I am working on the right pigment for coloring the maple wood bowl on the 13-course lute. The top picture is the difference between the natural blonde color of maple and what it looks like after pigment is applied. Most luthiers color their instruments in the finishing stage. I posted a picture of a violin “in the white” below to show what a violin looks like before being finished and deepened with color. Notice how the sample that I colored above has a much more distinct curly pattern. These are both from the same piece of wood. Some recipes for violin varnish require the addition of iron oxide to the varnish to make the deep red we so commonly see on these instruments. Iron oxide is part of the pigment that I put on the piece of maple pictured above. Iron oxide (also known as rust) can give a beautiful depth to a finished instrument.