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Hi Gang , Im just finishing a d18 clone , the mahogany looks nice as it is but Im wondering if a little red/brown shader might look a bit richer ? What do you think ? Like a Martin ? see stock pic .

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  Isn't it always nice to get to that stage in a build when these sorts of fun decisions are the icing on the cake?     Sure, I think a bit of red/brown toner would be nice. 

  Nothing overkill, but a bit... just to give it that "Martin-like" flair.   I'll bet you'll be happy you did :)  Post some pics when you're done?

Are you asking about the colour of the whole back/sides timber, or is your question about the heel cap?

If it is about the whole guitar - I do just like the look of natural mahogany, perhaps with dark accent in the pore-fill as shown in your photo. 

If you are asking about the heel cap then my question is what are the bindings made of?  I think the heel cap usually looks good matching the binding

Thanks Mike and Mark , my question is about the whole back and sides , I just used a pic that I had at hand . I used SM dark brown filler but I wish it was darker like in the pic . I think I will go with a reddish brown shade too .

Did the mahogany have sealer on it before the filler? If so some red-brown stain in the first lacquer coat is nice.

Unstained mahogany has a cheesy Eko look to my eye.

Greg Mirken

Hi Greg , it just had a light coat of lacquer , then filler , then clear lacquer . Maybe I should have sealed it better as little pin pricks are still sucking into the grain ?

Dang, I really like that color!  Surely can't address the grain-filling situation, but I dig the color you have there :)

Thanks Mike , thats clear lacquer so far .

Well, the clear finish certainly shows off the chatoyance of the wood nicely, but if you're going for a Martin vibe it's way too light. I use Mohawk stains I've had forever, and Medium Brown Walnut is a good place to start. Walnut stains usually have some warmth to them because unstained walnut can look sorta gray. Don't go too far toward red. Light tints allow you to adjust the tone with successive coats.

Greg Mirken

Hi, yes I like that color too. I try to stay away from staining if I can and keep to the natural color unless the customer asks for something different. My thinking is it's easier to color match any repairs down the track.

I like to use either a blond or orange shellac to add some body to the natural wood color when doing the sealing.

In this photo, you can see how simple it was to color match the finish on this mahogany body after back repairs. I built the guitar in 1978 and just adding the shellac to the back gave a good match to the sides.


I am working on this guitar as I write, so after 45 years I thought it was a pretty good match.
Cheers Taff

Heh-heh... shows ya' what I know!   Well then, it's a lovely clear :)

Very nice Taff , do you lacquer over the shellac ? Nice to be working on one of yours from the 70's .

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