Staining Maple

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Ben Shaffer
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Staining Maple

Post by Ben Shaffer »

So I've got a Maple Flute which is very light weight and plays well. The Flute is in its natural finish, which is very light in color. I wouldn't mind having it stained a medium brown. How easy would that be to do or have done by one of our Flute Makers? If a maker who would you suggest? Or is anyone doing Nitric Acid Staining or is it called Fuming?
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Terry McGee
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Re: Staining Maple

Post by Terry McGee »

Hi Ben

Has the outside of this flute been lacquered or oiled? If so, you might find it hard to convince any stain, fuming or other to penetrate the finish.

From memory (urk, at my age where could that go wrong?) fuming requires timbers with a good tannin content. EG Oak. I don't think Maple has the necessary tannin, but check that assertion! Fresh maple normally will take a stain, but the finish might be an issue.

Heh heh, you could always fall back on the workaround an early "revival" maker, Tom Ganley, an Irishman in London relied on. He painted his light brown wooden flutes black.
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Ben Shaffer
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Re: Staining Maple

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Terry McGee wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 6:07 am Hi Ben

Has the outside of this flute been lacquered or oiled? If so, you might find it hard to convince any stain, fuming or other to penetrate the finish.

From memory (urk, at my age where could that go wrong?) fuming requires timbers with a good tannin content. EG Oak. I don't think Maple has the necessary tannin, but check that assertion! Fresh maple normally will take a stain, but the finish might be an issue.

Heh heh, you could always fall back on the workaround an early "revival" maker, Tom Ganley, an Irishman in London relied on. He painted his light brown wooden flutes black.
Well there ya go, I can get a can of Brown Spray Paint! :D
Most of the Clarinet Players on the Board probably know that Buffet at one point was painting or staining their E11 Model Black, actual looked OK
Yes Terry, I think its been oiled, which I presume penetrated the wood, could be a deal breaker
I remember back in the 50's my Parents had Colonial Maple Furniture which was very popular at the time. It was finished in a light brown Color and then had some type of sealer I would not be surprised if the brown Color was just sprayed on the surface and did not penetrate the Wood
I think some Board Members that are my age, 71 would remember this type of Furniture.
I had a very early Pat Olwell boxwood Flute Flute that I think Pat said was fumed, also had one by Phil Bleazey which he had fumed.
I foolishly sold both
Flutes years ago, and they may be owned by Board Members
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stringbed
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Re: Staining Maple

Post by stringbed »

Back in my day as an active woodwind maker the consensus among my colleagues was that acid staining was best done after the wood had been soaked in linseed oil but before the oil had a chance to polymerize. Applying the acid with a pipe cleaner that had a ferric wire core enhanced the chemical effect of the staining and also permitted tiger-stripe patterning. Ammonia fumes were used to neutralize the acid by opening a bottle of ammonia underneath the work. This worked as well on maple as on boxwood.
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Re: Staining Maple

Post by PB+J »

My experience based on making a couple dozens guitars at home.

Maple tends to be blotchy with stains and it's more often colored by being oversprayed with tints. Since I don't have a spraying rig I would usually use a tinted shellac which I'd apply by padding on, also known as "french polishing."

I'm not at all an expert with flutes but I'd maybe consider a tintable water base poly finish?
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