Dyes and masking

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by LiveOVErdrive, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    So I see all kinds of guitars these days with dyed Maple tops and natural bevels and the like, and I can't figure out how to make that work. Even on a bound guitar, it seems like it would be difficult to mask off the binding just right so that when you dye the top, it perfectly matches the contour of the binding (or the bevel).

    So how is it done? Do you sand or scrape the dye off the clean parts? Do you just be super careful with your masking? Do you use tinted lacquer instead of dye?

    If you DO mask it, what do you use that will actually hold back a water based dye to a crisp line on bare wood?

    If anyone has a tutorial on this sort of thing I'd be really appreciative.
     
  2. Kyle01

    Kyle01 SS.org Regular

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    I've done something similar to this, although not quite as intense as masking bevels and such.

    I did an RG8 with a natural top and dyed sides and back (water based), and I just taped the top up really thoroughly before dyeing the rest. I think i had a small amount of bleed through onto the top on one part, but it was easily knocked off with sandpaper.

    The tape I used was just the basic painter's tape. It did a better job of preventing bleeds than I expected, the amount of sanding after taking the tape of was really minimal.
     
  3. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Masking the natural binding and just sweeping carelessly over the edges doesn't work. The end grain sucks the dye up a lot quicker and deeper than a surface, so it can't easily be sanded off. Try keeping your cloth as dry as possible and pulling upwards towards the edges, best way to get a clean result.
     
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  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire baritone6/8 string hoarder

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    Here's a couple different ways I've tried doing it:
    1. buy frog tape and use that to mask off the area. works better than regular painters tape imo with basically no bleed through. then dye the top. scrape/sand if needed.
    2. apply without taping, but scrape the binding/bevel (not recommended if you want lighter woods to stay super natural)
    3. seal the bevel/dye the top (don't seal it), then scrape/sand dyed sanding sealer off.
    I've had the best luck with #1 when using alcohol based dyes (since I don't use water based dyes).
     
  5. Killemall1983

    Killemall1983 SS.org Regular

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    Most of it is done with kandy color, not dyes.
     
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  6. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Tried an experiment tonight. I masked the sides but not the top. The white plastic binding didn't take much stain to begin with, and then scraping it with a razor blade turned out to be super easy.

    IMG_20171005_194129_01.jpg
     
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  7. Taylor

    Taylor Formerly... someone

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    For a natural bevel, what I've done is a wash coat. You mask the part that will be dyed, apply your clear coat to the bevel, then you can apply your dye. It worked out pretty well for me.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Do you then scrape the bevel or does it just not take the dye?
     
  9. Taylor

    Taylor Formerly... someone

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    The clear coat prevents the dye from being absorbed by the wood. The only thing you have to be careful about is the masking job. To get the relatively clean lines I did, I ended up using probably over a hundred tiny pieces of tape to follow the curve precisely.
     
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  10. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    For masking, I use an elastic 3M tape that's available in various widths. Follows all curves perfectly.
     
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  11. Mr_Mar10

    Mr_Mar10 SS.org Regular

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    Does anyone dye the tops *then* do the round overs etc on the top?

    Kinda looks like that on stuff like skervesen etc etc, not tried it yet but kinda looks like it to get such clean edges :p

    (Lol, rambling need caffeine)

    Taylor, how did u do the blue ones in your avatar? (Sick btw :shred: )
     
  12. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire baritone6/8 string hoarder

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    that'd be a waste of time to dye the top and then immediately carve/grind off the part you want as a bevel.
     
  13. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    I did that for a prs style faux binding on my first build and it worked okay. I used a sixteenth inch round over bit
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the aesthetic of the beveled top, but, regardless of that, that finish you posted looks fantastic. :yesway: Also, double kudos for answering this question once and for all as to how this sort of thing is done.
     
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  15. Taylor

    Taylor Formerly... someone

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    The one in my avatar is the same that I posted. It was done with transtint dyes and denatured alcohol. It was done by applying a coat of black dye, sanding the black back until it's only in the deep grain, then applying your color coats. I think I used 3 different color mixes for this one, a darker blue for the outside, a blue-green mix, and a more green than blue mix for the center.
     
  16. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Does mixing the transtint with alcohol work a lot better? I've been using water.

    I've had problems on my recent test pieces where I do the black dye and sand it back and it looks great, but then when I apply the next colors or clear coat, the black bleeds into the lighter areas and it ends up lower contrast than I want. Am I just not sanding enough? Or is there some trick to cleaning the dust off or wiping on the color coats and not making the black bleed? Will denatured alcohol help?
     
  17. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire baritone6/8 string hoarder

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    I'd recommend hitting the wood with the black dye, sanding it back, and then applying a clear sanding sealer. Helps prevent the black from bleeding into the other colors. Otherwise you've got to be a lot more careful if you do it all in one layer and really sand back the black so that it only occupies the high part of the grain.
     
  18. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Will the wood take the dye with the sanding sealer applied?
     
  19. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    Is there a certain kandy color to thinner mixing ratio to get the natural wood grain to show thru? Or is thinner even used?
     
  20. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Oh I see. You dye the grain and then use translucent color coats over a clear sealer. Gotcha. Just watched a video of kiesel doing that.
     

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