I'm working on building a Les Paul style guitar, with a figured maple top, and am just trying to figure out how to do the finish, to achieve a nice sunburst effect.
I lack the equipment and experience to do the finish with an airbrush and tinted lacquer, so I've set my sights on using water based wood dyes to rub on, and then coat with clear aerosol lacquer.
These are the dyes I purchased: https://generalfinishes.com/retail-products/water-base-wood-stains-dyes/waterbase-wood-dye-stains#.Vkn8CK6rRR4
Now, these do a pretty great job, but the one thing they lack is that they are very transparent, which is great for the center of the guitar, but I'd rather have the color thicken up a bit around the edges and get more opaque, hiding the natural wood grain a little bit more.
The General Finishes brochure I had for these dyes stated that they could be mixed with a clear finish to create a "toner". I'm not entirely sure what they mean by "toner" in this case, but I was thinking perhaps this was would be what I was looking for.. But I also don't know which clear finish I would be able to mix it with if so.
The important detail is that whatever I do has to be safe to use the clear lacquer over top. I had thought maybe I could mix the dyes with a bit of polyurethane to do a second coat of color around the edges before the lacquer, but I read that this could cause issues as the lacquer shrinks over time and the poly does not, increasing my risk of chipping.
So I'm looking for some advice on any techniques I can use to get this more opaque coloring around the edges, without removing my ability to lacquer afterwards? Are these dyes even the best choice for me, or is there another better alternative that I can use? (without the need to get an airbrush setup going - or maybe I really do need to do that to get the best finish?)