View Full Version : Funny thing happened on the way to a blackface

Perry Babasin
Nov-22-2013, 12:15pm
The deeper I got into this "The Loar" LM-600 refinish the more I realized that trying to get a nice smooth blackface was sort of contrary to the light finish I wanted to accomplish, at least the way I was going about it. I started with alcohol based aniline dye with light shellac to seal it. In the process of rubbing it back and reading threads here on the cafe, I graduated to black lacquer, still intending to go over the entire instrument with tru-oil as the top coats. In the process of spraying and rubbing back I started to like the "Barn Wood" look I was getting on the front, the black dye and paint was enhancing the grain in a rustic way, so I jumped ship and changed horses.


Sooooo, in what seems like another life-time I was an airbrush illustrator. Many years ago I gave up all my equipment and jumped into computer illustration. I don't know why I didn't go with this in the first place, but I was trying to be a purist and apply the dyes and color by hand. Forget that, I love airbrushing color, it is great. I made a very thinned shellac mixture and added amber, a little brown and red aniline powder and sprayed the thing with a funky little hobby airbrush I picked up at Michael's. Building it up light and slow, I think the dark mahogany color set it off nicely, and I'm starting to really dig what's going on. The mixture was so thin that I'm sure the dye got into the wood and when it dries it rubs down nicely. I still have binding cleanup and general finish detailing to do but with a very thin color and sealed coat, I'm ready for tru-oil!

Nov-22-2013, 12:39pm
Nice job. That looks really sweet!

Alex Orr
Nov-22-2013, 3:23pm
That is a pretty nice stain. I personally hate blackface acoustic instruments - they get too hot in the sun and don't allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine. The stain you came up with is a nice alternative to a burst and gives some freedom to see some wood grain.

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-23-2013, 4:16am
The word that springs to my mind Perry is 'wholesome'. The finish looks 'lived in',far removed from flawless,pristine,highly shiny finishes - although i like those as well,your finish looks very,very good,

Susan H.
Nov-23-2013, 5:51am
Very nice, Perry. I agree with Alex. Blackface takes away from the natural beauty of the wood in my humble opinion. You've done a great job bringing out the beautiful wood grain here. Thanks for sharing.

F-2 Dave
Nov-23-2013, 10:33am
That's a beautiful mandolin. I really like the subtle sunburst.

Perry Babasin
Nov-23-2013, 2:07pm
Thanks folks! I'm getting more excited, but I have to be patient and take my time. I don't always have much time to work on this stuff, but it's where my heart is a lot of the time. I want to play this!

Nov-24-2013, 8:32am
That's one fine looking The Loar refin. I have looked at these but have never bought because the finish on the ones I have seen are so thick that it kills the tone. I am sure there are some good ones out there, I just haven't found one yet at the stores I have been to in my area. Nice job!

Nov-27-2013, 11:07am
I like the way this turned out and the satin / matte finish.Looks great..(its giving me ideas!)


Perry Babasin
Dec-11-2013, 2:46pm
Very excited with the way this has finished. I could put on a couple of more coats of tru-oil, but I couldn't stand it anymore, I needed to play it and it sounds great!!

11082511082611082711082811082911083011083111083211 0833

Check out Dr. Frankenstein's Scroll! Still setting it up but it already sounds very broken in.

Dec-11-2013, 3:21pm
I like it, nice job.

Dec-11-2013, 4:35pm
Perry you are the master of finish

nice work!

Eric Michael Pfeiffer
Dec-11-2013, 5:39pm
very cool!

Dec-11-2013, 6:05pm
Excellent ! I like what you have done much better than all those "sunburst" or similar standard stain schemes.

Perry Babasin
Dec-11-2013, 6:19pm
peterk... Thanks! I do love the character of good wood and the amazing grain patterns!

TM... Thank you so much, but I'm definitely not a master, just learning and experimenting with stuff I have gathered, mostly from the Café or associated luthier's sites. What a fun preoccupation/obsession "uber-mas".

Hey Look! I got the little (é) accent grave over the e. "That's Sousé... accent grave over the e" -W.C. Fields

Ivan Kelsall
Dec-12-2013, 4:39am
One word Perry - Incredible !!!!,

Bertram Henze
Dec-12-2013, 4:48am
I can see a skyrocketing demand for "perried" mandolins in the future. :cool:
...and threads on "How do I re-perry my sunburst Gibson?" :whistling:

Dec-12-2013, 7:12am
Well Perry if you're not a master, you are certainly naturally good at what you do.

Perry Babasin
Dec-13-2013, 5:27pm
One more Glamor shot... Sorry but I really liked this one...


Dec-13-2013, 5:57pm

Dec-15-2013, 2:33pm