General tech questions

Make grain pop with a dark stain?

1

Hey. A friend is working on fixing up a disappointing custom build for me. We are looking for a way to get birdseye figure to "pop" with a dark red stain. Any ideas from the luthiers among us? Black grain filler and then sand? Any other tricks?

2

There really isn't any grain to fill in Birdseye maple so don't bother with filler. Dilute a brown(or your color red) analine stain so it's barely brown, apply and wipe off, the end grain will slowly accept the color and gives you time to sneak up on it. This will raise the grain a bit but some sanding will smooth it back out. Then, I like to use amber lacquer body coats, this will make the slight brown really pop. But, absolutely do some test pieces to get a feel for it.

3

Thanks. Basically looking for something like this.

5

You can't fool me---that's the same pipe in both pictures.

Lighting makes,a huge difference, doesn't it? Nice pipe, nice color. Good luck!

6

Of course it is the same pipe. Didn't mean to suggest otherwise. But the lighting highlights the color in different ways. So I posted both.

7

I've heard of grain alcohol but never heard of grain pop. I'm sure it would make a nasty stain. Be careful.

8

I used ebony Timbermate Wood Filler to fill the grain on this engineered birdseye maple veneer before staining it orange.

9

Beautiful. But what is engineered birdseye?

10

"It is real wood that is engineered and manipulated for consistent color and grain appearance". From this eBay auction Link I got mine on eBay last year and it was much less expensive than this, something like $30 for 5 sheets of 26" x 18". This stuff definitely needs grain filler. Keep in mind that I'm just a hobbyist - Jazzbox Junky's advice may be more sound.

11

I've heard of an interesting trick of using aluminum paste or paint to fill grain. Use a scraper or sand to take off the main coat and leave the grain filled. I presume gold could have the same effect. (I haven't actually tried this, but am planning to soon as I have several metal pigments laying around) I could see this being quite effective for Walnut, Oak, and other woods with wide open grain. I'm not sure the effect it would have on your veneer. Personally I'd go with the dark red stain like you originally stated. Then come back with some clear.

12

JazzBoxJunky nailed it...I use alcohol based dye for staining my instruments. For figured maple, a couple coats of very diluted black or dark brown wiped on will help accentuate the grain, then sand the surface back down and proceed with the remaining colors. Here's a banjo resonator I just stained using a black wash coat, followed by yellow, amber, and brown to build the burst. This was after the very first coat of clear and it only gets better with more coats

13

JazzBoxJunky nailed it...I use alcohol based dye for staining my instruments. For figured maple, a couple coats of very diluted black or dark brown wiped on will help accentuate the grain, then sand the surface back down and proceed with the remaining colors. Here's a banjo resonator I just stained using a black wash coat, followed by yellow, amber, and brown to build the burst. This was after the very first coat of clear and it only gets better with more coats

14

Dang double post, but I will say that you certainly can build contrast with just a single color, but it's harder to get the same depth and 3-dimensional look doing it that way. The trick is to build it up slowly. I apply stain with cheesecloth and squeeze most of the liquid out and build my colors fairly "dry" so to speak. It's easier to control that way and not get it too dark right away.

15

One of the guys at the Roundup had a Tele that he used Beet juice on the back. It had a simular effect. It looked great.


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