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Dying a bone nut/saddle black?

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FlySig
Posted 2018-02-02 9:29 PM (#541056)
Subject: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
Anybody done this with success? I'm in a maintenance mood with some time off from work and what the heck, might as well put black bone nuts on some guitars.

On hand I have India Ink. Luthier's Mercantile sells a black dye reasonably cheap. Yeah, cheap is a factor. As I said, been off work for a while here, and boy does worker's comp suck!
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2018-02-03 7:58 AM (#541062 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 520

Location: Muenster/Germany
If you have time and want to do something good to your guitar try a brass nut. Will last forever and improves sound! Ok it´s not black...black saddle material use graphtech string saver.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-03 9:56 AM (#541063 - in reply to #541062)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Most of the stuff I've read says the results aren't that great.

You might also consider using RIT dye. Basically, you put some RIT dye in a pan, heat it up, then dunk the nut into the dye. Repeat as necessary to get the shade you want. It's also pretty cheap -- only $3 per bottle at Wally World.
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Samuels
Posted 2018-02-03 5:33 PM (#541068 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?


Joined:
January 2014
Posts: 78

Location: Boise, Idaho
Thank you so much for this thread, I have been wondering the same thing for a while now too.
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leonardmccoy
Posted 2018-02-04 4:11 AM (#541071 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 252

Location: Katmandu

It's probably easier to just use a graphite nut, but it seems some dudes have been successfully dying bone nuts black as well (not worth the effort in my book): http://www.tdpri.com/threads/anyone-ever-dyed-a-bone-nut.272788/



Edited by leonardmccoy 2018-02-04 4:12 AM
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FlySig
Posted 2018-02-04 5:04 PM (#541080 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
Well I'll probably just start with a black Tusq nut I already have. One of the projects has a trans-black neck finish, and an unbleached bone nut then stained black might make an interesting trans-black looking nut.
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FlySig
Posted 2018-02-09 6:39 PM (#541132 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
Well I've buggered up TWO Tusq nuts on one guitar! I really don't like working with Tusq, it is too soft. I've ordered some aniline dye and bone nuts to experiment with.
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-09 7:32 PM (#541133 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 792

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Thanks for the update FlySig. I didn't realize you can dye "bone", but come to think of it that makes sense. I don't mean to pester, but if you could post pics as you proceed that would be really cool. I prefer working with bone, but I actually like TUSQ 'because' it is softer. TUSQ sounds really good to me (not nearly as good as bone), and performs much better than the plastic stuff most mass produced guitars come with nowadays. Although it is kind of pointless, my struggle is getting the hand cut bridge saddles to fit perfectly in the metal housing that comes with most thinline piezo Os. Anyway, good luck and hope to peel into your project as it proceeds! Thanks for sharing.
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FlySig
Posted 2018-02-09 9:11 PM (#541135 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
The dye will be an experiment for sure. One old post somewhere on the internet claimed success with water based aniline dye, which fully penetrated the bone nut. All the other references I've found were using RIT dye or Sharpie pens. The RIT didn't penetrate at all, and the Sharpie fades with time. I will actually be pleased for one project (new Adamas Viper!) if it turns out to be a trans-black rather than deep solid black. For the other (Adamas 2080) I would prefer a deep solid black.

With Tusq I've had strings settle in deeper than the original slot was cut, which result in fret buzz. One of the Tusq nuts had a soft spot next to the slot and the front edge chipped off while filing. With more experience I'd do better at it I guess. For saddles I've had good results with Tusq but I really liked the bone saddle I shaped for intonation better.

I'll be sure to post results and photos of the experiments.
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FlySig
Posted 2018-03-07 9:10 AM (#541492 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
There's been some success!

I used a black water soluble aniline dye powder from Luthier's Mercantile. Mixed with just water the dye did not penetrate at all. The nut is unbleached bone and has a slight oily or fatty feel to it. So the next step was to wipe down the nut with alcohol. Acetone may have worked better but I didn't want to weaken the bone. In hindsight, using a bleached bone nut might work better but I didn't have any on hand.

So the next step was to mix the dye with 70% isopropyl alcohol from the grocery store. I figured this would penetrate the oily areas better, and it did. But it still took 5 days in the dye to get results. The alcohol evaporates quickly, so the tray has to be covered and the fluid level checked daily. The penetration was very shallow still, but enough to actually be a stain rather than a surface coating.

Some areas of the bone took a nice dark staining, but of course those turned out to be the bottom portions. For this guitar the mottled look matches the neck trans-black well enough.

I can never get photos to work on this forum, so here are the links.


http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/photos/show-album.asp?albumid...

http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/photos/show-album.asp?albumid...

http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/photos/show-album.asp?albumid...

http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/photos/show-album.asp?albumid...

http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/photos/show-album.asp?albumid...

Edited by FlySig 2018-03-07 9:11 AM
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Damon67
Posted 2018-03-07 10:18 AM (#541495 - in reply to #541492)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
December 2006
Posts: 6983

Location: Jet City

 

Nice work, looks great!

 

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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-03-07 1:42 PM (#541500 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 930

Location: What week?
Heck yes. Looks great!

Another home workbench method if you should ever want to attempt it is to take a (whatever color) magic marker or Sharpie, saw it open, take out the ink element, place it and whatever your're dying into a bath with same 70% alcohol to soak. Make sure the substrate item is clean (lightly scuffed if desired) and mix the ratio according to desired tint. Start light and work up if need be. Oh, and you can also mix colors to achieve the shade you want.

Edited by Love O Fair 2018-03-07 1:50 PM
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arumako
Posted 2018-03-15 5:56 AM (#541642 - in reply to #541492)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 792

Location: Yokohama, Japan
FlySig - 2018-03-06 11:10 PM

There's been some success!

Some areas of the bone took a nice dark staining, but of course those turned out to be the bottom portions. For this guitar the mottled look matches the neck trans-black well enough.

Thanks for sharing FlySig! It really looks sweet. I never thought I would get used to those new Adamas headstocks, but they actually look great with the black nut... Pleasing headstock or not, your Adamas has got to be an awesome sounding guitar out of the box. Does bone improve the guitar's voice?
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FlySig
Posted 2018-03-15 6:50 AM (#541643 - in reply to #541056)
Subject: Re: Dying a bone nut/saddle black?



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3797

Location: Utah
I can't really say if it improves the tone. The original strings were plain electric strings and didn't sound at all acoustic with the saddle pickup. I also did not like the string spacing on the original nut, so I immediately replaced the nut and the strings. It sounds great now on all the pickups with GHS White Bronze strings that are made for hybrid guitars.
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