Quilted Maple and Roasted Ash Strat


Senior member
Hey everyone, I need some suggestions on how to finish this top!

I used a mixture of timbermate walnut and ebony to grain fill the roasted ash. the ash will be pretty dark chocolate brown with oil (not sure, but will use danish oil, tru oil, or Tung oil) … like this:

I will eventually use one of these on the top too.

I have Keda powder and liquid sets, some trans tints, and some JE Moser aniline dyes.

thank you everyone!
You're off to a great start. Consider dyeing that top black or dark brown, then sanding it back, and using a lighter brown or amber. The grain will really pop. I did that with this item, and I'm very happy with the results.

Applied General Finishes Ebony water-based dye stain:

Then sanded back:

And then applied a burst consisting of the General Finishes Amber dye stain over the entire surface, and wiping on the GF brown and ebony toward the edges:

Finished product with a tru-oil finish:

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bagman, that looks awesome. That's definitely one of the looks i had in mind. I'm on the fence between:
- a dark brown sand back with amber, like yours.
- a finish like the Fender Strat Rarities guitars ... either straight oil, or maybe a light coat of amber or brown sand back.
- keep it dark, like a PRS copper or yellow tiger.

- I'm worried about the dye bleeding into the sides ... even with tape, I don't see how i can avoid it. It looks like you were able to mask off the ash. what did you end up doing for the ash?
- What pick guard did you use? Can you send a photo of it put together? I was considering doing an amber finish like yours, and going with a tortoiseshell pick guard (like Prince's Tele).
First mask off the top, leaving the ash exposed, and then seal the ash with shellac or some other sealer. Then you can take the tape off the top, and tape the ash along the edge where it meets the maple. It won't necessarily completely foreclose any bleeding, but it does a lot to minimize it. As it turned out, I decided to do the back in a hand-rubbed dye burst that matched the top, so my efforts to keep it from bleeding were pointless.

Ultimately I used a parchment pickguard and appointments (loaded pickguard lifted out of an Eric Johnson signature strat Mark I), gold hardware, and a Carvin neck with ebony on maple. I think tortoise would have been a distraction from the beauty of the maple top.

I dunno if you saw this thread, @Dero08 , but someone else is solving the same problem right now on this site.

Thanks bagman, i did see that thread. I feel like there's more flexibiltiy on that top because the core wood is mahogany ... which is naturally lighter than the roasted ash. Also, I wish i had a maple cap to work with, but unfortunately not on the strats.

I'm thinking i might do a natural faux binding. Also, i started applying the tru oil to the back of the body, and it's much lighter than the mooncaster above ... so i think i can probably keep the top a little dark without it looking too dark.

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Very nice! That roasted ash really does look rich with nothing but a clear coating, doesn't it?
the roasted ash looks nice on it’s own … it’s pretty interesting how different the shades of brown are on this body versus the mooncaster. I used identical grain fill products/techniques.

I used watco danish oil on the mooncaster vs tru oil on this one … I’m guessing it’s more to do with the wood itself than the oil, but I could be wrong.
Yep, it's the wood. No matter what you put on the roasted ash, it darkens more than you'd expect when you're looking at it unfinished.
Here's an update ... finished the back and sides (8 coats of tru oil, then 3 coats of a tru oil/arm r seal/naptha mix).

I've been mixing a ton of dye on test pieces, and I think it all looks like trash. So, as another idea, I started a test piece of maple different types of oils ... this one has polymerized tung oil, tru oil, golden oak danish oil, natural danish oil with JE moser oil soluble golden yellow oak, and natural danish oil. If i go this route, I will probably go with a tortoise shell pick guard or something with some more color/contrast. ... thoughts?

I liked it when it was just gold. Perhaps if you had put the dark brown on first, then sanded it back to leave what is left of the dark brown to accentuate the grain and then put the gold over the top, that would have looked good. So I would sand it back and then go gold.