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Thread: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Sooo... I just did my first application of potassium dichromate, handling it like nuclear waste. I put some on both spruce and maple. At this point it just looks like bright yellow dye. Should I expect that to change?

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Answered my own question. went away for a couple of hours and it turned a yucky green-brown. Don't like it. Didn't seem to enhance the maple figure as much as I expected.
    Maybe i made too strong a concentrate.

  3. #53
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    That's the main reason I don't use oxidizers like that. The toxicity is bad enough, but unpredictability is what bothers me. I feel like I can get the same, or similar grain enhancement with dyes, along with predictability.

  4. #54
    Registered User Lefty Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    Answered my own question. went away for a couple of hours and it turned a yucky green-brown. Don't like it. Didn't seem to enhance the maple figure as much as I expected.
    Maybe i made too strong a concentrate.
    The yucky green-brown is exactly how it should look before sanding. Wait a couple of days and it will take on a more uniform grayish tone that can be greatly enhanced with any water or alcohol based dyes.
    Byron Spain, Builder
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  5. #55
    Registered User barry k's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    How does one even get that stuff, I though it is by prescription only from a foot doctor? or am I thinking of some other chemical?

  6. #56
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Woodfinishing Enterprises in Wisconsin has it.
    The smallest they sell is 4 oz. and it's bright orange granules. About a teaspoon in a little water is plenty so I have several lifetimes of it.

  7. #57
    iii mandolin Geoff B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    I "borrowed" some from a school I was at and tried it with the same results. The oxidation looked very much like a brown-amber dye when all was said and done and I put it away, never to come back. Also, you need to take it to a special place to be disposed of...

  8. #58
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff B View Post
    --snip--
    Also, you need to take it to a special place to be disposed of...
    You mean in the back yard, on the neighbor's side of the fence?

  9. #59
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    I have a question for the experts...I plan on finishing a mandolin soon and have been doing my research. This older thread has been very helpful. Okay, question is...I really want to try my hand at french polish shellac finish. And want to hand rub the burst, but it looks like alcohol dyes will be more difficult than water based. Is this correct? And will you get a color stable result using water based burst with french polish shellac top coat?

  10. #60
    Registered User Loudloar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Potassium Dichromate is a known carcinogen. You do not want to breath the powder form or have skin contact in any form. I can't recommend its use because of the health hazard. Its effect on wood is enhanced by exposing it to sunlight. A dilute form will result in light brown stain, stronger solutions can get very dark brown. Violin makers have used it for eons to enhance grain, antique the insides of instruments before assembly, etc. There are safer ways to do the job. If you do use it you should use rubber gloves, a breathing mask and eye protection.

    Steve

  11. #61
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Not sure where dichromate comes into this... llg, I use water based dyes with shellac over and it works just fine. That said, I have found that the water based dyes I use (Liberon) don't penetrate the wood that much - maybe 'cos the water doesn't penetrate? So be sure to raise the grain and rub back a few times before applying the dye as if you need to sand after applying the dye, you have to be very careful. You do also get some leakage of the dye onto the pad when applying the first coat or two - it doesn't really lift the dye much, just make your pad dirty, so be careful when moving from dyed to un-dyed areas not to spread the color. Obviously spraying the first coat would fix that issue, but as long as you're careful and quick with a light touch with the pad you're basically OK.

    HTH, John.

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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Thanks for the response. By raising the grain, do you mean wet the wood with water rag first as in the Cordino video, or do you mean just rub back and forth considerably with the first dye rag to achieve a more thorough penetration of the base color?

  13. #63
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by llg View Post
    Thanks for the response. By raising the grain, do you mean wet the wood with water rag first as in the Cordino video, or do you mean just rub back and forth considerably with the first dye rag to achieve a more thorough penetration of the base color?
    I mean wet, let it dry, sand off the raised grain, then repeat till the grain stops rising up. Obviously don't sand too much with each iteration or you're back to square one - a light sand with 320 grit or so is fine.

  14. #64
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Thanks for clarifying...I'll give that a try.

  15. #65
    Registered User Andy Morton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Water based dyes (transtint and transfast from woodcraft) worked really well for me under a classic french polish. Here is a good youtube video that I found helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a159B...feature=relmfu

    Andy

  16. #66
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I took these pictures myself so I couldn't show the 'burst in progress, but I rub medium brown dye around the edges and blend it into the center with a rag soaked in alcohol and wrung out. When that color is done, I use a dark reddish brown and repeat the process but I don't go as far toward the center.
    John

    When you use the reddish brown, do you go all over and leave out the centre as per the medium brown mentioned in the start of your reply.

    Have you changed any of your approach since 2009?

    Thanks
    Nic Gellie

    Mike Black A2Z mandolin | Arches FT-O mandolin | Phil Crump B-1 bouzouki|

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  17. #67
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    "Martin has a history of doing the most hideous sunbursts of all time, and I say this as a long time fan of Martin guitars."

    Completely agree.. absolutely the worst; and the worst of the worst is when they built the CEO 4 ( I believe) a copy of a Gibson, and they used cheap low grade Adirondack for the top and to hide it slathered on a hideous eggplant to yellow "sun" burst that looked like Martian vomit.


    I use alcohol based stains applied with a cloth ...

  18. #68
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    John

    When you use the reddish brown, do you go all over and leave out the centre as per the medium brown mentioned in the start of your reply.

    Have you changed any of your approach since 2009?
    The dark red/brown goes around the outside edge, is blended into the medium brown, which blends into the center color. So, you have a dark edge that blends into a medium brown that blends into the center. It's like concentric rings of color that blend from one to another.
    I have not changed my approach since 1988 or so, other than adapting to various different dyes.

  19. #69
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    The dark red/brown goes around the outside edge, is blended into the medium brown, which blends into the center color. So, you have a dark edge that blends into a medium brown that blends into the center. It's like concentric rings of color that blend from one to another.
    I have not changed my approach since 1988 or so, other than adapting to various different dyes.
    Thanks John. That helps to clarify your method you outlined. The concentric rings approach makes it easier to understand. Do you use any different colours now? If so, what sort of burst are you after now, given that you had a preference back then based on a photo you inserted into the thread.
    Nic Gellie

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  20. #70
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    I learned the art of sunbursting from John "Sunburst". The only thing I've added ( and maybe he taught me and I forgot) is I like to use a clean dry rag at times to help in blending when I'm very close to the look I want.
    If you follow John's procedure you should end up with a very nice burst.
    John, I signed up for a 3-4 week "tour of duty" at the factory spray booth, as Ethan left without notice. Didn't take long to remember why I work for myself. Training new employee.
    David Houchens
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  21. #71
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    David, you must have figured out the dry rag by yourself, I don't remember ever doing that. (Sounds like you need an agent to negotiate contracts for you!)

    Nick, I'm still going for the same traditional color as always. On those occasions when I can put one of my mando's next to a Loar, the colors match pretty darned well. I don't always use the same dyes in the same proportions to achieve that, though, because different wood responds differently to the dyes.
    Sometimes I do 'bursts that are custom colors, and sometimes "redbursts" like Teens and early '20's Gibsons.

  22. #72

    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    I am being lazy and not looking to see if John's video on sunbursting has been linked to previously.
    Bill Snyder
    Vintage Tools, etc

  23. #73
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    I LOVE doing banjo resonators like this. It's hard to stop and you can get into trouble really fast !!

  24. #74
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    John, What colour dyes do you use to get your reddish bursts? The reason I am asking is that I plan to build an H-4 and like the orange Cremona look that Tom Ellis and Andrew Mowry create- somewhere in between the classic Loar look you are after and the teens Gibson look.
    Nic Gellie

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  25. #75
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand rubbed sunburst finish

    That "A-4" was done with Transtint "vintage amber" all over, then a mixed red color using "red" and little bits of whatever I needed to get the color to match the old Gibsons I had in the shop, followed by a darker mixed color. You might notice, if you watch the video, that I occasionally pick up a damaged F-4 top to check the color match. I use primary colors (red, blue and yellow) to "push" colors closer if they don't match what I need to match. I can't tell you what I used to mix either the intermediate color or the dark red/brown outer color because I added drops of primary colors and some black aniline powder until I had the color I needed. I think the darkest dye was a dark brown, black, red and some blue to counter the underlying yellow. There may have been other bits of color, and I have no idea what proportions. Basically, it's something you have to figure out for yourself depending on the dyes you use, the colors you want, your experience with 'bursts, and the wood you're working with. You'll have to practice on scrap to learn your dyes and how to get the results you want.

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