I wanted the kontrabas body to be a fairly dark colour, and initially thought that “Falun red” (the colour of all those little country cabins you see in Sweden) might be good. I couldn’t find any stain in local shops, and didn’t really want to have to order online; after a bit of thinking I realised I could make my own stain using my artists’ oil pigments. I used a mix of yellow ochre and cadmium red which has given a nice reddish brown colour. It was thinned a lot with spirit thinners before applying with a rag.
The varnishing was done in a lot of layers. Firstly I used up a spray can of Windsor and Newton matt varnish which needed to be used up, sanding gently (180 grit) between each coat. I put on probably four coats of this altogether. Then I used some Ronseal interior clear satin varnish, applied by brush, for the finishing coats. Again, I sanded gently between (probably four more) coats, trying to apply very thinly to avoid runs. I didn’t of course – but the only noticeable one is on the back so it doesn’t matter much.
I’m pleased with the result, the satin finish is nice and it brings out the colour beautifully.