Hey Guys,

I need to match the color of the aged lacquer on this Martin HD-28's Binding. I tried to take some pictures but they don't really show the color well. I've included a picture of some lacquer I've left outside to get a little UV damage, like Frank recommended. I just don't think it'll be the right color. I've tried adding a little Vintage Amber and then another batch with some Tobacco Brown. The one with Tobacco Brown is the closest. But I was curious what you guys use to get that look. Do any of you have any "recipies" for it? It's more of a tan color than an amber on the binding I'm not repairing. The binding I'm working on has been scraped back until it's WHITE. It really stands out. The guitar is about 16 years old, so it hasn't aged that much. Unfortunately I don't have any scrap binding to practice on. Any help would be appreciated. In the picture, the lacquer has been outside in the sun since 4-6-2011.The other pic is the binding I'm trying to match. It looks white, but it has a tint to it, you really can't tell though.

Views: 707


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


Hey Jeff... color-matching is certainly not my forte' by any means, but I can tell you that I, too, have been keeping some lacquer outside to get some color depth to it.  

It's been sitting outdoors since August of last year and has been steadily getting darker, but it's taken a full 8 months to get the shade that it is now.


Watch out for those "real cherry pits" they can make nitro lighter. :/
Mike that looks delicious. How are you keeping that jar in place, it looks like its floating?
Hmmm,  I s'pose it does... it's sitting on a round fence railing and there's a horizontal wire strung about 5" above the railing. The lid of the jar sits in a wire 'loop' affixed to the lateral wire. The whole point of that was to keep the jar in constant sunlight (-an oxymoron in Oregon-) and allowed to sway free without being knocked-over by wind and stormy weather.
For me matching color on bindings has basically been by trial and error. I take a scrap piece of binding and wipe on alcohol stain and try to get it close, sometimes it works out perfect, sometimes not. Then final top coat with clear lacquer or shellac. You may not get it perfect, but after a few years of aging on the instrument, looks may improve

Binding is cheap, buy some, and experiment with what works best for you. There are many solutions for these situations, many times.


I usually add a little brown fof newer, a little amber (and sometimes brown) for older. Just a miniscule amount though. Then, thin and airbrush on the binding.

  Just remember, if it looks perfect now, it will be really dark years from now.

 I uauslly try to hit middle of the road if I can.

 To get another scrap and practice is highly recommended. Be sure to give the sample a few coats of clear as well, because this will make it slightly darker also.

 This is a task I have to learn over each separate time I do it.


 I didn't know (or think) of the preUV idea. I'm gonna get me a jar out there soon.  DH


You go with an alcohol stain first? I usually use an airbrush for the color coat then shoot clear over it. What's your recipie/procedure?

You can do this without an airbrush or any spray equipment. Use a Q-tip swab to apply stain, once you have the right color, top off with clear lacquer applied either with an artist brush or a Q-tip. Apply sufficient coats of lacquer, let it cure, wet sand, buff, and polish.




Thanks Jim,

I've ordered some extra binding to practice all this on. I've just been lucky that all the jobs like this I've done, the binding was blinding white, and clear worked just fine. 

No recipe.  I mess around until it looks right.  You need to use dyes.  You would need a thick layer of that aged lacquer to see much color.  I have a bottle of amber nitro that is kind of like a solera of sherry; I add to it when it gets low.  Some part of it has been in that bottle a long time.


The Colortone or TransTint "vintage amber" is IMO too yellow.  TransTint comes in a color called Golden Brown (I don't know if Colortone does) that is a better match for yellowed lacquer.  I sometimes blend the two.

I have a batch of touchup lacquer in which I added amber and a small amount of opaque white (Colortone brand). The mixture has a slight butterscotch tint but is very translucent. The white helps tone down some of the yellow that the amber produces.


© 2022   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service