Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

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Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Marc Boyd » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:02 pm

I've recently bent some koa sides & now have the notorious ugly blue/black stains (I'm assuming they're from the spring steel slats on my bending machine). I tried to prevent this by wrapping the sides in aluminum foil, but some water obviously leaked through and caused the staining. I would like to avoid too much sanding as the sides are .085" - not to mention the stains will obviously not just be on the surface. I had also read that a stain remover such as CLR (used to remove calcium and hard water stains from kitchen applicances) might work, but I didn't have any luck with it. So, does anybody have anything up their sleeve to deal with these stains? (other than an opaque lacquer)?? :x
Much appreciated!
Marc
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Charlie Schultz » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:07 pm

Hi Marc and welcome! Someone should be along soon with some info for you. Certainly if you have some leftover koa, you might want to create the same kind of staining on it and run the tests (e.g. CLR) on that before you attach the finished sides.
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby John Hamlett » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:47 pm

Hydrogen peroxide may help, if the straining isn't too bad, but you may loose some natural color too in the process. Charlie is obviously correct that you should test on scrap.
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:50 pm

Oxalic acid works. I have used a product that I got at an auto parts store called "Rust Out", made by Casite. It comes in a spray bottle and has oxalic acid as a main ingredient. You spray it on, and as it evaporates the stain just disappears!
I looked on the Casite website, it looks like they don't make it anymore. I looked around, there are a few spray-on products that would probably do the same thing. I found one called "Evapo-rust", another called "Rust-Off", and I see Harbor Freight sells both the Evapo-Rust and another called "White Ox".
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Marc Boyd » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:31 pm

Thanks for your help everybody. I found a local supplier for Evapo-Rust and will try it on scrap. Will also keep my eyes open for anything else with oxalic acid.
Mark S: we stayed on the same floor at the last GAL - was great to meet you. Hope you're doing well! It was only when I got back home that I realized that an old MIMF article I had saved on your Spruce/Paduak Fatboy was your handiwork. Nice one! See ya in 3 years...
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:35 pm

OK, I remember meeting you now! Good luck, see you next time!
The "White Ox" stuff sold by Harbor Freight looks good, comes in a spray bottle and is probably perfect because it says it can be used on wood.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Greg Robinson » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:14 am

I have not used Koa myself, but I have heard that it reacts with aluminium foil, causing this type of staining. The solution was to wrap it in butchers paper or something similar.
Can anyone confirm this?
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Charlie Schultz » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:20 am

Not aluminum foil, but my last guitar was koa and I bent the sides with a StewMac heating pipe (which is aluminum)- I did not notice any staining.
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby John Hamlett » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:49 pm

Iron + moisture + tannins = blue/black. Koa (among other woods) contains a pretty high concentration of tannin, so it needs to be kept away from iron and moisture at the same time. That is almost surely the source of the staining. For this one, a remedy is needed, next time prevention is the key.
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Greg Robinson » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:42 pm

Thanks Charlie. I'm sure that there was a wood that reacts with aluminium, guess it isn't Koa. Anyone know? Or am I crazy?
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Jay Gordon » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:12 pm

you can also get a small quantity of oxalic acid at most paint stores. just add a bit to a cup of water, wipe on the koa, brush with stiff brush, rinse with clear, clean water. Always works for me.
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Re: Blue/black stains on koa from bending sides

Postby Michael Lewis » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:37 am

A long time ago there was a fairly involved discussion on the old forum regarding blue/gray stain from bending with metal, which may be archived. It even occurs with stainless and can USUALLY be sanded off but not always. I would try sanding a bit before applying any chemicals that can change the coloration of the wood.
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