Harley Benton Kit P Bass

Hi Guys

I’m building a HB P Bass kit at the moment. I have done load of sanding and decided to stain the body using a jet black Angelus. Leather dye following a YouTube tutorial. I have done 3 coats, waited 24 hours and am happy enough with the finish and it is dry however, when I pick up the body or wipe it with a towel, I get a residue on my hands/towel….the actual stain on the body doesn’t smudge or lift so it looks like the stain has penetrated the wood OK. I have tried rubbing it down but there is still quite a bit residue. Is this expected ? Do I need to put on a sealer of some sort ? If so can anyone recommend something that will work with a spirit based stain.

First time builder so any help would be great.


You might want to check out this thread:

@Barney knows a lot about this stuff, in fact, if I remember correctly, he does woodworking for a living.

1 Like

We have an existing thread on all project basses below

@jonathanhaynes43 might be your man to help with this.

I’m pretty confident using wood stain etc but have never used leather dye.

What you need is for there to be no residue coming off on your hands / towel because when you use a sealer it will fail to bond properly.

Example if you have a table covered in dust and try and stick a piece of tape to the table it won’t do it. The tape will bond to the dust and pull away. Same principle.

I don’t know what product you can use to cleanup leather dye however the first thing I’d do is find some rags that you can throw away and hand buff the body. Rub it really hard until no more stain is coming off on the rag. If it’s still coming off then maybe something like naptha to give it a clean down? The problem is that it might lift / smear the dye. Then use a sealer that will work with the dye. It may depend if the dye is water or oil based.

Spraying on a sealer from a can will get you the best results. Watch this video to learn more than you’ll ever need to know about spraying from a can. I did a bass project last year and used this video and it came out great.


Thanks for the detailed reply. I used the spirit based leather dyes based on a YouTube tutorial I watched. Perhaps should have gone with the water based stuff. I’ll give it a good rub down and see what happens from there.

Would it be possible to simply spray paint over the existing stain or would I need to sand back to bare wood and apply a sealer/primer ?

Thanks again

@MattHinchliffe good luck with your first build. I have no experience with leather dye but as Barney says, the principles for oil based dye should apply. The Guns n Guitars Youtuber also uses leather dye on guitar bodies, I recall. If you want to over-paint, you need to sand back to solid wood and start the process for paint.

This may be the Youtube guy you were referring to originally.
He uses a lot of Angelus dyes in his paintjobs.
May be worth a look

Thanks for all the great replies and suggestions. @Gloucestre this is the guy that I was following.

I’ve managed to get a decent midnight blue stain that I am happy enough with for a 1st attempt. I’ve rubbed the body down a lot and I’m not getting any residue now so I’m going to have a go at sealing it. I’m just not sure what exactly to use that would be compatible with a spirit based stain.

I was thinking of this - dartfords FS5000 Gloss Clear Nitrocellulose Guitar Lacquer - 400ml Aerosol : Amazon.co.uk: Musical Instruments & DJ

I would prefer a wipe on product if possible so any recommendations would be great.

Thanks again for your help


I was going to go down this route with my next one but am now thinking just a oxblood type timber stain oil and/or clear coat.

I have used this but it’s matt: