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STRAD~STYLE

Stain for fittings

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I was told to use brown and black stain to darken my fittings .These fittings i have are very light color what would be best?Does the peg stain from internatinal work

Hi, I have stained boxwood fittings with nitric acid and ammonia fumes. It worked OK.

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Commercial "boxwood" fittings like yours have are already been stained to some degree. They probably have a clear coat -- wax of some sort. I only color the shafts of pegs like this -- lighter/unstained wood is revealed when shaving. Water colors work well.

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I was told to use brown and black stain to darken my fittings .These fittings i have are very light color what would be best?Does the peg stain from internatinal workdsc07540j.jpg

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Hi Strad-Style,

I use nitric acid at about 33°Bé concentration. Apply it directly on the clean shaft (shaft only) with a throw away stick like a bamboo skewer. Once the whole shaft and end grain has been wetted with the acid, warm it under an incandescent lamp and as the water evaporates the acid becomes more concentrated and you can see the wood change color. Once the reaction is completed I neuralize it in a concentrated solution of sodium bicarbonate until I do not see any more bubbles being formed on the peg shaft. At this point I rinse and dry the peg shaft and then you can lightly oil or wax the peg and you're ready to go.

Bruce

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If those are mine, just fume them over ammonia. They will darken on their own over time. I can't see from the small photo.

No these are not the ones you made these are from the fiddle shop.I dont really want to mess with nitric also i want to color the knobs not only the shaft.I had been told to used brown stain then put a thin coat of shalac over that :)

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A colleague of mine recently shared how he does it: Clairol hair coloring. Take the peg with you to where hair care products are sold and match the peg head to the color. Mix up the solution as directed on the box, apply the "goop" to the peg and leave on till desired color is reached, then wipe off. It's not perfect but passable, and easily obtained. Try it on a scrap peg to get the feel of it.

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A colleague of mine recently shared how he does it: Clairol hair coloring. Take the peg with you to where hair care products are sold and match the peg head to the color. Mix up the solution as directed on the box, apply the "goop" to the peg and leave on till desired color is reached, then wipe off. It's not perfect but passable, and easily obtained. Try it on a scrap peg to get the feel of it.

Thanks i will do it.All i need to do is darken it :)

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I had to nitric a pernambuco tailpiece recently. It was too crummy outside so I used the basement. With all the smoke coming off the piece when it was put over the ammonia to fix, I thought of the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Scared the living **** out of me. I had on a spray mask. What is the composition of that smoke? Anybody? Nasty business.

Bruce

Does the water in the process swell the wood much?

If the pegs or TP have commercial finish on them will all or any of these suggestions work without removing it first? Does it depend on what they use to coat the heads?

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This recipe is probably the finest way to go http://www.hansellviolins.com/tech_info_detail.asp?field_id=3

I tend to do similar to Bruce but use a hair dryer as the concentrator. I fume in ammonia to finally darken....As ever take all precautions when using Nitric.

Hi Melvin,

Absolutely, nitric acid is dangerous stuff. I know that some large scale manufacturers use fumigation where it is not necessary to wet the peg but you would need a professional setup.

"Meyerfittings wrote": "Does the water in the process swell the wood much?

If the pegs or TP have commercial finish on them will all or any of these suggestions work without removing it first? Does it depend on what they use to coat the heads?"

I haven't tried the nitric process on tailpieces; never had occasion to need it. The wood swells slightly but if the quality of the pegs are decent, where they might actually be made out of boxwood, it doesn't create a problem. I have only done this on "clean" wood and I would presume that any previous finish or varnish or wax or other sealer on the wood might ruin your intent to obtain a uniform coloration. Most heads are lightly varnished or waxed.

Bruce

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The Eng box tailpieces I did sort of in reverse - from an old method I heard about for staining box.

Heat the piece to hand hot - about 60c, just comfortable to hold - then paint on 30% nitric, It instantly darkens and you can nutralise it ptetty quick in soda or whatever. Do it outdoors ! 30% nitric is quite well behaved - its the bottle of 65% I'm more careful with.

I noticed with some pieces I tried that any sapwood went instantly to a powdery mush - if your pegs are not real box they may dissolve very fast.

Geoff

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I never cared for putting liquid directly on the wood. It can turn a nicely finished part into a bumpy one by raising the grain, and also distort an already shaved shank enough that it no longer fits the hole well.

When we were making boxwood pegs on a large scale, they were colored by fumigating, with no liquid contact. It's simple enough on a small scale too. If doing only the shaft, make a hole in a piece of paper or cardboard large enough for the shank, but too small for the collar. Place this over the opening of the nitric acid container with the shaft extending inside, and keep an eye on it (if it stays in too long, the color will start to bleach back out). Afterwards, fumigate the same way with ammonia.

Whole pegs and tailpieces can be done by suspending from a piece of string, and closing the container lid over the string to hold it in place.

All potentially very dangerous. I've gotten so-so results with hair dye and fabric dye (can work pretty well actually if you happen to get everything just right), but it was never as good as nitric acid. Rougher surface, darkened pores, uneven color, etc. A fume hood is a nice accessory, or a face mask with a forced air supply.

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I've had ok success using alcohol and water soluble dyes, but I cannot deny that the grain will raise even with alcohol. Polishing/burnishing the peg seems to work fine, and I've never seen the peg no longer fit after doing so. If I had a safe setup to fume pegs, I would. Until that time, I will continue to envy everyone else.

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