OK, finishing time. First step is to final sand the top. After color and lacquer go on its no longer possible to fix flaws.
Next, I stain the entire top black, and then sand it off. This highlights the flame figure in the wood. The 2nd shot here is actually from a previous build to show it sanded off because I neglected to take a photo at that point on this build.
This is my earlier “22 Special” build, but it shows what I’m talking about
Next I apply red aniline dye directly to the top, and then once dry I shoot a sealer coat of lacquer on top. This adds a slight gloss at this point. It gets better later with more clear
Next a black “burst” around the outside edge and more clear coats.