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Tinting grain filler

 
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:11 pm    Post subject: Tinting grain filler Reply with quote

I'm planning on adapting the sunburst aerosol tutorial on the reranch site to a blueburst-- basically, I'm going to do the same thing, only with blues, instead of yellows and browns. So far, so good.

I just got a clear oil-base grain filler in, but someone pointed out that I might try tinting it black to make the grain really stand out beneath the relatively darker blue background. I bought some tinting compound, and some mineral spirits (which the guy at the woodworking shop said would make a good material to mix with the filler to carry the tint), but I'm not sure about the proportions to mix them in to get a nice dark colour. Any suggestions would be welcome.

And while I'm at it, would it make sense to spray the analine dye on below the sealer, or above, like in the tutorial? I've read that doing it below the sealer can make the colour more vibrant, but I've also read that it won't mix well with the oil-based grain filler. I'm using the trans. blue aerosols from the reranch, if that helps, but I also have some powder I can mix myself.

Thanks for any help! I don't want to rush into anything, so I'm taking my time and asking lots of probably inane questions before I get down to actually doing it.
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Little Bit



Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Posts: 2840

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Tinting grain filler Reply with quote

emschwar wrote:
I'm not sure about the proportions to mix them in to get a nice dark colour.


Separate a measured amount grain filler.
Maybe 1/2 cup.
Measure out the pigment in 1/8 teaspoon.
Mix, need more Pigment?
Add another 1/8 teaspoon.
Less? add 1/2 cup grain filler.
This way you can easily repeat the recipe.
Some people use a scale but I have often used simple kitchen tools, of course I don't ever bring them back to the kitchen.
You can load a fair amount of pigment into the filler, up to around 8-10% depending on the filler and the tint.

The next important step is to spray a very light and dry coat or two of clear lacquer over the guitar, just enough to cover the surface of the wood but not enough to fill in the pores of the grain.
This prevents the pigment in the grain filler from staining the wood.
You can use dye to stain the grain filler but it tends to migrate some into your nitro topcoats.


Here is a simple example of steps,


1. stain and sand back to taste for more grain contrast.

2. light coats of clear

3. grain filler

3b, sand

4. S & S steps with sanding to build a perfect base for the dye to lay on. (on transparent guitars there is a school of thought that says stick to clear and don't use actual S&S in this step.)

5. Spray Dye

6. Spray clear

7. Spray clear

8. Spray clear

9. Light sanding

10. Repeat



There are many variations so its best to get some test scraps and see what you come up with.
I am positive other people have their own secret recipees. For instance, I like two different shades of medium dark tinted filler, poorly applied by going with the grain, then another layer of even darker filler applied properly.
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that's a lot of help. I'm sure it's obvious to you, but it's still helpful to me. Smile

I'm still curious if I can try to apply the dye before the sealer coat or not.

-=Eric
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Little Bit



Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Posts: 2840

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its not all that obvious to me.

Allot of trail and error and reading went into it.
I futzed around with this mysterious grain filler substance like everybody else.

The problem with dye under the sealer stage is how easy it is to sand thru.
And once you do how hard it is to fix.
Also as someone recently mentioned when you dye the wood itself and have to start over, not that any of us have ever had to Wink you need to soak the thing in solvent and do an acid bleaching to get back to your starting point.
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just about to get started, either tonight or maybe tomorrow, and I just thought of one more question: the guy at the woodworking store I bought my tint from said that I should probably mix it with mineral spirits first, strain that, and mix that with the filler. It sounds like you're suggesting to just dump it in the filler; which way do you suggest?
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guitarguy



Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 3515
Location: Colorful Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am confused about your poll. It looks as though you are using the word "sealer" and "grain filler" interchangably.

Sanding sealer is one component in a nice finish.

Grain filler is another component in a nice finish.


I have always grain filled first, then shot a coat of either vinyl sealer or a light coat of clear lacquer, then placed dye on the wood. After that I use sanding sealer over the dyed wood. If I want to do a burst I place a light coat of lacquer over the sanding sealer then do my first burst color (dye mixed into small amount of lacquer) and then successive colors the same way. Once satisfied with the burst I start coats of clear.
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guitarguy wrote:
I am confused about your poll. It looks as though you are using the word "sealer" and "grain filler" interchangably.


No, I'm just being hard to understand. Smile There were really two questions in my post, but only one of them in the poll.

The two questions were:

1) I bought clear grain filler. It was suggested that I tint the grain filler so that the grain would stand out under a translucent blue finish (actually a blueburst, but I didn't want to get too confusing). I was asking how to tint the grain filler properly.

2) Someone else suggested I spray on the translucent blue dye after the grain filler, but before sealing, to get a better colour. The only problem with this is that I'm using an oil-based filler, but the dye (from the reranch aerosols) is water-based (at least, I think so). The question of whether or not to do this before or after the sealer is what's in the poll

Sorry for being so confusing here. Sad

Quote:
Sanding sealer is one component in a nice finish.

Grain filler is another component in a nice finish.


I'm aware of that now (though I did post a question about this earlier; maybe you saw that one and got confused, I'm not sure). Since I'm going for a translucent finish, I'm going to follow a suggestion I read to just apply a clearcoat sealer instead of a sanding sealer, since I'm told the sanding sealer will make the finish a bit cloudy.

Your method for finishing is basically what I'm going to do; my only question at this point is tinting the grain filler. As I said, the guy at the woodworking store I bought the tint at told me to mix it with some mineral spirits, strain that, and mix the tinted spirits into the filler. Little Bit suggested mixing it in directly with the filler, so I was double-checking before I screwed something up. Smile
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Little Bit



Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Posts: 2840

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emschwar wrote:
but the dye (from the reranch aerosols) is water-based (at least, I think so).


We better find out,
I have never used a water dye and the technique might be totally different.
If it is water based dye we also need to hear from someone familiar with it.





You can apply dye to the wood and then start to clear coat but pretty soon you are going to need to sand, which is fine as long as you never get near the color layer.

The advantage of laying down and sanding a base of nitro is you can get everything really smooth and pit-less first, so after you apply the color far less sanding is required. You aren't spraying that much and you are practically sanding most of it away.
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little Bit wrote:
emschwar wrote:
but the dye (from the reranch aerosols) is water-based (at least, I think so).


We better find out,
I have never used a water dye and the technique might be totally different.
If it is water based dye we also need to hear from someone familiar with it.


I'll have to ask. It says they're all lacquer-based, but when I specifically click on the translucent blue, it says
Quote:
There is no lacquer in the aerosol and as such must be clear coated
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Lon



Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 6086
Location: Stephenville, TX

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is my understanding that the trans blue in the spray is not water based dye, but alcohol dye reduced in a sprayable solution( ie: dissolved dye, propellant, etc. ) for spray can use. Unlike a spray toner or all the colors on Reranch, it doesn't have any lacquer in the solution, so a sealer/top coat will need to be used to lock it in. Trans blue is the same as neck amber.

I use Japan colors or artist oils in a tube, directly into an neutral oil based grain filler. I don't premix the colorants with any other solvents, as it will affect the drying time of the filler. Add only enough in small increments to get desired color.

The use of 2 or 3 sealer coats on the wood before grain filling, is to seal off any possbilities of the grain filler's oils/color from staining the field of the body. It makes it easier to get back to a known starting point without a lot of sanding. Sealer coats also helps fill the pores of the wood. decreasing the amount of filler needed, getting rid of a muddy look on some woods and also helps with end grain color variances. I prefer to use clear lacquer for this purpose.

Hope this helps.
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statorvane



Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Posts: 1950
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I didn't notice in your post what type of wood you are using for the body. If you have a maple top, the water based dyes can be used to bring out any apparent, or lurking figuring in the wood. So you can apply a water based dye (usually in a darker color) to the top, sand back then apply a lighter color dye. This isn't a burst - just a way to get a better definition of any figuring. With maple there is no need for grainfiller.

For the porous woods, it is best to apply the grainfiler, then seal the wood. If you decide to tint, or are using a tinted grainfiller, applying a washcoat of clear lacquer will prevent any coloring in the grainfiller from staining the entire field of the body - it'll make the grain stand out better which sounds like what you are after here. Lon has some pretty good tips for tinting the grainfiller. After the grain/pores are filled (you'll need several applications or grainfiller) hold the body at an oblique angle to the light to see if there are any rogue pits. They'll jump out like canyons if you have a critical eye. Once adequately filled you are ready for the sanding sealer. After sealing the body, and no pits are evident, you are ready to shoot your tint coats & bursting. I've never attempted the burst part, but there are numerous references to bursting techniques on this forum.

Hope this helps and good luck. Sounds like a neat project.

Kelly
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

statorvane wrote:
Well, I didn't notice in your post what type of wood you are using for the body.


It's a swamp ash body. And thanks to everyone so far. I'm going to do the initial clearcoats today, and if I have time after they dry properly (thin, light coats should dry relatively quickly) I'll hopefully get to the grain filler today. This weekend for sure.

-=Eric
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to everyone here, I got the front of my guitar filled and partially sanded down. See my blog (link in my signature) for a pic. I'm having trouble getting it into the sides-- is it okay to wipe it on with a cloth? I was using a plastic putty knife to pull it across the grain, but that doesn't work too well with the sides.
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Lon



Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 6086
Location: Stephenville, TX

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get you some refinisher's gloves and apply filler using your fingers to pack it in the pores. Let flash off 10-15 minutes and rub off the excess briskly across the grain, with a coarse cloth dampened with naptha. This rubbing action builds up heat and thins the filler, enabling you to pack the pores even more. Let dry for 24 hours and lightly sand with 600 to smooth the surface. Repeat the process if needed to get surfaces smooth after sanding.
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emschwar



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Loveland, CO

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! That worked great! It's so much easier than how I tried the front. Well, I'll have to do both sides at least once more, I figure, so no harm done all told. But that's probably the best single piece of advice I've seen on applying grain filler!

As you can tell, I'm very impressed. Smile
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