General tech questions

How much orange stain for a maple top?

1

I have a piece of maple to make a top of a guitar - let's say it'll be a Bo Diddley retangular shape.

I want it to be stained in orange, so I ordered a bottle of Colortone Liquid Stain. There's 2 FL. OZ. in the bottle and reducing ratio is 2 oz dye per 2 qts solvent.

Maybe I can figure out what is oz and what is qt, and what would be the actual ratio in SI units, but does someone here know, how many guitars I could stain with that one 2 oz bottle of dye.

Am I correct that a quart is around 1000 ml (1 litre) and fluid ounce is 3 cl (a little shot of whiskey). So if the ratio is 2 oz to 2 quarts I would get about 2 litres of dye? Seems like an awful lot.

2

Yes it goes a long way, will you be adding it to lacquer and spraying it on as a tint, or wiping it on the wood. It pays to do a lot of testing either way, read up on it.

3

I use this brand of dye and hate to say it but I never measure, just mix until I get the color or results that I want. If I had to approximate in plain terms I would say, a half of a pint glass of solvent with one table spoon of dye. This is probubly not strong enough to produce the color you want in one coat, I spray with an automotive style cup gun. I like to build a couple of coats even 5 or 6 to slowly come to the final color. This way if you spray an uneven coat, you can blend it with the subsequent coats. Let each coat dry well (time depends on temp) but 5 to 20 mins is probably enough and don't spray too wet. Like spraying with any new material, practice on a scrap. Laying a coat on too dry just takes too long, too wet and the previous color coats get splotchy. Oh, and I spray this as a tint over a guitar that has a sealer coat on it. I don't do much raw wood color staining.

4

Thanks, I think I'll be wiping the dye straight into wood.

And then use something to clear coat it. Probably with some waterbase acrylic clear and brushes. (I don't usually spray anything, no equipment nor know-how).

5

Personally, I would stay away from any "water based" clears. Only good trait is that the cleanup is with water. Nothing but headaches after that.

6

Note two extremely valuable bits of advice above:

  • Do not "stain" the wood directly. This is an amateur night recipe for trouble. Seal the wood with a clear coat (or a few depending on how lightly you spray), then add color in the finish layers.

  • Water based finishes can work great - and the furniture industry really has gotten this down very well. But it requires some very careful techniques to deal with wood movement when moisture is involved - such as a spraying with a very thin (with water) coat of sealer then sanding to stabilize the wood under subsequent color and finish coats. But without expertise and experience I would avoid water based finishes.

In any case, "staining" wood directly has some pretty significant downsides. At the very least I would pre-treat the wood to (somewhat) improve the even absorption of color into the wood.

Experts who stain wood daily can get quite good results, but we re talking about one-off or occasional users here I assume?

Last tedious comment: The only thing harder than getting the equipment and learning to spray is not getting the equipment and learning to spray.

In my opinion.

Chris

7

Note two extremely valuable bits of advice above:

  • Do not "stain" the wood directly. This is an amateur night recipe for trouble. Seal the wood with a clear coat (or a few depending on how lightly you spray), then add color in the finish layers.

  • Water based finishes can work great - and the furniture industry really has gotten this down very well. But it requires some very careful techniques to deal with wood movement when moisture is involved - such as a spraying with a very thin (with water) coat of sealer then sanding to stabilize the wood under subsequent color and finish coats. But without expertise and experience I would avoid water based finishes.

In any case, "staining" wood directly has some pretty significant downsides. At the very least I would pre-treat the wood to (somewhat) improve the even absorption of color into the wood.

Experts who stain wood daily can get quite good results, but we re talking about one-off or occasional users here I assume?

Last tedious comment: The only thing harder than getting the equipment and learning to spray is not getting the equipment and learning to spray.

In my opinion.

Chris

– chrisp2

+1

I have done stain on raw wood, over a clear coat, and used tinted lacquer. Those are in order of most difficult to easiest to obtain good results. Every time I've done stain, I've regretted not just doing tinted lacquer. I've gotten desired results from staining but not without the cost of more time and testing.

I built musical instruments for a living, and every time we used a stain, we lost money (on that option) because of the amount of time/testing needed. Plus, if it didn't turn out right we had to do an opaque finish on that instead and try again with another instrument. That was with more experienced finishers than I. Our production standards were/are (I don't work there anymore) very high, much higher than I have for my own instruments (as far as aesthetics go).

If you can add the stain to lacquer/a clear finish, that will be the easiest way to get good results. I personally would just go with reranch orange and tinted clear to yellow it as needed. The rr orange is easy and doesn't streak. It's a deeper orange, so I would just do a couple/few coats and then fog the tinted clear to yellow it if you want the lighter 50's gretsch orange. Then just do your regular clear coats.

That's just my opinion. Either way, I wish you good luck and lots of patience.

8

Thanks for your advice, guys! Maybe I seal the wood first, maybe I try tinting the clear.

But I really like the acrylic furmiture water based clear we have here. And I'll use brushes - that's how I've done opaque finishes before. They look okayish enough.

9

I use this type of dye regularly in my woodworking business. The terms dye and stain are often used interchangeably, but they are different beasts. A stain is colored particles suspended in a thinned binder, and tends to obscure grain( a good thing if you're trying to make, say a piece of poplar look like cherry), where a dye penetrates and colors the fibers. I would only seal the wood with a way thinned sealant on blotch prone woods like maple or birch. You just need enough to slow down the absorption in the wood where the tubes of fibers bends up to the surface of the wood rather than parallel. I generally spray my dyes with alcohol , sneaking up of the color. If I was to do it by hand, I would first raise the grain by wetting the wood with water, let dry, then sand with fresh 220-320 grit paper, just enough to remove the rough fibers sticking up. Don't overdo it here, the idea is to not have to much raised grain when you flood it with water diluted dye. Yes, flood it, wipe clean with paper towels and let thoroughly dry.(rule # 1, always make test samples first on a piece of scrap, the bigger the better.) If the wood is blotch prone, I use a glue size first rather than a thinned sealer as a general rule, but either works. One thing to be aware of, these new metallic dyes are much improved over the old anilines with regard to fading, but will still fade with time compared to stains, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Also, remember rule #2, at all times obey rule #1 ! Good luck!

10

Opie, could you enlight me of the difference between glue size and thinned sealer? (Or a wash coat). I read descriptions of all those but they all seem to refer to putting somekind of a coat of stuff at the wood before adding color. (And glue-size points me to preparing canvas with hide glue in oil painting, Rembrandt etc.).

Somehow I get the idea that dye shouldn't be applied straight into wood since the coat of color would be uneven.

Just wondering, when I'm going to clear coat after staining, could I use the same clear coat under the stain/dye as a sealer/wash coat/gluesize?

11

Opie, could you enlight me of the difference between glue size and thinned sealer? (Or a wash coat). I read descriptions of all those but they all seem to refer to putting somekind of a coat of stuff at the wood before adding color. (And glue-size points me to preparing canvas with hide glue in oil painting, Rembrandt etc.).

Somehow I get the idea that dye shouldn't be applied straight into wood since the coat of color would be uneven.

Just wondering, when I'm going to clear coat after staining, could I use the same clear coat under the stain/dye as a sealer/wash coat/gluesize?

– ChesterTheThird

The difference between glue size and thinned sealer is the glue size , being thinned hide glue , is water based rather than solvent. I wouldn't use a size at all unless the wood requires it. It makes it harder to get deep colors. If it does, how much thinner to sealer you use will vary, use just enough to keep it from blotching. Remember rule #1, make sample boards first. If you were to attempt to apply dye like a stain it would indeed be uneven, that's why you flood it, and wipe off excess promptly. Being flooded, it can take no more, just sits there until wiped up. Try it on a sample, you'll see what I mean. As long as you keep it wet you're golden. The dye penetrates farther into the wood, so there is less chance of sanding through to white wood in later sandings.

Off course if you spray, do just the opposite, dust it on in multiple passes until you reach your target color.

You can probably use your clear coat to make your washcoat, depending on what finish you're using.(most anything that's not 2 component). If you use dewaxed shellac, you can use it as a wash and seal coat under anything with the possible exception of 2 component poly, and you might with it, I'm not experienced with it as it takes serious make up air respirators due to how toxic it is.


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