Do dye jobs normally seen on figured maple tops look good on swamp ash?


Junior Member

While waiting for my swamp ash VIP to come in, I'm looking at many videos of people doing wild dye jobs on figured maple tops. However I don't see much of those dye jobs done on swamp ash bodies.

I guess there's a reason for this? Is swamp ash not well suited for those kind of jobs? Am I better off doing a simple wipe on oil finish on bare swamp ash? Or go single color? Blue would be great but I tried Angelus Blue Jeans dye on a northern ash scrap I have at home and it came out very blotchy. I didn't even try to burst it.

I even tried some bursts with colors I have on tap but it turned out to be a complete failure:

Ash I would say would be or is too open a grained wood for dye to work, similarly to the wood maple which is very close grained wood for bursts and so on.
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Go to the wudtone website for some ideas. I’ve seen dyed swamp ash and it looked pretty good, albeit in just one color. I’ve dyed alder and it came out great! Turquoise dye, then added mini sparkle silver flakes, topped with tru oil. It’s translucent. If you do a search of turquoise jazzmaster with my name you’ll see some pics.
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Go to the wudtone website for some ideas. I’ve seen dyed swamp ash in a single color for an entire body and it looked pretty good to me. .I’ve dyed alder and it came out great! Turquoise dye, then added mini sparkle flakes, topped with tru oil. It’s translucent.

Well, of course ash can be dyed with a single colour or Wudtone, but not for a burst or PRS sort of dye job.

You can even use tea as a stain if you are so inclined.

Yeah I can’t remember seeing a dyed burst ash body ... still single colors look good ... kinda surfy
Thanks for the replies. So I'm better off choosing a single color or go all natural.

Next body on my build list will use a maple top.

The wudtone website is really inspiring!
I've seen some dye jobs that I think look great! They usually involve filling the grain black or white and dying the rest a solid color. I haven't seen many bursts that I like on any wood.1668264654122.png
To answer your question directly.........I dunno? I do know that swamp ash is my favorite body wood for tone though!!
I love swamp ash too. It sounds great and looks real good. I just feel it's not meant to be dyied like the example I posted above. The grain is too different and the overall effect is not as impressive.

I know there's such a thing as curly ash. That might work.
The porosity of swamp ash make it not take dyes in the same way as maple tops. Also, the chatoyance of figured maple makes the dye have more texture and “pop”.
swamp ash not take dye as "3D" as figured maple .
to made swamp ash "pop " , it need Shou Sugi Ban Ash / Burn & dye Wood

this the first time I try fire and dye
Roasted Swamp Ash


This is how it look after today sanding: wood grain pop up

Second dye / colour, I use painting water colour, another kind of experiment .

Here you need a translucent water-based paint with powder to cover the darker color Roasted Swamp Ash



as coatings would made Roasted Swamp Ash darker , has add 3 more layers of sanding / colour and coatings.

Agreeing with pretty much everyone else that has answered. When you try to apply the same kind of dye that you would on a piece of figured maple, the big open chunks of grain in swamp ash tend to turn out super blotchy. I HAVE heard of people using wood stain for ash, although I'm not sure if I've ever seen any examples. Doesn't mean it's not good, just that I haven't seen any examples of which I'm aware. The beautiful blue burst body you showed is painted. Usually they'll hit it with the grain filler, then paint on the transparent blue paint, and keep layering that up around the edges for the burst. Honestly, I LOVE that look on swamp ash.
I even tried some bursts with colors I have on tap but it turned out to be a complete failure:
That picture looks like you need to do more work blending the transitions. I think you should be able to get that looking better with a little more work at it. Dyed fades between colors take a little practice from what I see, so I wouldn't give up right away.

If blotchiness is an issue you need to add something to seal the grain somewhat. That's necessary for lots of different types of woods.
Different woods have different characteristics. To make a metaphor, Ash is like a watercolour painting, and 3D Maple is like an airbrush. If you have to use textured watercolour paper and paint to imitate the effect of an airbrush, you will get arduous but fruitless and be disappointed. You can still paint the same subject matter and colors, but the techniques and textures are different