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Thread: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

  1. #1

    Default Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    Is there anyway to get an even looking stained spruce top or am I just at the mercy of the way the grain runs. Some tops I have no problem, but others it looks like the grain is running all over the place giving different degrees of absorption. I have tried the Casey Sealer & Filler but that only gave worse results. Perhaps using a finer grit sandpaper before staining would be better? I have been using 320.

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    No need for finer grit paper, but sanding thoroughly is important. I generally sand to 220 before staining.
    Using dilute dyes makes the process more gradual and gives us a chance to compensate for areas of spruce that take the stain better or worse. In other words, if an area is becoming darker avoid it. If and area is remaining lighter concentrate on it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    Haven’t tried it on an instrument, but with painting you can use really dilute stains and get a blotchy area to become very uniform -though it does take time.

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    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    Since as a repairer/restorer I am often trying to match a repair to the stain adjacent, I always use diluted stain and build color slowly, so I can adjust as needed. Another thing I do on softwoods is pad a little shellac on the area before staining. It sucks into the areas that would take stain the fastest, and evens out the way the wood takes up color.
    Shade Tree Fretted Instrument Repair
    Now located in Nevada City, California
    http://www.shadetreeguitars.com

  5. #5

    Default Re: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    Read this somewhere a long time ago (maybe here) and have been doing it ever since. Seal the spruce with a light coat of very thin mix of shellac. Sand back enough to get smooth (your 320 grit), then dye/stain. I've found the smooth, sealed base really helpful for blending rubbed sunbursts.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Staining spruce to avoid blotches and unevenness

    I wanted a honey amberish finish on my first F-5 recently. Tinting the shellac worked for me. I mixed powdered dye in denatured alcohol and then mixed a small amount with super blonde shellac to obtain a dilute color that I gradually built up. I initially tried wiping or spraying a dilute solution of dye mixed in isopropyl alcohol on a wash coat of shellac, but it was blotchy. I also sealed the edges of the f holes with shellac to prevent darkening.

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