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Getting spruce grain to show darker


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3 hours ago, dpappas said:

I like the look of instruments with a dark spruce grain.  I know this is a staining thing, and I suspect happens before the varnish is finalized.   Or is it an antiquing thing?  If it's the latter, how does one go about creating the effect?


Apply some of the varnish to an area of the spruce.   Let it settle for a couple minutes.   Take a piece of printer paper and strike the varnish off against the grain until the surface is dry and bright.  Changing the paper often helps.  Then move on to the next section.

on we go,


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17 minutes ago, catnip said:

Joe, I am assuming you are talking about colored varnish which would leave grain lines (lower) filled with more varnish.

That has been my strategy, and it has worked well enough on "raised summer grain" tops, an artifact of finishing with a scraper.

Sanded stuff doesn't turn out quite as easily and neatly, so more complex and heroic measures may be required to "un-ruin" excessive use of sandpaper.

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