solid body guitar finishing

Gordon Steeves · Apr 11, 2018, 21:41

Hi,
I just came across your site while doing a search for Behlen products. I just received a great Swamp Ash billet, with lots of grain patterns. I am making a Telecaster style body, the one attached is of a Stratocaster I found on Google. I want to colour my build in the same way. As I read the article, here is the colour scheme an procedure. A blood red dye to colour the wood, then use a black (or super dark brown) colour in the grain filler. Question? Is there or should/would thee be a clear sealer i.e. 1 lb. cut shellac was to go on the bare would first? I guess ARDEC is the place to purchase Behlen products, I'm not sure what kind of clear top coat to use, whatever it is, it will have to be a spray can. I guess that about covers it for now. Thank you.

René Carrier · Technical Support · Apr 12, 2018, 13:08

Hello Gordon,

To get a finish similar to the ash guitar from the first picture, the steps are:

  • Brush the wood with a brass brush to open the pores of the wood
  • Sand the wood with 100/120/150/220.
  • Color with Behlen Solar-Lux Stain Blood Red
  • Fill the grain with a black grain filler, like Timbermate Ebony
  • Apply 2 to 3 coats of Behlen Vinyl Sealer
  • Sand with 400 grit sandpaper between each coats
  • Finish with 3 to 4 coats of Behlen Stringed Instrument Lacquer
Gordon Steeves · Apr 12, 2018, 17:59

Hi René,
Thank you for the quick reply. When you say a brass brush, you are referring to a brush that would be used for scrubbing the grill of a BBQ? And of course, this would be done with the grain, correct?
Now, this sounds like fun :), thanks again. Guess I will have to get an order away soon.
I just read something about applying a Pre-Stain Clear Wood Stain Base to the wood before brush or wipe application to promote even staining. I am assuming that I don't have to do this step, just go to the Behlen Solar-Lux Stain Blood Red?
One more question. Does the stain come ready to use, or will I have to thin it down? I will be wiping the stain on. Also, I read something about a retarder because the Solar-Lux drys very quickly.
I have never used anything like this before, most of my finishing has been Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac straight from the can, or Minwax stain from Homehardware :). I know StewMac sell Behlen products but they don't ship to Canada, so I was kind of surprised to find you, folks when I did a Google search for Behlen products.
Thank you again.

Gordon Steeves

René Carrier · Technical Support · Apr 12, 2018, 19:13

Indeed, a brass brush to open the pores of ash wood.

You can use the Solar-Lux Retarder to give you enough time to apply.

You could also reduce the stain and apply several coats to achieve the expected tint.

No need for a pre-stain, ash wood is easy to tint.

Good luck !

Gordon Steeves · Apr 13, 2018, 14:55

Thanks again for the quick reply René, much appreciated. I have a couple more questions.
1) will a pint of tint be enough for one body?
2) what ratio of retarder to dye/ stain would be appropriate?
I have read more information on the little brass brush, using it during the restoration of furniture.
I have decided to stay away from reducer, it seems that it is made up from the same chemicals that are already in the dye/stain, so I don't want to breathe any more of that stuff than I can help.
I also read something about using no more than 10% retarder to the amount of dye/stain?? In this case, I understand ratio better than percentage as in 1:3 (retarder: dye/stain).
I am thinking of applying the dye/stain (Behlen sure makes this difficult) with a foam brush and then wiping it down with a cloth, does that make sense? As you have probably guessed this is my first attempt at fine finishing anything :).
Thanks again

Gordon Steeves

René Carrier · Technical Support · Apr 13, 2018, 18:33

1) Yes, a pint will be enough
2) 10% to 15%, 1:10 to 1:8

I recommend using a stain pad.

If you take the time to properly prepare the wood you will have very good results.

Larry Keyko · May 5, 2018, 07:53

Hi Rene
I am just finishing the body of a telecaster I built from scratch and after seeing that blood red guitar it will be my next project. Can you tell me what type of wood that was used.
Thanks.

Larry Keyko

René Carrier · Technical Support · May 6, 2018, 08:02

Hi Larry,

the left guitar and brushed ash and the right one, I think, yellow birch .
They are really beautiful.

Larry Keyko · May 6, 2018, 09:07

Thanks Rene I will be ordering what I need from Ardec soon.

Larry Keyko · May 7, 2018, 13:27

Hello Rene Sorry to bother you again but are those instructions in the right order because the video I was watching says after staining with the blood red stain to then put on the sealer and then put on the Timbermate ebony. The solid guitar body I am working on now is made from all new pine and I was wondering if this same procedure work on that? And another question I have is their a phone number I can call for support in English? Thanks again.

Larry

René Carrier · Technical Support · May 7, 2018, 13:47

Hello Larry,
You can not do the same steps on pine, this species does not have open grains like ash or birch.

On the other hand you can use the blood red color, Timbermate's wood filler will be useless on a species like pine.

Sorry Larry, we do not have anyone who speaks English right now, we use the Google Translator. You can write to me I will do my best to help you.

Larry Keyko · May 7, 2018, 14:02

Hi Rene I am going to be doing the wire brush and sanding on the ash and then I put on the blood red stain should I put the sealer on before or after putting on the Timbermate ebony on?

Larry

René Carrier · Technical Support · May 7, 2018, 15:24

Here are the steps one by one

Brush the wood with a brass brush to open the pores of the wood
Sand the wood with 100/120/150/220.
Color with Behlen Solar-Lux Stain Blood Red
Fill the grain with a black grain filler, like Timbermate Ebony
Apply 2 to 3 coats of Behlen Vinyl Sealer
Sand with 400 grit sandpaper between each coats
Finish with 3 to 4 coats of Behlen Stringed Instrument Lacquer

          

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