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Thread: on doing a sunburst

  1. #1
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    Default on doing a sunburst

    I am at that stage finally, and time to color. This will be my 3rd burts. my wood is sitka, and curlymaple. I am using stew macs water soluble dyes. If I remember the last one, i worked very hard to not get an archery target, so would blend the colors with another damp rag. What I cannot recall, was did I have a rag w/ water, 9 like the dye), or an alcohol soaked rag. what do you guys do when wiping on a burst not spraying, Thanks, and also , thanks to all who responded to my many posts on this build
    Mike Marrs

  2. #2

    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    Water to blend, never alcohol. Alcohol dries too quickly.
    As the water slowly dries on your blending pad, you get finer and finer control. Keep moving until you're not doing much of anything, don't use too much water at any point in the process. I wet down the surface I'm about to dye with pure water first, to dampen the surface and keep it from being too absorbent. Then add color, blend, add color, blend. Don't try to get it to look 100% right on the first coat. If you do that, it will probably end up way too dark, and pretty blotchy, especially on the maple. Let it dry, step away, come back the next day and do it again. Sand at 600 grit between sessions, too, for optimal control. If you've been sunbursting for more than 15 minutes, stop and let it all settle. Then get it dampened again the next day and have at it again.

  3. #3
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    There are a few great videos online demonstrating the hand-rubbed sunburst technique. The two I found most helpful were James Condino's video for Fine Woodworking (available on this page of his website), and John Hamlett's video from the Mandolincafe Restoration Challenge.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    I've mostly sprayed but took a course from Gilchrist on this. I'd say keeping your applicator "damp" and not wet is the key to the transition area. And approach it slowly and stay away from the middle.

  5. #5
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    I use only alcohol as I prefer not to get the wood too wet at this stage in the game, but water does make it easier to blend. I dampen the wood with alcohol, wipe amber over the whole thing, then work my way in from the edges with brown, blending with alcohol on a cleanish rag after each application. I would elaborate on what Jim said-- stay away from the middle, but at the very end blend lightly all the way to the middle, to avoid that bullseye look. Here's a timelapse I did a few years ago:

    https://youtu.be/mfH8Ly4mrg8

    Edit: The other reason I prefer alcohol is that because it does dry so quickly, you can stain, spray a sealer coat, and scrape the binding all in one day. If dye sits on celluloid binding too long it will start to migrate into it, and then you have scrape away more binding to get it clean. I try to get the scraping done the same day whenever possible, especially if the dye has red in it.

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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    thank you so much, I really enjoy and finishing it, so, one other thing, what process do you sue to block the F holes> I have tried balloons, they broke. I also tried binding tape and a dental pic and work it through and pull it back, it sort of worked

  7. #7
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    I also worked from the inside out, I will try working out-in thanks again, so very helpful

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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    plastic grocery bags to block the f holes

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  10. #9

    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    I also use alcohol-base stains but cut my base with up to 50% flow enhancer. I find this gives me more working time and makes it easier to blend the intersection of colors. It still dries quickly enough. Also, if you haven't already heard, many seal the spruce with a light coat of blonde shellac (and resand lightly with a very fine paper) before sunbursting. This process makes it easier to move the color around and avoids splotchiness, which spruce is famous for.

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    i just want to say, a good many of talented people have helped me on this forum, and this post has been a real lesson for me thanks

  13. #11
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    I sand the top to 400-600 grit before staining.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: on doing a sunburst

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    I also use alcohol-base stains but cut my base with up to 50% flow enhancer. I find this gives me more working time and makes it easier to blend the intersection of colors. It still dries quickly enough. Also, if you haven't already heard, many seal the spruce with a light coat of blonde shellac (and resand lightly with a very fine paper) before sunbursting. This process makes it easier to move the color around and avoids splotchiness, which spruce is famous for.
    Can you mention what flow enhancer you recommend? Thanks!
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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