July 27th...I spent yesterday doing the final sanding (grain-raisings and sanding) of the mandolin, in preparation for doing the sunbursting. Last night I began the sunbursting process. I finished it today.

I used analine dyes to do the sunburst staining. The dyes I used were powders which are soluble in denatured alcohol. I bought four colors --- yellow, red mahogany, brown mahogany, and dark walnut --- which I mixed in different combinations to get the three basic colors I wanted, in quite diluted concentrations. The yellow (Canary Yellow) was too bright and fluorescent, so I just put a tiny touch of the mahogany red in it to make it more of a golden yellow. The other two colors I ended up with were kind of a reddish-brown and a darker brown.

I practiced first on some scraps, to get a feel for the technique of hand-rubbing the stain. I didn 't want to spray it on, because I wanted the grain to show more prominently, and I felt as if I had a bit more control doing it by hand.

Doing the blending was kind of tricky, as the alcohol dye dries so quickly. But I found using tiny circular motions over and over again, as I rubbed the dyes in, helped to blend the colors fairly well.

After I finished the staining, I let it dry. Then I sealed it by spraying on a coat of the waterborne urethane I will be using. This is to prevent the dyes from leaching onto the binding later after I have scraped the binding and put on the finish coats.


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