Hand Tools

Re: from Jeff Jewitt Q & A on ‘lightfastness’

David Weaver
Thanks, Wiley - I'd seen jeff mention before that transtint is "really lightfast" paraphrasing, but not lightfast like pigments.

Guitars spend most of their time in cases if they're valuable, so it's probably not a big deal. I've only dyed one guitar with dissolved water based dyes (it was easy to do and brought on a very uniform purple - which my daughter wanted). But I got tricked by it - some dyes are a different color if dissolved in alcohol vs. water. This dye powder was deep purple in alcohol, but if you made the mistake of contacting the dyed surface with moisture, it would turn bright red - permanently. so I ended up making the whole guitar wet and it's red now (Better that it matches).

At any rate, this is a topic of contention on guitar forums as there are posters who assert (almost violently) that transtint is lightfast. George mentioned to me that it's not and that on guitars where something is desired to be black forever, he uses pigment (if it's black, there's no reason to see the grain, though there are dark gray dyes, too).

Whatever is easy will dominate. If I could get micronized pigment very diluted and use the pad method, it may be possible to preserve some ability to mock dyes, but it's not worth the trouble. The dissolvable dyes get the same effect really easily, and the reality is, other than guitars, I generally don't color wood at all other than choosing a shellac that will achieve the desired tone.

Warren's comment about wood changing is a fair one, too. If I were going to even the color of cherry, I would only need it to be lightfast until the cherry itself darkens.

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