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Thread: Stain questions

  1. #1
    AxeTalker
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    Stain questions

    Hey, I'm going to be starting a Carvin bolt plus kit in a few days. My plan was to stain it a dark, antique brown then finish with Tru-Oil. After doing a tiny bit of research, I saw that many people recommend not staining alder.

    Any thoughts? Am I going to be disappointed with the results if I continue as planned? I might be willing to tint (which I believe is to stain after sanding sealer)


    I would appreciate any help.

  2. #2
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Alder sometimes doesn't stain evenly, but I had no problem staining and bursting it. Most people choose to use ash when they are going to stain because it has a prettier grain pattern.


  3. #3
    AxeTalker
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    I had some good luck with basswood, although the endgrain was a little finicky.

    While I went with a relatively expensive kit, I was on a budget so I went with the alder. I'll probably forge on and if it blows, I'll seal and paint.

    Any idea if using a liquid dye instead of a true stain would be better?

  4. #4
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phideltashaggy View Post
    Hey, I'm going to be starting a Carvin bolt plus kit in a few days...
    Good choice!
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  5. #5
    AxeTalker
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    Thanks, I know I'm going to love it. Maple fretboard, black diamond inlays, two black humbuckers and a cream single-coil in the middle.

    I would really like a natural wood (albeit stained/dyed/colored) finish, but I'm wondering what my best course is with alder.

  6. #6
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    A tip for the wiring of this guitar...

    I have a mid-90s Carvin Bolt. I love playing this guitar, but it is very bright sounding. I toned it down by swapping the 500k volume pot for a 250k. This helped a lot, but it is still brighter than most Fender strats. Swapping the tone control's capacitor will help this as well. I will experiment with that some day.

    You may want to assemble it as is. I am just mentioning this, so that if when you do put it together, if it is too bright for your tastes, you will know that there are work-arounds.

    And I am assuming here that your 2015 kit has the same electronics as the mid-90s finished Bolt.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  7. #7
    AxeTalker
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    I'll look into the wiring, but I'm planning on going fairly standard.


    Any thoughts on staining or dyeing the alder body?

  8. #8
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phideltashaggy View Post
    ...Any thoughts on staining or dyeing the alder body?
    Sorry, not my area of expertise.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  9. #9
    AxeTalker
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    No worries, I'm sure someone will have an idea.

    But I have been thinking about using different wiring diagrams, maybe a 7 way switch or something weird. If I go that route, I'll know who to turn to.

  10. #10
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Staining Alder


    Staining and Blending Difficult Woods -- Alder, Birch, Maple, Poplar, and...

    Sometimes it helps to search out of context of guitars. Both links have really good info.

    From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
    Alder is known as poor man's cherry. It takes finishes almost exactly the same as cherry and the same range of colors works well on it. It also looks good with "mahogany" and "walnut" colors (which don't look right on cherry, in my opinion) and takes paint as well as poplar, if not better!
    The door above is a good example of how the wood finishes if you don't take steps to keep the coloring even. And that's the rustic look that was desired, so it works well. Nice door!

    I think contributor C made a good point about the difference between grain and figure as well as using a washcoat to even out the coloring. Of course, sap stains, toners, glazes, and shading stains can also be used, as needed, to get even coloring with varying effects. I can't say I've heard of "figuring the grain," but in my area we probably have another name for it... something like "finishing."

    If you have a favorite finish(es) for cherry, the same finish(es) will likely look great on alder.
    Last edited by Mreilander; 02-03-2015 at 10:29 AM.

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