How did they do that?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Skyjerk, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    The pic below is the finish I want for my upcoming quilt top 22 Magnum build.

    I guess you'd call that tigers eye.

    Without discussing what type of clear PRS uses (I'll be using nitro) do you think there is any tint in the clear?

    My plan is to stain the top with brown (tobacco?), sand back, and then stain the top again with yellow
    and my theory is the brown that will undoubtedly mix with the yellow will wind up with the gold tint to it but that the yellow wont be strong enough to un-brown the brown.

    I had not planned on any tint in the clear, but could be persuaded to keep the yellow in the clear as opposed to the wood if anyone has direct knowledge of what would work best here to produce this result...


    [​IMG]
     
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  2. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    I don’t normally like using a black stain sanded back, preferring to go with a deep colour. But I think that one needs to start with black. Then dark brown, than a tinted yellow/amber lacquer coat


    That one looks good, but the area behind the bridge gets a bit muddier as the figure diminishes. The wood needs to be very highly figured for this to work well
     
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  3. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    This is the top for the build. I think it qualifies as highly figured :)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. lvrpool32

    lvrpool32 Premium Member

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    I wouldn't do black an sand back, I would do a dark brown. If you go over the a black with an amber or yellow it can get a strange "green" tint to it. So dark brown sand back and then a yellow with a hint of amber stain. You can then tint your clear to make it darker if need be.
     
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  5. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Highly figured, but more varied than the tubular quilt often used for this kind of thing. Test on scrap
     
  6. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Its why i wouldn't normally recommend it, but it can still work on very strong tubular quilt as long as you have an inbetween tint between the black and yellow... but it needs to be a nice pale piece of that particular figure. You can almost see a greeny tint in the lower left of the PRS top, might just be the lighting but i think its down to the change to a more varied figure in that area

    On this piece of wood i would go with warmer tones anyway..i would still do at least 2 dye and sand back stages with different tints before the colour coat
     
  7. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    The trick to matching the colors of a PRS finish is to realize that the colors don't get changed much at all by the wood underneath. Only the tiniest bit. You have to see the COLORS that are there and you have to use dyes that match those colors.

    If the dark tone is dark brown and the light tone is a bright yellow, then your stains have to be dark brown first, and you work for that darkness that is seen in the original, you sand back the hard spots until they're clear of the dark brown and back to natural, and then you apply the bright yellow. There may be a third tint. Tints are applied from darkest shade to lightest shade, with sandback as needed.

    Sandback can be applied selectively. In fact, it has to be, in order to preserve the very darkest shades of stains down in the "valleys". This can mean you'll spend hours with a small piece of sandpaper wrapped around your finger as you selectively sand back small spots which you want to highlight.

    I've seen PRS do stain jobs that must require them to apply the stain with a small paintbrush, very selectively, basically applying one color on the "uphill" side of each flame ribbon and applying a different color on the "downhill" side. Don't think stain has to be applied as an even coat over the whole thing. They're very creative and you have to be really analytical about what you are seeing. When you realize how little the dyes actually are blended to create additional shades, and how little the natural color of the top wood affects this, you'll start to see what is really going on with the stain technique used.
     
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  8. charisjapan

    charisjapan Silver Supporter

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    Yeah ... that would qualify as a topography map ;).

    For some reason reminds me of the cover of "Brain Salad Surgery."
     
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  9. B. Howard

    B. Howard Premium Member

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    OK here it is.....
    Sand out 220
    Black dye stain, allow to dry and then wipe off with solvent and allow to dry again. The wipe is to pull black back up off the wood so you do not have to sand away so much in the next step.

    Sand back with 320. This is the critical step. it must be done very evenly! what you have after this step will be the dark pattern of the finish. This is pretty universal step at PRS and many of their finishes start this way. some get sanded back harder than others and the actual degree of grain flip etc in the wood actually determines how deep you can make the figure look with these highlights.

    For the Tiger eye finish the next step is a wipe of yellow dye stain. Rag should only be damp with stain. It will want to reactivate the previous dye so it is a wipe on the body and then fold the rag to a clean section and another wipe until you have it done. This should be a fairly light yellow when dried. Be very careful not to drag any black around or we start over. In fact any screw ups and it's start over...... PRS has an entire rework station just to salvage messed up dye jobs.

    Next would be a sealer (PRS uses an isolante)

    after the sealer is prepped a medium brown toner is used to get the final shade of brown desired and then its clear and buff.
     
  10. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Thanks Brian. Thats killer info!

    With the final step, is that medium brown toner wiped on over the sealer with a rag, or sprayed on mixed in some clear?
     
  11. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    would a light lock down coat work after the final sanding of black? my thinking, is if that gets sanded to where the yellow is ready to apply, the black will be sealed and not apt to spread when the yellow is added?
     
  12. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    But if you seal over the black, the yellow dye won't penetrate the sealer into the wood. You can't seal the wood until all staining is complete.
     
  13. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    what i was thinking is after sealing the black, sand down again. then the only areas that would take dye would be where you want the yellow anyway, and the sealer would keep the black from being dragged into the yellow....or would the seal coat penetrate too much into the wood to enable that?
     
  14. Caretaker

    Caretaker Senior Member

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    I think there is a yellow tint to the top 3 coats on that. When I sprayed I used nitro and always top coated with a yellow tint(to give an older worn look to a Les Paul and binding).
     
  15. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    If you've got an area that's already dyed almost black, adding some yellow dye to it isn't going to alter its color hardly at all. Since on tiger eye the colors are all generally in the same color range (yellow being close to a super light brown when you think about it) then you just apply the darkest dye first, sand back, and apply lighter dyes.

    It's different if you're applying dyes that are about the same color value but have a significantly different hue. Say you want a "laguna burst", simulating water that gets darker blue as it gets deeper. For the outer rim (dark blue water) you'd only apply blue and for the central area you'd apply NO blue but might use yellow and green. It's only in the blending area (aqua) that you might mix or overlap stains. But if you were going to simply do a sky blue to navy blue two tone stain job, you can apply the sky blue right over the dark navy blue areas and it won't matter.
     
  16. B. Howard

    B. Howard Premium Member

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    No, sprayed like any other shader .
     
  17. B. Howard

    B. Howard Premium Member

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    Absolutely not! the dye must be able to penetrate the wood to provide the proper background shade. This affect the light play through the toner that goes on after.
     
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  18. B. Howard

    B. Howard Premium Member

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    After sand back of the black dye on a high grade quilted maple top you have a stark black and white background. Shoot a caramel toner over that and it will be very high contrast with the center of the patches very bright and much lighter in color (a cool but different look). If you load on enough coats of toner to darken the centers you will lose the definition of the quilting in the wood. '
    You are doing several things with the yellow dye, decreasing contrast and decreasing the need for a dark toner over a dark grain highlight (which makes the grain disappear) and providing a highlighting base color to reflect the light back through the caramel shader. That is where the glow comes from......just like metallic base under a candy. And just like a base/candy paint job the color of the base makes a difference. In this case yellow adds a glow, a light brown wood make it appear to have less depth and anything else turns to mud under a brown shader......
     
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  19. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    Those B Howard posts are super-informative. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your valuable knowledge.
     
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  20. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Agreed 100%!

    This top will have enough scraps that I'll be able to practice this process a few times before I do it on the real top, but I intend to follow this process to the letter :)
     

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