Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Staining Coat

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The long weekend presented an opportunity to get some work done, so I went ahead and did some initial stain work.

Since my last post, I have spent a number of hours sanding and sanding. I gotta say, its amazing how much sanding there is to do. You would think that for an instrument that is so small that this wouldn’t be such a large time consumer, but it really is. Every time you get done with one area, another presents itself. Then, once you finished with that, its time to drop to a finer grit and do it all over again. But, even so, the results are worth it. I really love the way the wood feels when finally sanded to a 600 grit – very smooth.

While pictures really don’t do it justice, IMHO, here are some shots “in the white”.

So before I got to staining, I decided to go back to review a video I had seen about how to create a sunburst stain effect on a mandolin. I had found THIS VIDEO from Fine Woodworking by James Condino once before and decided I would try to use his techniques.

To begin, I started on the back and, using the Charcoal Brown dye, began by rubbing this in to enhance the “quilted” effect of the maple. Here are some before, during, and after shots.

This is really just another shot of “in-the-white” for comparison.

Here I have rubbed the back down with water, as Mr. Condino suggests, to prevent too much dye from getting in too deeply to work with.

Here I have rubbed in the stain across the entire surface of the wood (in hindsight, I believe I put down too much, but I don’t think it ended up creating an issue – I will use less and thinner on my next mando).

And, finally, here is how it looked after sanding off the majority of stain. Its kind of hard to see the difference in this photo, but when I hold it up and move it around, there appears to be more “depth” to the wood now.

Similar to the back, I chose to do the same to both the sides, neck, and the peghead (I went lighter on the neck since I want it to be almost white in the long run). Here is how they looked.

With these two, you can get an idea how this will look when it’s finished. I’m pretty psyched.

And once again, the pictures don’t really tell the tale – the “depth” is pretty cool.

I’m really going to be interested in how the back of the peghead comes out. After sanding off the stain, it has some of the quilted effect, but not like the body and sides (it is a veneer, if you recall). If I don’t like it, I figure I can always stain it really dark – the tuners will just stand out more that way.

Well that’s about it for now. I still plan to try my hand with the sunburst on the one remaining spare soundboard I have before I commit to the mandolin, so hopefully I can show you that next time.


SoddyDenizen said...

Very nice job of staining the back and sides, the grain is highlighted beautifully!

lutheriefromscratch said...

Thanks. I have since been working on finishing it and the lacquer makes the grain stand out even more. I found that the maple was pretty easy to stain, especially in comparison to the spruce. It seems from what I have read that this opinion is pretty widely held by real luthiers, too.