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Thread: Getting the Gallatin look

  1. #1

    Default Getting the Gallatin look

    Thanks to advice from here and elsewhere, I have the old finish pretty much removed from the top of the old Gibson A Junior I just bought.

    Some of the old stain goes pretty deep, so there's still some gray. But it's probably time to stop sanding and finish it.

    I like the leathery look of Weber Gallatins. I don't need to duplicate it, but I'd like to achieve something like it. What would you use? Dye? Stain? Tung oil? Varnish? Shellac?

    Almost needless to say, I'm no pro and not aiming at perfection or expensive solutions (pun intented). Believe me, anything will be an improvement!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    If it's not too precious to you, you could spill a bit of a stout on it (Guinness works well, but it will void the warranty) and that should do it for stain and aroma. Then wipe it down with high quality lip gloss and buff shiny.

    Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for any damage to persons or property resulting either directly or indirectly from the instructions contained herein. Proceed at the lack of your own discretion.....
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
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    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  4. #3
    Registered User crooksj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Just finished an attempt at Gallatin faded leather yesterday. Not sure how close I got as I had only internet photos to guide me. Used Transtint med. brown dye in alcohol(started with recommended dilution/ended with 3x rec.), sprayed,(rubbing dye may give faded effect I see in some photos), and satin nitrocellulose lacquer. Photos are under bright led shop lights...looks darker in normal room lighting

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #4
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by crooksj View Post
    Just finished an attempt at Gallatin faded leather yesterday. Not sure how close I got as I had only internet photos to guide me. Used Transtint med. brown dye in alcohol(started with recommended dilution/ended with 3x rec.), sprayed,(rubbing dye may give faded effect I see in some photos), and satin nitrocellulose lacquer. Photos are under bright led shop lights...looks darker in normal room lighting

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That turned out quite purty! I love the monotone.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    That turned out quite purty! I love the monotone.
    Yup! And monotone is a perfect fit for my singing!

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by crooksj View Post
    Just finished an attempt at Gallatin faded leather yesterday. Not sure how close I got as I had only internet photos to guide me. Used Transtint med. brown dye in alcohol(started with recommended dilution/ended with 3x rec.), sprayed,(rubbing dye may give faded effect I see in some photos), and satin nitrocellulose lacquer. Photos are under bright led shop lights...looks darker in normal room lighting

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Gorgeous. Looks like you nailed it!

    How clean did you get the top before dying it? Is there still some old finish residue, or was the wood fairly clean? Mine started as Sheraton brown, and there's still some color sunk in the wood. And I don't want to sand it down to China.

  11. #7
    Registered User crooksj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    This is a new build, so no old finish to worry about. As long as you’ve got the clear coats off a little dye left shouldn’t matter since you’re re-dying dark.

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Crooksj, I think you nailed it!
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

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  15. #9
    Registered User crooksj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Charlie,
    One other piece of advice is that when you think you’ve added enough dye, you haven’t. Once the first sealer/finish coats are sprayed the colors brighten greatly. This mandolin looked liked burnt toast rather than faded leather when the dyeing was done.
    John

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  17. #10

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Transtint dyes are indeed very colorfast (wear gloves!). If you have some residual color left in the top, you're going to need to go pretty dark. I would dye the wood first. Transtint dye is VERY concentrated and is added to your medium (denatured alcohol, acetone, naptha, etc) measured by drops. Then, if you want an even, uniform color, tint your finish as well. To stay looking "old" I would go with a satin or matt sheen. Or use gloss and when it's good and dry, rub it out with a grey scotchbrite pad to bring it back down to satin.

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  19. #11

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by crooksj View Post
    Charlie,
    One other piece of advice is that when you think you’ve added enough dye, you haven’t. Once the first sealer/finish coats are sprayed the colors brighten greatly. This mandolin looked liked burnt toast rather than faded leather when the dyeing was done.
    John
    Based on your photo, I don't think this beat-up mando is the right one for the look you got on yours - too much embedded color to come out well. I'll definitely keep this thread bookmarked for future projects, but for this mando it'll be safer to go with solid gloss black - another look I like. I'm handy with with a rattle can and already have sander/sealer, gloss black, and clear coat cans left over from past Strat projects.

    Many thanks! I'll post a picture when it's done.

  20. #12

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by crooksj View Post
    This is a new build, so no old finish to worry about. As long as you’ve got the clear coats off a little dye left shouldn’t matter since you’re re-dying dark.
    Update: Rooted around in the basement and came up with a jar of brown gel dye and a rattle can of clear sand-and-sealer. Hit the top four times with the gel dye (a la your advice) and five times with the sand-and-sealer, and I got the old leather look. I didn't go as dark as a Gallatin, but it's a darker than the old pumpkin style - dark enough to hide enough of the old staining.

    Still looks old, which it is, but now looks good, which it didn't.

    Thanks again!

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  22. #13
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Cool! Pictures?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  23. #14
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Cool! Pictures?
    Come on Charlie, show us some pics!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  24. #15

    Default Re: Getting the Gallatin look

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Cool! Pictures?
    I promise I'll post 'em when it's done. Which won't be a while but will be worth the wait.

    Tonight I'm thinking: clear gloss nitro.

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    Gunnar 

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