New Kit Build - Stain Question

RPBThree

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Hi all, long time lurker here, first time poster. I'm interested in getting into guitar building so I thought I would start with a guitar kit. I've learned a lot reading through the build forums here and appreciate everyone that contributes to those.

I want to make this kit guitar a pretty nice guitar as I've invested in some fret leveling/dressing tools, and upgrading most the components of the kit (i.e. bridge, pickups, nut, tuners. Pots are already 500k surprisingly). I know it will be on me to get the neck set, frets level and dressed, and intonated right. But after that, with all the upgraded components I hope it plays/sound almost as good as my own guitars.

I've ordered a spalted maple top, mahogany body/neck LP style kit. For finishing it I would love to get it to look like this les paul:

Les Paul Bigsby TV Jones.jpg


Any recommendations on what color stain I should use to get that coloring? I know thats a flame top but would still like to get that coloring if possible.

I saw a youtube video of someone using Mission Oak by Minwax that looked really close.

Any other tips are welcome!

Thanks in advance!
 

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fatdaddypreacher

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the problem i see with stains, is that they apply directly to the wood. if you go for something and it's not to your liking, you have to sand it back and try again. of course, you should allways test on scraps to get what you want, to minimize or eliminate undesired results. the option, is to tint clear coats which are laid on top of base clear, thus easier to remove if youre not happy. also, apply tinted clear is easier to control. the only stain i did was black, and i used minwax. i am exceedingly happy with it, but havent tried fading or manipulating a stain.
 

RPBThree

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the problem i see with stains, is that they apply directly to the wood. if you go for something and it's not to your liking, you have to sand it back and try again. of course, you should allways test on scraps to get what you want, to minimize or eliminate undesired results. the option, is to tint clear coats which are laid on top of base clear, thus easier to remove if youre not happy. also, apply tinted clear is easier to control. the only stain i did was black, and i used minwax. i am exceedingly happy with it, but havent tried fading or manipulating a stain.
Cool. Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely look into doing the tinting clear coats over a base clear.

I'm not going to be super picky. Whatever stain I start with I plan on committing to it. I think anything anywhere close to an amberish light brown color will be great and I'll stay with it.
 

cmjohnson

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If you're looking for a stain like seen on that guitar, it's all shades of browns and yellows, so I'd suggest getting a few bottles of Fiebing's leather dyes in that color range. Some Fiebing's dyes tend to bleach...a lot....but the yellow to brown range seems to be pretty stable.

As always, practice on scraps before attempting to stain your prize.
 

BadMongo

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If you're looking for a stain like seen on that guitar, it's all shades of browns and yellows, so I'd suggest getting a few bottles of Fiebing's leather dyes in that color range. Some Fiebing's dyes tend to bleach...a lot....but the yellow to brown range seems to be pretty stable.

As always, practice on scraps before attempting to stain your prize.
That Fiebing's yellow is very yellow (though it's not as unusably bright on its own as the standard red which is pretty much pink), but over another color it brightens things up and pops grain pretty dramatically. I'd use a combination of yellow and their buckskin as a starting point, and probably buckskin and a very thin wash of one of the least red browns (maybe chocolate) for the darker color.
 

RPBThree

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If you're looking for a stain like seen on that guitar, it's all shades of browns and yellows, so I'd suggest getting a few bottles of Fiebing's leather dyes in that color range. Some Fiebing's dyes tend to bleach...a lot....but the yellow to brown range seems to be pretty stable.

As always, practice on scraps before attempting to stain your prize.
That Fiebing's yellow is very yellow (though it's not as unusably bright on its own as the standard red which is pretty much pink), but over another color it brightens things up and pops grain pretty dramatically. I'd use a combination of yellow and their buckskin as a starting point, and probably buckskin and a very thin wash of one of the least red browns (maybe chocolate) for the darker color.
Thanks guys for the tips. Fiebing's dyes looks like a great direction to go here and try. Looking at their color charts I might start off with chocolate/medium brown and bucksin colors.

Edit: Came across this video here. Leather dyes seems to be a great direction to go as I think those colorings look great.
 
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redking

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The other issue you are going to have is with the spalted top itself. If I am not mistaken, it is common practice for manufacturers to seal spalted maple with water thin CA glue to keep the spalt together, as it has a tendency to be very crumbly since the spalting itself is the initial stage of the decay of the wood as it is being attacked by a fungus. So - it may come to you already treated with water thin CA glue, or if it hasn't, you may want to look into whether you should treat it with a water thin CA glue to preserve it before your finishing routine. Either way, once the spalt has been treated, staining will not be an option as the stain won't take evenly - so another reason to do tinted clear coats rather than staining the wood itself.
 

BadMongo

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Thanks guys for the tips. Fiebing's dyes looks like a great direction to go here and try. Looking at their color charts I might start off with chocolate/medium brown and bucksin colors.

Edit: Came across this video here. Leather dyes seems to be a great direction to go as I think those colorings look great.
They work well and are extremely common in the pipe making world, actually. If you ever want to see some extremely masterful use of staining, check out J. Alan, Yeti, and Eltang.
The other issue you are going to have is with the spalted top itself. If I am not mistaken, it is common practice for manufacturers to seal spalted maple with water thin CA glue to keep the spalt together, as it has a tendency to be very crumbly since the spalting itself is the initial stage of the decay of the wood as it is being attacked by a fungus. So - it may come to you already treated with water thin CA glue, or if it hasn't, you may want to look into whether you should treat it with a water thin CA glue to preserve it before your finishing routine. Either way, once the spalt has been treated, staining will not be an option as the stain won't take evenly - so another reason to do tinted clear coats rather than staining the wood itself.
That's a super good point I hadn't considered, actually. I think a tinted clear coat helps stained tops anyway - even without the spalting sometimes there's sections where the stain just doesn't take. I have a blue quilted top on a guitar I did with straight clear coats and you can still see some brown swirls in the grain.
Stain to ramp up the depth and contrast, tint to even things out.
 


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