. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    It's easy to tell if you sanded through the veneer. Does the curl in the grain carry across the trouble area? Even though the stain isn't there the wood grain should still match. The pic you posted is pretty small but it looks like you sanded through from what I can see at this resolution. If you can still see the curl then the veneer is probably soaked with glue and stain won't adhere to that. For what its worth I work in a woodshop every day and that looks exactly like a sand though from the irregular shape and the fading look around the edges.

    Just because you can't see the mahogany yet doesn't mean you didn't sand through the face veneer. You could have a two layer veneer with a wood or paper substrate. You could also be looking at glue that hasn't been sanded through yet. Again, check the curl. If its gone then you sanded through.

    Edit: just saw you posted that the grain was still there. Like MPU said, its probably glue soaked through the veneer.
  15. So is there anything I can do to fix the glue situation?
  16. Relic it?
  17. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    You could turn it into a black burst finish, that would hide the flaw, and it would look pretty cool as well.
  18. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I think the black burst would look really nice. If I had to attempt a repair I would sand back the rest of the veneer until I had a uniform look. I would then use a clear sealer coat and apply the color using a tinted topcoat. The wood will never accept stain evenly so putting the color after the sealer would avoid absorption issues.
  19. Alright I think maybe I will try this blackburst design. Could anyone help me with what kind of paint/dye or whatever I will be using for it? Also, sending me to a website or video that has instructions would help. Thanks alot everyone:)