The Springboard (Pt. 7, Staining)

This is the seventh of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

The stained instrument pieces!

It was time to make the instrument look nice! The staining process began with once again disassembling my instrument.

Prep Work

Before beginning prep work for the staining, I spent some time expanding the spring holes on the retainer. Before the springs were stuck in place once the retainer was screwed down. Allowing the springs to slide beneath the retainer will allow them to be removed and installed without having to remove the bridge assembly each time.

Preparation for the stain began with sanding all the individual pieces. Though I did this yesterday, I had made some modifications to the boards, creating new rough spots. I started with the 80 grit and worked my way up to the 220. This left the wood smooth and also opened it up to better absorb the stain.

Because the wood is pine, I was warned to use a sealer before applying the stain. Upon some research, I learned that pine has a very uneven and inconsistent grain which results in the stain being soaked up more in some areas, creating a splotchy appearance.

Applying Sealer

Applying the sealer was easy; using a ripped up t-shirt for rags, I dipped the rag into the oil based sealer and then wiped it onto the wood. After a few minutes I wiped the pieces off with a clean rag to eliminate any excess.

The wood pieces with the sealer applied.

Applying Stain

With the sealer applied, next was the first coat of stain. After stirring the stain, I applied it to the wood by dipping another rag directly into the can and wiping it onto the wood, making sure to follow the grain of the wood. After another few minutes I wiped the pieces with another clean rag and put them aside to dry. The only tricky part was trying to do all sides of the instrument without messing up the already done side- but I managed.

Stirring the stain, so exciting.

I’m pretty happy with how the stain turned out, and am surprised with how easy it was to apply. The immediate results can be seen in the first image in this post.

Next Steps

Next I will apply polyurethane in order to protect the wood and stain, and to give it a nice, smooth, glossy finish. The stain suggests waiting 8 hours before applying another coat of stain or the polyurethane. I’m not sure if I’ll need another coat of stain- I don’t think so, but I will see when it finishes drying.

I also still need to figure out how to mount the piezo transducer, but that won’t happen until the clear coat is dry. Until the next post!

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