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  • Gibson staining technique

    A gentleman asked me for a build and wants a specific looking finish. He showed me a photo of a Gibson LP with what appears to be a maple top that has dark (if not black)
    figure. I recall reading something in the past that they accomplished this look by rubbing black paint on the maple and then removing as much as possible leaving a dramatic darkening of the flame. The top would then be finished in a colored translucent. Anybody more familiar with this?

  • #2
    perhaps a black grain filler was used...?

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    • #3
      My 40th anniversary paul has an ebony finish which is not quite black.
      Colored laquer is used not paint or stain. Stain is oil based and clear lacquer can peel off over time.
      Pigment is added to the clear lacquer to get any color you want.

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      • #4
        Sorry if I'm not describing this very well. The photo showed a red LP with what appeared to be black flame in the maple. The guitar was not black, only the figure in the top. Sorry.

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        • #5
          Sorry if I'm not describing this very well. The photo showed a red LP with what appeared to be black flame in the maple. The guitar was not black, only the figure in the top. Sorry.


          are you familiar with how grain filler is used? sorry, not trying to be a smart-ass...sounds like it could very well create the effect youre describing

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          • #6
            i am unsure exactly what gibson did, but i am pretty sure that they would have used a black wood dye and then sanded it back lightly leaving only the black dye in the more porous wood, then they probably used a red wood stain or dyes to get the red color on the less porous parts of the wood grain. when clear coated this gives the massive 3D effect noted on guitars like PRS etc.... there are many tutorials and youtube vids on how to do this....

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            • #7
              are you familiar with how grain filler is used? sorry, not trying to be a smart-ass...sounds like it could very well create the effect youre describing


              I am familiar with filler, I have only used it for more porous woods like Rosewood. Maple being such a tight grain, I would be surprised to see it have much affect. It is however worth consideration.

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              • #8
                i am unsure exactly what gibson did, but i am pretty sure that they would have used a black wood dye and then sanded it back lightly leaving only the black dye in the more porous wood, then they probably used a red wood stain or dyes to get the red color on the less porous parts of the wood grain. when clear coated this gives the massive 3D effect noted on guitars like PRS etc.... there are many tutorials and youtube vids on how to do this....


                Something along this line is what I suspect as well.

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                • #9
                  i am unsure exactly what gibson did, but i am pretty sure that they would have used a black wood dye and then sanded it back lightly leaving only the black dye in the more porous wood, then they probably used a red wood stain or dyes to get the red color on the less porous parts of the wood grain. when clear coated this gives the massive 3D effect noted on guitars like PRS etc.... there are many tutorials and youtube vids on how to do this....


                  ^^^This^^^
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                  • #10
                    Yup, that's the ticket. Here's a decent tutorial on it:
                    http://www.exit45.com/ttnp/DyingQuilt

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                    • #11
                      I am familiar with filler, I have only used it for more porous woods like Rosewood. Maple being such a tight grain, I would be surprised to see it have much affect. It is however worth consideration.


                      im sorry tomm, for some reason i read ASH where you said MAPLE

                      youre right, it probably wouldnt work so well on maple

                      sounds like the other guys have a good idea of what you need---good luck with it

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                      • #12
                        I still say its done with colored lacquers. Since theres no photo I cant be 100% sure what effect you're talking about though. .

                        What it does sound like by the description is flameed maple where they put a tourch to the wood and scorch it.

                        I highly doubt either dyes, stain or wood fillers are used for the effect.
                        I'm not saying it isnt something a hobbiest cant use to get that effect,
                        its just not something you would see used on an automated assembly line and have accuracy.
                        Those would be techniques you'd do by hand.

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                        • #13
                          I still say its done with colored lacquers. Since theres no photo I cant be 100% sure what effect you're talking about though. .

                          What it does sound like by the description is flameed maple where they put a tourch to the wood and scorch it.

                          I highly doubt either dyes, stain or wood fillers are used for the effect.
                          I'm not saying it isnt something a hobbiest cant use to get that effect,
                          its just not something you would see used on an automated assembly line and have accuracy.
                          Those would be techniques you'd do by hand.


                          "Popping" the grain with black or other dark dye is pretty common among builders. Not all that time intensive either.
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                          • #14
                            "Popping" the grain with black or other dark dye is pretty common among builders. Not all that time intensive either.


                            I agree. Very commonly used technique to pop maple grain, be it flamed or quilted. Takes about 2 minutes to sand it back using a random orbital sander. Using a stained lacquer would color the entire surface of the wood, and the flame wouldn't "pop" in any fashion because the lacquer covers all aspects of the wood in the same fashion, whereas the stain soaks into the flame part more deeply than the non-flamed part, allowing you to sand the non-flamed part back while accentuating the flame figure. The last presentation I went to, the presenter actually used dark purple stain instead of black, it really made the grain pop out.
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