Have a 70s Granada from Japan with a minor crush in the lower bout.

Need to replace about a 4" section of six layer purfling (WhBlWhBlWhBl) that is totally missing.

Managed to work out a way to get 0.015 thick strips, but having trouble getting a deep enough black.

Black wood stain, india ink, soaking in iron/vinegar solution; all work to a degree but are either not black enough, or don't penetrate through the thickness of the strips.

I've tried maple, poplar, katalox, rosewood.

Before I go for other woods or trying increasing tannins by presoaking wood in black tea, I wanted to reach out here to see if I am missing an easier route (not including buying pre-blackened).

Any advise greatly appreciated.


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The most penetrating and permanent black I've ever gotten on wood is from using this leather dye.  It's pretty commonly available... oh, and wear disposable gloves!

Have not tried leather dye but will see if this is available here on amazon and give it a shot, thanks.

Also appreciate the reminder to use gloves!

The best one I've tried is Indian Ink, deep black with some shellac added.

Hi Roger,

I used the Speedball India Ink with shellac, and gave what I thought was a drenching, but after drying, and cutting the strips into shorter lengths for stacking and glueing, there was still a light band in the centre.

Do you add alcohol to improve the likelihood of penetration (thought of reprasing that but will let it sit...).


Well, no. I use it as a black base for black spirit varnish, I don't need it to penetrate deep into the wood.

Perhaps I am doing something incorrect.

I have a series of six wooden strips, about 5"X3/4"X0.015"

I glue them in a stack alternately Bl Wh Bl Wh Bl Wh.

Then I run through the bandsaw to get a smaller stacked piece about 5"X1/8"X0.09"

the plan is to then bend and glue it in place, bringing the top edge down to the level of the soundboard with scrapers etc..and add a binding strip outside of it.

All this cutting and scraping exposes the 'inside' of the strips I have coloured black, and I have not been able to get the colour (speedball india ink is blackest I've tried) to fully penetrate the wood thickness (even thought it is only 0.015" thick), I end up with a very thin light 'core' inside the black wood.

Have not tried mixing the ink with another solvent, might help slow the shellac drying time and increase the depth the colour soaks to before drying.

Will experiment more.

Also will try to source some black leather dye as an experiment.

Thanks again.


Ebony wood?

Hi Mark, if the leather stain will not cut it, I would try this. 

Layer up your laminations on a form with the radius of the area being worked on out of solid scrap timber.

Rout a channel the size of the one in the guitar.

when the laminations are bent to the correct curve and levelled down to a whisker of where they need to be, then stain them. 
And glue them up.

Hopefully the amount of finessing left on the actual guitar will not effect the depth of colour.

I would say you know by now how deep the stain is penetrating.

I use Colortone stain from Stumac, but not on a purfling strip.

cheers Taff

Hi again, just tried the Colortone black stain. Same result. I tried full strength and also soaked the maple in water thinking it would take the stain in further, but no.

I originally thought of Ebony. If you don't have any suitable I would buy a length of Ebony binding and rework it. 


This is turning out to be tricky.  Maybe time to take the easy option with black fibre sheets from StewMac or LMI?  Different thicknesses available and perfectly black all the way through.  Not cheating at all. 


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