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Thread: Dog Hair finish

  1. #1
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    Dog Hair finish

    I'll be doing some experiments using a Dog Hair finish as illustrated below. Basically a black stain with a white grain filler applied afterwards. Any suggestion son what to use for the grain filler? A clear coat will be going over the top.

    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  2. #2
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    Wow...that is uber-striking! I'm interested in the answers that will undoubtedly be provided...but if the grain is amenable, just wiping on white paint and carefully wiping it off, similar to grouting, may work very nicely. Worth a test on some scrap of the same species.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Wow...that is uber-striking! I'm interested in the answers that will undoubtedly be provided...but if the grain is amenable, just wiping on white paint and carefully wiping it off, similar to grouting, may work very nicely. Worth a test on some scrap of the same species.
    ************************************************** ******************************
    That's how conducive grain picture frame molding was made back in the good ole days. Black on white or white on black. Oak was popular for that.

  4. #4
    Hi,
    First off, I'm not 100% sure the grain is filled in the photo. It's possible that it is just an open grained wood, and the lighting is highlighting the grain.

    However, if you are sure the grain is colored white, I can think of a few ways to do it. I have never heard of it called Dog Hair, we called it cerusing. It is a very old technique. Here goes:

    1. Liming wax. You can find lots of information on it online as well as several suppliers. Briwax is one. I do not think you can topcoat over wax, so you would probably need to apply your clear coat, and then apply/buff the liming wax. Keep your topcoat thin so the pores will remain defined and not filled in or rounded by the finish, this way the liming wax will pack into them nicely. You might think the liming wax not being topcoated would cause it to wear off, but it won't because it's packed down in the pores. And you could always re-apply it in the future for a pick-up if needed.

    2. You could apply a "pickling" stain and wipe it off using burlap across the grain so as to not wipe the stain back out of the pores. This is along the lines of what Jim suggests above. You could and should topcoat over the pickling stain.

    3. A very professional product would be Behlen's Pore-o-Pac which comes in Natural. Not a bone white, but more of a slightly grey-white when dry. This is applied liberally, squeegeed off with an old credit card or some other gentle trowel, and than wiped/buffed with the burlap as described above with some solvent if you find it necessary. When dry maybe go over it with synthetic steel wool. You would topcoat over this. Personally I would seal the colored wood with a thin coat of DW shellac or something like that before applying the Pore-o-Pac just to create a barrier so it does not interfere with the black finish.

    4. Formulate your own white glazing stain. I say formulate because I'm not aware of a glazing stain that comes in white. The type of glaze I am talking about is something that has some body to it more than paint, somewhat like Pore-o-Pac achieves with silica. In the old days this type of glaze was called gilp. Normally you would pigment it with the pigment of your choice, but in your case you could leave it white. A basic formula that will work is this: 1 part French white chalk (or calcium carbonate), 2 parts BLO, 1 part turp or mineral spirit, a few drops of Japan Drier. You would topcoat under and over this glaze.

    5. Take a clear water based grain filler like Crystal Lac, and add white paint to it. I've never done this, so if you try, I would recommend some experimentation. The question in my mind is how much paint would it take to make it white enough without degrading the performance properties of the Crystal Lac. Water based white artist paint would be much better than white paint from a hardware store. In fact, you could try this idea with white artist paint and Pore-o-Pac but if using the Natural Pore-o-Pac, I'm not sure it would make any noticeable difference to the eye. I would topcoat over and under this.

    Obviously, all of these methods would happen after you have dyed or stained your wood the base black and you would best use a very open grained wood.

    Last suggestion, you could email your question to Homestead and odds are Jeff Jewitt will respond and you can see if he concurs with the above suggestions. Unless you can locate Bob Flexner, at that point you will have gone to the Supreme Court of wood finishing expertise and there's nowhere else to go.

    If it were me, the easiest choice would be #1, my least favorite would be #2 but if it is an important project or a technique you will want to use again, maybe experiment with all of them to see which technique makes the difference between okay and stunning.
    Sounds like an interesting project, good luck with it and I hope you post the finished results here. I hope this helps.

    Edwin

    One other thought - Rockler sells (or at least used to sell) a water based filler called Wunderfil that is available in white and can be thinned to use as described above. This might be something to consider also.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 04-23-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    Edwin, I can see why that particular instrument's finish might be called "dog hair" simply because of the straight grain effect, even though the "technique" is referred to as cerusing. It really does look like neatly groomed dog hair on a beast that's mostly black with grey tips. Regardless...it's a kewel appearance for sure!

    There are number of YouTube videos on the actual technique on guitars, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    That finish looks beautiful.

    When I first saw this thread I saw dollar signs. I though maybe I had a market for all the dog hair my Golden Retriever sheds each week; enough to make two new dogs.
    Marshall
    ---------------------------
    A Stickley fan boy.

  7. #7
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    That's one I've never seen, or even heard of before!

  8. #8
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    Looks complex but Jim is right again. Use black paint and white paint that are fully compatible with each other and the clear coat ie a system. Use a low solids black and a high solids white. A compatible coating system is important as a guitar gets handled a lot and the finish needs to wear well. Final appearance is dictated by timber species used. This one looks like a south East Asian hardwood.

    First time I heard it called dog hair. Cheers

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