DIY Guitar // Part 3: Staining

Guitar Staining Intro It's time for the next part of our DIY Guitar Series, staining! This is the step where the guitar really started to transform. Jake and I are so pleased with how this baby is coming along, and we are happy to share the entire process with you! Enjoy!

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If you are working on a guitar project and want to prep for stain, the first step is to sand the entire guitar body. This helps the stain adhere to the wood, and also creates an even stain application over the entire surface. Looking back, we wished we had spent a little more time and attention sanding, because after staining there were a few spots darker than others. Our advice is to take special care with the sanding process!

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Next, we covered any exposed hardware to prevent it from getting stained. The only exposed portion we had were these bridge post holes. Jake covered them with blue tape, and then used a sharp knife to cut around the edges for a perfect seal.

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These are the supplies we used to stain: rubber gloves, Minwax Emerald Wiping Stain, and staining pads which can be purchased at Home Depot. The only other thing we used was a plastic trash bag under the guitar body to protect our surface.

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Now, we were ready to stain! To begin, you can either squirt the stain onto the staining pad, or you can put a small amount on a plate and dip the staining pad in the stain and then apply. We used both methods! Note: If you use any Minwax wiping stains, be careful because they come out super fast when squeezing the bottle! We may or may not have made a few messes that way...

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We then began applying the stain to the body. In this photo I am applying it in a circular motion, but we switched to applying it with the grain instead. We stained the entire top while it was sitting on the table, and then when moving to the sides and back, one of us would pick up the guitar in the holes and hold it while the other person stained. If you are alone, you can make a makeshift stand out of cardboard tubes to prop up the guitar while you stain.

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Here you can see the body fully stained while Jake evens out the color. We paid close attention to ensure that the guitar got an even look on the entire body. If you aren't totally pleased after the first coat, don't worry! Ours didn't look great after the first coat, but the second coat created a rich color and evened out any imperfections.

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Here the is the entire body after one coat! We are really pleased with this stain and love the color. In part four of this series, you will be able to see what the body looked like after 2 coats of stain, and then we will move on to the oiling process.

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We hope you have been learning a lot through this series! It has been a big learning process for us as well. Thanks so much for reading!

Looking for all of the parts of this series? Check them out here: 1/2/3

DIY Guitar // Part 2: Sketching + Woodburning

TITLE INTRO Hi guys! I hope you enjoyed last week's post that was part one of our new series, DIY Guitar! Now, it is time for part deux! This will cover my sketching process to come up with the perfect design, and then about the wood burning process and some tips. Enjoy!

guitar sketch 1

Jake and I threw a lot of ideas back and forth about what kind of design to put on this guitar. At some point, we settled on a koi fish because we both like Asian art and Japanese tattoos. We also thought the shape of the koi body would flow well with the shape of the guitar. This was one of our final sketches, which I drew on a guitar body template I made up in Photoshop.

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However, at the last minute, I think both of us knew we weren't crazy excited about the koi fish design. Although I was the one drawing, the whole sketching process was very collaborative between Jake and I, especially because he will be the one playing the guitar! One day we had an aha moment. One of our favorite bands is Four Year Strong. They have a lyric that goes "We built this city on heart and soul," and once we started discussing that as a possible design, we were hooked. This was one of the original sketches, but we improved it before getting started.

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Here is a refined sketch before we began wood burning. It incorporates a city and sunburst, as well as stars and a planet to make it a little more etherial. As you can tell, I didn't draw out the entire design perfectly before sketching it on the guitar in pencil, but that is kind of how I work. I usually save the final sketch for the final product, and do it freehand.

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We were now ready to begin wood burning! I used a Walnut Holly Creative Woodburner, which has lasted me over 6 years and it has always been reliable and awesome.

woodburning tips

If you're unfamiliar with wood burning, here is a little guide to get you started. There are a ton of different tips you can purchase for your woodburner, and most come with about 4 when you buy it anyway. The ones I use most commonly are these three.

The universal tip: this is what I used for the majority of the guitar design. It has a very straight and sharp edge that creates clean, straight lines. Curves are a little more difficult with this baby

The point tip: This was a new tip I picked up, that I now love! I used it for all the stars because it makes nice little perfect circles. I also used it for some of the curves, like in the planet and lettering.

The shading tip: I didn't do any shading for this project, but it's a great little tip. The harder you press, the darker your shading will be!

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Here is how the design turned out. I was very pleased with it considering I hadn't woodburned a big project since this longboard.

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Here's our whole design! We love it! Let me know what you think of it in the comments, and if you have any questions about wood burning guitar projects, let us know! Stay tuned for Part 3: Staining! x. Paige

DIY Guitar // Part 1: Supplies + Testing

I am thrilled that Jake and I have finally started our big project of designing a guitar body and then getting it all set up and wired to play! I previewed the project in this photo at the beginning of the summer, and it has taken us this long to do all of our research and gather the supplies. This project is a bit of an undertaking, so we will be sharing it as a series of posts over the next few weeks. Stay tuned! Today we will be sharing all of the supplies we will use throughout the process, how we chose the guitar, and some experimentation we did to prep.

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After doing our research, we gathered everything we thought we would need to design, stain, and finish the body of the guitar. Here are some of the supplies we are using:

-Miquelrius sketchbook & ink pen, for design ideas -pencil, for testing the art on the guitar body -woodburner, for the art -pliers, useful to change out tips of the wood burner -rubber gloves, for staining -staining pads, for applying the stain -Minwax Emerald Express Wiping Stain, we chose a green stain for the body! -220 grit sandpaper, a very fine grit to help us smooth out the body gently -steel wool, to sand off the oil coatings after staining -Tru-Oil and cheesecloth (not pictured), which is what we will be using to make the guitar shiny after the staining process is complete.

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The body we chose is a Warmoth Musiclander. Jake was awesome and let me help choose the shape from the Warmoth Custom Body Builder. I preferred all of the "Modern Styles" but decided on the Musiclander because it wasn't too crazy, and still had a traditional feel to it. Jake liked this choice as well, and that was that!

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The guitar is made of Alder wood. So far it has proved easy to work with, which is great. It is also a beautiful color. We considered going with a brown-toned stain and even had it in our cart at Home Depot, but at the last minute spotted the Emerald version and thought, why not? We did however have to track the color down on Amazon, because it isn't stocked through Home Depot.

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We were then ready to prep the guitar for sanding. The body is high quality, so it was already pretty smooth, but we went over it with a very gentle 220 grit to get it perfect.

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Testing beforehand is always a good idea. We wore rubber gloves and then squirted some stain out onto a paper plate. Then dip a staining pad into the stain. A little goes a long way when it comes to this product, so work with it in very small amounts. We then rubbed it along the direction of the woodgrain, on a test piece of wood from the craft store. You can test different methods and how many coats you would like at this point.

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Since we decided to wood burn our design into the guitar, I practiced that on the scrap wood as well. This was useful to test out the new tips I had purchased, to see what each one can do. In the third part of this series, I will elaborate on each tip and what kind of results they will create!

That's all for now! Thanks so much for reading and check back soon for the next part of our series, the Design + Sketching process!