Would anyone have any ideas on a Honeyburst finish on Alder. I have attached a pic of the color I'm looking for. Thanks so very much.


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 Michael that looks to me like you would spray first with yellow with a drop of red in the yellow or you may have to put a drop of mahogany in the yellow in place of the red then you spry the eadge with a lite coat of Mahogany and over spray alite coat of the mahogany over the yellow as well at the same time the last coat is tb.brown on the eadge . When you spray over the yellow you should spray some clear coat over the yellow right away as well .When you are doing a sunburst you realy need two sprayer at the same time as you need to spry a clear coat to fill in the rest when you are doing the eadge's. Good luck Bill..............

Thanks Bill,

This really helped out a lot. It's amazing that there's no formula for this finish out there. Stewmac's finishing book doesn't even have it. When I'm done spraying, I'll post a pic. Thanks again,


Hi Micheal,

Bill has given you the option of starting with a single source dye/stain finish and adding additional dye types to tune up the mix which is what we often do (this also allows us to develop our own particular finish appearance). 

If you want to go direct from the bottle - this is (over a mild alder bare wood color) "vintage amber" as a base coat with a dilute "red mahogany" or "mahogany" burst around the periphery.   The guitar sides are probably a darker shade of red mahogany or even a "cherry/medium brown".   These dye names are common descriptions when purchasing dyes from the major suppliers including Stewmac. 

The schedule I use these days for most bursts is a couple of sanding sealer coats, taken back to flat, followed by a three or more (vintage amber in this case) coats, a couple of clear coats, sunburst to your liking with an increasing intensity of shader coats. 

I separate each shader coat with a clear coat so if it goes wrong I can take it back a step by sanding off the errant shader and sacrificing the underlying clear  to protect the previous good burst section.  The interleaving of shaders coats in the sunburst also gives some depth to the sunburst edge which helps give a more natural look to the burst areas as the burst appears to blend and "fall away" towards the edge of the guitar.   Finish up with as many skinny clear coats as you can stand ( the more of these finish coats, the more natural and 3 dimensional the sunburst will appear - particularly with the interleaved clears in the burst).

Regards, Rusty.

Also, it's a good idea to write down the formulas so you have them for next time. If testing colors and adding a drop of this here and a drop of that, the ratios are changing as you are spraying, changing color, etc. I like to make small batches and spray a color test strip.

We all have our own methods - the ones that work. I like to start with a screaming yellow ground color and the seal with clear, as others mentioned, then on to the burst edge and toning down with thinned out brown. You can also tone down colors that are too bright by using brown. I use black sparingly.

I use lots of red, brown, yellow, black, clear, sometimes blue, and have gotten away from the premixed colors - that's just me, though. primary colors, black and brown, and lots of samples :)


Thanks guys for all your help. It's got me on the way. I knew I could count on FRETS.NET and thank you Frank.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Nice avatar!


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