I've read in the "Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step" that to "replicate the mahogany color of many Martin guitars made since the late 1930's you can mix 1 part Red Mahogany and 1 part Dark Walnut (both water-stains)". Well, Stew Mac sells Red Mahogany, but not Dark Walnut. Where would I get the Dark Walnut? And, what is a good "go-to" recipe to replicate that mahogany color. I've been busting my balls trying to find it. I guess I'm just not good at matching colors yet. What do you guys do? What do you recommend? I have so many jobs that come through that I need to be able to match that "Martin" mahogany color better than I have been. And, they all seem to be about the same shade. Please help guys!!! I'd like to make up about a half a quart of this stuff to have around the shop. Here is a pic of a repair I'm trying to do right now, with that martin color I'm trying to match. I haven't done much to it yet. Any help would be appreciated!!

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Well, here's the answer you don't want to hear, but probably expect:


That's about all there is.  

Martin's mahogany stain varies in color from decade to decade, year to year, week to week, and batch to batch, so matching it is different for each job.

You need to mix the Mahogany with the Tobaco brown as your walnutuntil you get your color.

Well, those are the two I've been just practice I guess. What is the average ratio usually...just ballpark me something to start from?

Give me a bit of time and I will see if i can mix some to that color and get back to you Jeff I have done it befor.  Bill................

Thanks Bill!


Well this is what I come up with Jeff I hope this is some help to you.. Three drops of Medium brown

three drops yellow and one drop of Cherry red. the picture of the sample is on Mahogany the one side is of corse the 1/4 cut side and the other the slab side both have a little laquer on. Now if I were doing the touch up I would take a piece of masking paper and tear a hole a bit bigger than the spot you want to treat and lift the paper up around the hole so you will get a little over spray in there but not enoff to stick the paper to the finish. About an hour after you spry it you can take the paper off and steelwool the over spry off . If you need to make it a bit darker just add a we bit of black or tobacco brown to the mix. I don't very often use the Mahgany stain myself. You under stand this is mixed in Laquer Bill.......


Thanks, it looks pretty dang close

I keep jars of red, tobacco brown, black and yellow stain around for mixing colors. I don't often need the yellow but I have found that I often need some black in the Red/brown mix to get the tone right. I also like to use a touch of shellac on the stain to get a feel for how it will look under finish.

I'm getting better at matching but Frank's "Practice" comment is definitely the case with me.

It's too bad you can't just take your guitar to home depot and have them mix up a batch of stain like they do with a swatch of paint. :)

Jeff they are not very good pictures  the laquer was still wet  but it is a place for you to start from Good luck  Bill......

Thanks, that's a good start!!

Anyone else have any "Starting Base" recipe's they'd like to share??


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