black dye question

red king

Junior Member
Hi Guys

After dying (black) and finishing my Swamp Ash strat with Tung Oil, I found that it wasn't turning out how I envisioned, so I'm going to try something else.  I sanded off the Tung oil and most of the dye with my mouse.  How do I get the rest of the  dye out that has absorbed a little deeper in to the wood?  Or can I?  I was thinking since it is water based dye, that I could wipe with a wet towel or scrub with a wet brush to get the dye out.  If that fails, what about bleach?  Keep in mind that there is a sealer coat of shellac underneath everything that has absorbed into the wood a little bit.


Well you could just keep sanding will you hit the bare wood again... Maybe someone else has experience with "bleaching", but on swamp ash you might wind up raising the grain so much you could wind up doing more sanding anyway...
If you sand it out, which would work you may start changing  the profile of the body, try striping it.

Strip it with Jasco Paint and Varnish Remover.  Follow the direction on the can up to the point that they tell you to wash it down with water.  Don't use water!  Do a final wash with Acetone and 0000 steel wool.  Lightly sand with 220 paper and it will be clean and ready to finish.  

I do not think wood bleach will help you in your case.  Good wood bleach has two components, part A starts the bleaching process and part B neutralizes the wood so it can be finished without problems.  It does not change the color of stain in the grain but it will change the color of the wood so I would not go that route.  It raises the grain very little.

I will be doing a 1960 style 3 tone sunburst where I  bleach the Alder in the next couple of weeks.  I'll post the bleaching, staining, and bursting process.
Thanks for the advice.  I don't want to keep sanding it because I don't want to end up with a soloist body shape!!


Swamp ash, being moderately open and coarse (in comparison to all of whats out there) is gonna be a real pain in the keister to get the black out of.  I tried, and quit trying to get the black out of dense maple.  Your best alternative may be to wash the top with a very dilute dye again, resand it, then dye it with another strong color that will use the black as "contrast".  Just a suggestion thats all.
Thanks CB

I know what you mean.  It doesn't want to go away easily.  I was thinking I might try that if I can contain the black dye to the "grainy" areas.


This is normally where NonsenseTele would chime in and say...."Paint it Black" or even better  "Dark Black"


Don't understand you question so much:
Are you searching another color or another way to do this color?
the dye was too dark so the grain didn't show through at all.  I may try it again with a more diluted dye.
The diluted dye solution might work, not an expert on dye jobs; are you saying that the original black dye is still that prevalent outside of the grain lines, even after sanding?
yep - although I will give it another good scrubbing with synthetic steel wool tonite and see how much comes off.
a picture would help here.  One technique that builders and companies do is to: dye black then sand off, leaving the darkened grain.  Is that a possibility?  It seems, since you're looking to see the grain, that you may prefer this?
that's my goal - however, since swamp ash is very porous, the dye absorbed rather deeply into the wood in some spots and it's tough to get out.  I don't want to sand the body too much either and lose the contours.
I might suggest trying some lacquer thinner, or denatured alcohol when you scrub.... depending on the what dissolves the dye best.
The real reward will be down the road a ways, If you don't give up, someday, that guitar will mean more to you than another guitar, because you put so much effort to make it nice and your own.  Good luck , looking forward to pics
red king said:
that's my goal - however, since swamp ash is very porous, the dye absorbed rather deeply into the wood in some spots and it's tough to get out.  I don't want to sand the body too much either and lose the contours.

I mixed black stain with grain filler to re-finish this body,(it was originally clear gloss). After it dried I sanded it off starting with 400 paper and worked up to 0000 steel wool. It hasn't blunted the contours any. Maybe this is similar to what you are after? I wanted a relic-ish look so I left a few patches in the black and satin coated the whole body but I could have cleaned it up a lot more............hope this helps. Willy


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