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Staining/Finishing Questions-Peavey Grind

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Modulus1906, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Modulus1906


    May 5, 2009
    Hello Bass Brothers,

    I need some help. I'm trying to refinish a Peavey Grind 6 string bass that I bought new about a year ago. The bass is Imbuia wood and had a dark brown tint to it. I wanted to refinish to more of a reddish brown finish (mahogany or similar). I've sanded the bass down to 220 grit and need answers to the following questions before I proceed:

    (1) If I'm ultimately going to put either a polyurethane or tung oil finish (e.g., Fornby's low gloss or similar) on top of the mahogany stain, are there any benefits to sanding the bass to 320 or up to 400 grit to get a smoother surface before staining, or would sanding to a finer grit before staining be considered an unnecessary "diminishing return" since I'm going to sand the poly or tung oil finish coat to a finer grit anyway (at least to 600)? I'm assuming the Imbuia wood (similar to walnut) would absorb the stain fairly well up to at least 320 grit, possibly 400

    (2) Would pigment-based stain work well with 320 or 400 grit sanding or should I use a dye-based stain? Is the term "penetrating stain" just another name for "dye-based" stain? From my research, dye-based stains allow wood grain to show which is what I want, so I really need to make sure I understand terminology.

    (3) Any brand recommendations notably for dye-based stains? I prefer not to have to mix anything

    (4) Should I use a wood conditioner B4 staining and a sanding sealer after staining? I've read that wood conditioners don't always acheive the "uniform" stain look as intended.

    (5) What's the highest grit you'd recommend on the poly/tung oil finish to get a good slick/glassy, satin finish? FYI, I intend to wet sand

    Thanks for any advice
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you're hoping to change the color of your bass while retaining as much clarity as possible, I would definitely use dye instead of pigmented stain. That said, all dyes are definitely not created equal; my personal preference would be Transtint:


    You'll find answers to most, if not all, of your questions on the Homestead website (above). If you still have unanswered questions after visiting the Homestead site, please let us know.
  3. Modulus1906


    May 5, 2009
    Thank you sir. Have you had best results mixing the Transtint with water or some other means such as alchohol, etc? If water, would you pre raise the grain or just sand the raised grain down after the first or second coat of stain? Thanks again.
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    As far as wood prep is concerned, yes, I do a pre-grain raise before using water-borne finishes and hygroscopic products, like alcohol. After prepping the wood through 220-grit, I wet the wood and allow it to dry; if the species contains high levels of tannic acid, e.g., oak, I use distilled water as a preventative measure.

    When dry, I hand-sand with the grain to remove all of the "Whiskers" using 400-grit or finer abrasive paper. I prefer not to sand a freshly stained or dyed surface unless it's unavoidable. I get a great finish when I seal the dyed surface with de-waxed shellac, which I sand flat, level, and smooth before proceeding with the clear coats.

    When students of mine are going to use dye for the first time, I usually encourage them to dilute with water unless they are spraying or it's a very small project. Water-reduced dye remains wet longer than alcohol-reduced dye, and it can be challenging to wipe alcohol-reduced dye and obtain consistent coverage before the alcohol evaporates.

    When I apply water-reduced dye, I always follow with two coats of ~1.5# cut de-waxed shellac (thinned Zinsser Seal Coat), if I intend to use a water-borne clear coat. Otherwise, there's a chance that the water-borne clear coat will liquify the dye and create a huge mess.

    Hope this helps. Lemme know if you still have questions. :)
  5. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    i would just add to this that you'll want to leave the bass flat when you spray your sealer coat with the Zinnser. Spray one side (top and bottom) at a time and let each dry, otherwise you might get a run or drip pulled out of your color coat if the bass is upright and gravity is able to take over. Fortunately the stuff usually sets up in about a half hour so you're not looking at a big delay.

  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    [sniff][tear]I love it when people use technical terms :smug:[/sniff][/tear]
  7. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    The cost of brevity? ;)