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This is a hearty hello and a pathetic cry for HELP,
I've had some great responses to my thread on staining tops. I resanding the tops and airbrushing the sunburst on. This seemed to work great except for one serious drawback. When the stain is dry it is reasonably even in appearance. When the stain is wet there is some very distrubing blotches that show up in the wood. I'm assuming that when I apply the lacquer the instrument will appear as it does when it is wet. Not good at all! There is something about the grain of these two tops that make them sound great and look terrible. Your opinions and suggestions are really needed on this little problem. What are my options? Resand and try again? Try to stain the top dark enough to blend out the blotches? Airbrush colored lacquer over the top to blend it in? Or http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif
I sure could use some advice right about now.
Thanks for your help,
If you are trying to get a very even look there were some good suggestions on your last thread for sealing the spruce. I personally donít like sealing before staining. While every piece of wood is different, it appears to me that this phenomenon is due to the natural end grain exposure due to carving an arch into the wood. Imagine holding a bunch of straws and cutting a curve shape into the top of the bunch elongating and exposing the ends. If you poured water on the whole bunch it would go into these exposed ends first.
Staining is the part of mandolin building where your artistic side takes over. Just look at a bunch of Loars and youíll see that they are all different and sometimes an unevenness adds allot of character. I believe each piece of wood dictates how dark/light and how big the burst should be. If itís too blotchy for you, keep going with the stain as it may need to be a little darker than you planned and a perfect burst pattern isnít necessarily the best thing anyway. Also keep in mind that the whole pattern will lighten and become more translucent, the grain will pop out more when the clear coat is applied and this does smooth things out a bit. It would be really great if you could post a picture as many of us could learn from the feedback of experienced builders.
Hereís a picture of a Loar that demonstrates the dark stain extending far enough towards the middle to eliminate the normal blotchy areas.
You have places that are taking more stain than others and thereby getting darker.
After you've done your yellow base and start your darker stains, if you see a dark place developing, stay away from it. You might have to add some stain to some of the lighter places too.
When you're blending your colors with a solvent rag, wring it out 'til it's pretty dry and rub fairly hard. If your rag is too wet, it will move more stain into the dark places and you can't wipe it off because it's soaking into the wood.
Did you say that picture is of a Loar? Is it a mandola? It looks to be the wrong shape for a mandolin.
sunburst, From F5journl, this is S/N 74000 July 9, 1923, Triple bound on sides, Identical to Monroe's Loar. The picture does look a litle funny like maybe it was stretched somehow. I like some of these darker bursts.
Some strange things happen when you spray lacquer on top of stain. And it's usually for the best.I think the lacquer blends with the stain, or somewhat re-liquifies it. But it usually makes what you may think isn't all that great, come to life. The combination of color and the clearcoat effect and the grain of the wood all come together and give that great sunburst effect.
You may be trying to make it too perfect. Sometimes it looks best when it's not 100% uniform.
Gail and sunburst,
#That's a 'dola. The Loar era H5's have that funky fatter scroll area. They also have the 13th fret marker there. Those pickguards are massive too!! Lets see, cover up all the f hole, that's gotta help the sound.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
OK you guys, good eyes. There was an error in the identification of the 74000 that I posted above. Iíve determined itís actually H5 Mandola, 76492 March 31, 1924. I posted it to illustrate the stain but thanks for keeping me honest. For the record hereís 74000.
I think I'd get that off the tree before you let the dogs out or we may be dealing with a different type of stain altogether!!
Yep! that looks better! The f-holes and fingerboard extender were giving it away also.
Both look to be in excellent shape, thanks for the pix.
The blotchy top is a result of the endgrain absorbing more stain. Common violin making practice is using gamboge as the yellow coat. It seals the open endgrain and reduces the blotchiness. Or you can use gelatine solution with the same results (minus the yellow color). Some people use even diluted shellac (1/2lb cut) before staining. Always do fine sanding after application of these things. And test it on scrap pieces before trying it on your latest instrument.