I want to stain a guitar jet black, with no lacquer on top; what do I buy?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by NoahL, Feb 5, 2008.


  1. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    Call me nuts, but I want to stain this Tele I'm building jet black and put NO shiny stuff over it, not even a thin lacquer coating. I want it black and dry like an ebony fretboard, and maybe I'll oil it with a little Old English now and then, who knows. I want something that will show some scuffs and wear and tear, and I'm interested in having the wood be "unsealed." What kind of stain should I buy? Should I buy that ebony fretboard stain? Can I get the same kind of thing in a larger container? Do I buy a dye? Aniline dye? I really don't know which way to turn here, but I want to buy enough to do a whole Tele body and the fretboard at the same time... Suggestions.
     
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    What kind of wood?
     
  3. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Gold Supporting Member

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    how about getting an aftermarket body that has an ebony veneer on top? hey, if maple caps work for Pauls, why not an ebony cap for a Tele?
     
  4. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    Gosh, I don't know what this wood is. It's from a $149 kit guitar. It's four pieces of wood and some of them are essentially grainless and a couple have various kinds of grain. One piece, about 2 inches wide, almost has a striped maple look to it. Clearly this one was not intended to be a showpiece, so I want a black that will essentially obscure the grain. I just don't want to have to put 10 coats of lacquer or poly on it, and I really am intrigued at what a flat-black finish would look like and wear like. I could always re-do it later if the reusults aren't good.
     
  5. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    My reason for what kind of wood is some woods take stains differently and sometimes doesn't take much of the color at all. Have you thought about a flat black paint? With a black stain you could end up with a blue/purple color that's not very even. I guess the best way is experiment in a spot that wont be seen if it looks bad or find a similar piece of wood to see if your gonna be happy with it. The black fingerboard dye works well but it may not be what your after.
     
  6. rah3

    rah3 Gold Supporting Member

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    NoahL,

    You will need to seal the black stain, even if you only use oil or wax. The black pigment is suspended in the stain or paint in a medium like oil or polymer. After the finish drys, the black pigment will come off onto anything that rubs against it, like your hands or arm or clothing. matte lacquer sealer in a spray can will do it, and quickly. 2 coats and a sanding and it's done.

    -RAH3

    -
     
  7. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    Great answers, guys. I bought a bottle of the StewMac black stain. I'll do a test spot. If it comes out lousy, on goes the black paint. And matte lacquer sealer, as you recommend. I don't want my guitar rubbing off on my arm. Thanks again.
     
  8. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Another vote for a satin topcoat over a black color coat. You're going to wind up with visible pocks where the grain holes are if it's an open grained wood like ash, and you should think about filling them first before the color. Even though you don't have any spare wood of the same species as the body, I would still make a test board with the stain and topcoat so you can adjust your technique and you'll know how many coats of each will work.
     
  9. ManliusGuitar

    ManliusGuitar Member

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    I'd look at automotive paints. You can get a pretty good finish without using the clear-coats. I did a 'relic' coat-hanger like this with some red underneath, then a black overtop. No clear coat, came out nice for a worn look. The problem with automotive paint is it can be expensive, and is not a translucent stain.
    Just an idea...
     
  10. Cthross

    Cthross Member

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