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Stain woes

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Hi All,

Never proffessed to know just what the ham I was doing when it comes to finishing. It took me 4 guitars to get french polishing down, at least 4 to get the filling steps down, and now the stain. I tried it for the first time on my current J-45 build (just the neck, rosewood body) and what a deal it has turned out to be.

I mixed some red mahogany and dark walnut (as suggested here) and then probably did the mother of all dumb things. I applied it with a brush and then let it dry. BAD guitar builder!!! Directions on the can said nothing about wiping off the excess. Long story short, I spent 2 hours sanding the neck and headstock and then reaplied the stain correctly, but now afraid I'm stuck with some small areas of darker and lighter shades of color. I still have the fill process to go also, so I'm hoping it doesn't turn out to bad.

Frustrated Dave

Jul 09, 09 | 4:07 pm
Bill Cory

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Heck Dave -- It's all a learning process. I think we've all done something like that. It all comes down to how lucky we are to have sandpaper. :-)

Llike my friend said, "Ain't a mistake if you can fix it!"

Jul 09, 09 | 5:49 pm
Ken C

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Dave, not having seen pictures of the guitar, your dark spots may also be attributed to the type of wood you are staining. Some woods just don't accept stain evenly. I haven't stained mahogany, but my understanding is that blotchiness can be an issue with it. I have stained both cherry and pine, which can at times be buggers to get an even stain. Wood conditioners applied before staining, especially around end grain, can help reduce blotchiness.


Jul 12, 09 | 6:22 pm

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Would it help even things out if you now stain a shade darker?

Jul 24, 09 | 7:15 pm

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Dave I suppose for me I had to stop comparing my work to that of luthiers or production guitars. In the end I'm building my guitars to play and I'm not aspiring to become a luthier.

As long as they sound nice.

Jul 25, 09 | 4:16 pm

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Hi Guys,

Andy, I love your attitude! Unfortunately, I have built more than a few and want to continue doing so. Does that mean I'm a Luthier? Naw, I just like to build. However< I'm hard on myself, I am an inspector by trade... hard to shake.

Ken C, I think you hit the nail on the head! I was dissapointed witgh the neck I got from Hanalie Moon right from the git go. It was "soft" feeling, not a good hard solid piece of mahogany. The stain sunk right into the softer spots and made everything look "splotchy".

Every guitar teaches me something.


Jul 27, 09 | 9:55 pm
Ken C

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Total Posts: 554
Hi Dave,

Surprised to hear the neck you got from Chris at Hanalei Moon didn't work out well. He made the 5 piece neck for the maple SJ I recently completed. That was a pretty good neck, and he just completed a one piece African mahogany neck for the Mad rose OM I am building.


Aug 02, 09 | 3:03 pm

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