vintage sunburst finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gadawg, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    I'm gonna build a J-45 style guitar and I want to do the vintage sunburst coloring. Is the best way to achieve this with stain or paint? The final finish will be satin.
    Thanks, Greg
     
  2. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Don't know that there's a "best" way. Shops use spray. Stain is much easier to control but has a more "organic" look, imo.
     
  3. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    I guess I should just try it on a scrap piece and see how it turns out. I just hate to buy all this stuff and never use it.
     
  4. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Have you ever stained or used a sprayer before?

    If not, there's a great thread on here by Gator Payne on doing a burst with staining. I use his technique and it works well. Especially for feathering it in by dipping your fingers in water.

    There's several videos on sunbursts being applied. I've never tried it as I've been staining and then spraying with clear. My perceptions is you just don't have a lot of margin for error with a spray.
     
  5. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    I've used stain and a sprayer on alot of different furniture/craft builds before, but never on a guitar. This will actually be my first acoustic build...I've got a couple of foreign built acoustics, but my desire for an American built guitar, love of working with wood, and lack of funds to buy Gibson (I have 8 month old triplet boys lol) has led me to this build. That's why I'm prying yall for info! I will check out some videos and look at the thread by Gator Payne! Thanks!
     
  6. Kammo1

    Kammo1 Senior Member

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    Stains sprayed straight onto your wood gives a much better look IMHO but it works for me. You can normally spray the stains suspended in the clear to give you a shader coat and you mormally only mix in a maximum of about 10% but I have broken the rule a few times and have added 30% as it gets the colour on quick but then again I am too impatient to build the colour up I want it there and then, but again this works for me. Using a shader method is like covering your wood with a piece of glass and then adding a colour to it so it doesn't penetrate the wood it just sits on it and although it isn't wrong to my eyes the whole effect is lost. What you can do is apply your stain to the wood till you have the desired colour spray a clear coat over it to lock it all in and then apply a shader coat to give the whole guitar more of a uniform colour. Now as I stress again this works for me and may not be what others do but if it helps try it.
     
  7. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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  8. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    I'm not clear on what you mean by 'shader coat'. Could you try to explain it again? Thanks!
     
  9. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    Kevin thanks for reposting that tutorial! A lot of great info there! Also, the guitar you put at the end of that was beautiful! Very nice job!
     
  10. EagleOnyx

    EagleOnyx Senior Member

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    a shader is a clear medium such as clear lacquer that has had a stain, dye or light amount of pigment added to it to provide color. It's usually referring to translucent colors. I classify paint as an opaque colored medium; paint makes solid colors. Paint bursts are fugly. Usually. Don't use paint! lol
     
  11. Ducati

    Ducati V.I.P. Member

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    Definitely think about doing a hand-rubbed finish. They look great and I think you don't need a lot of fancy tools. This is what Gibson used before they sprayed the colors.

    Here is some inspiration for you:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. EagleOnyx

    EagleOnyx Senior Member

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    hand rubbed is easier for sure. it looks different than a lacquer burst, but most people wouldn't be able to tell.
     
  13. Ducati

    Ducati V.I.P. Member

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    It does look different, but very beautiful.

    I would go with a hand rubbed burst finish and then spirit varnish. Very old school finish tecnhique with no spraying.
     
  14. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    Ok yall convinced me! It will he a while before I get to that point, but I like to know what direction I'm headed before I start a project. Usually if I don't whatever I'm building either doesn't get finished or winds up looking like a mess! Thanks for the pics!
     
  15. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Funny things is I just re-stripped that top and re-stained. I didn't get the outer edge as much orange as I wanted. The clear was also rattle can and had some imperfections. I wanted to redo it with the sprayer.

    I've got it stained and resealed. I'm just waiting for it to warm up enough to spray clear. Maybe this weekend.
     
  16. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    Be sure and post us some updated pics when you get it done! I think I can speak for everyone on here when I say we never tire of looking at guitars--especially hand made!
     
  17. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    I should have some by this weekend. I've got some progress pics. I do regret I forgot to take a pic of it after I double stained.
     
  18. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    Both of my other acoustics have light colored tops...one atika spruce and rosewood back, and the other cedar top and mahogany back. They are both bound with light colored bindings. For this build, I'm seriously considering using some beautiful walnut that I already have for the fretboard, the bridge, and maybe even the pickguard. I was also considering cutting some of that out and using it for the bindings. This would give the guitar alot darker look when i stain it in a burst finish. I guess I'm really leaning toward more of a tobacco burst than a sunburst. I just want something different than what I already have. How do yall think that would look?
     
  19. gadawg

    gadawg Senior Member

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    Well, when I look at the Gibson site, their True Vintage J-45 calls it a "vintage sunburst", but I've always thought sunburst would be brighter colored...but that's just my opinion. There's so many different bursts it's hard to keep them all straight!
     

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