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Advice on grain filling. I need help.


Clinton
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Hi

 Ok, I know Swamp Ash for many is a go to lumber for guitar buiding. I do not know exactly why? It is heavy, impossible to level sand and I find it’s grain pattern to be just meh for the cost of timber. Would rather have Alder. I know sand back grain filled makes it pop but I just do not find it interesting to wow me. Yet just like sanding and how much I displease it, I have to love it. Therefore I find myself trying to love Swamp Ash. 

  My question is, what is the proper way to grain fill it? No matter how much I try, it still looks open grained getting no results. I used Aquacoat and Timbermate in different occassions caking it on several layers allowing dry time per layer scraping it with a plastic scraper and sanding it to what appears to be leveled. As soon as I apply lacquer it just still looks like open grained wood and not leveled smooth. It just soaks it up. I am completely dumbfounded. What am I doing wrong. Help anyone? Need advice. Thanks.


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Boo
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@clinton Are you applying sanding sealer after the grain filler (before you spray the clear lacquer)? 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Boo
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@clinton Apply several layers of sanding sealer, let it dry and sand it flat. Then apply your clear lacquer. 👍 

https://chestnutproducts.co.uk/product/cellulose-sanding-sealer/

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Clinton
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@boo No I am not because I dye it. If you apply sanding sealer, doesn’t it seal it to where you could not stain thereafter? 


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Posted by: @clinton

No I am not because I dye it. If you apply sanding sealer, doesn’t it seal it to where you could not stain thereafter? 

@clinton I would fill the grain, sand it back, raise the grain, sand it again, add the dye, then spray several coats of sanding sealer. When it’s dry, sand it lightly and spray several more coats of sanding sealer. When it’s dry, sand again and perhaps spray even more. Just don’t sand through the sealer or you will start sanding the dye. Keep building up that sanding sealer until you feel you can sand it all flat, without sanding through to the dye, then it’s ready for clear lacquer. Spray your clear lacquer, three coats per day for four days (12 coats in total), lightly sanding (320g and scotch pad) and cleaning each morning. Let it dry and cure thoroughly before flatting and polishing. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Clinton
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@boo Hi thanks, will try. Makes sense and I think I understand it a bit more. Just need more patience I suppose to get it level flat.


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Clinton
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@boo 2 questions

Do you wet sand with the 3m pad? Is it too abrasive? If so, do you put dish detergent with the water for lubricant?

 

 

Have you ever used wipe on polyurethane? I want to attempt


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Posted by: @clinton

Do you wet sand with the 3m pad? Is it too abrasive? If so, do you put dish detergent with the water for lubricant?

@clinton I don’t normally use 3m pads, not with guitars anyway. Yes I do use a couple of drops of detergent in my water for lubricant. You don’t have to but it does help things move a bit easier and it makes the paper last longer. 

Posted by: @clinton

Have you ever used wipe on polyurethane? I want to attempt

No I haven’t and I really want to try it too. We can’t buy it here in the UK yet, although I do remember seeing one online UK store that has just got it in from USA. It really quite expensive for what it is, after paying the tax and delivery charge. If it becomes more widespread and cheaper, then I will definitely be having a go. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Edwin
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I posted something about wipe-on poly earlier on the forum, but I'll be happy to repeat myself 🙂 

It's extremely simple to make your own: 1 part quality polyurethane laquer (oil-based, not the water-based stuff...) and 1 part mineral spirits. Mix thoroughly. Too thin? More laquer. Too thick? More mineral spirits. 

It's a great and super easy finish......

Measure once, cut straight away and maybe you're lucky......


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Posted by: @e-den-hertog

It's extremely simple to make your own: 1 part quality polyurethane laquer (oil-based, not the water-based stuff...) and 1 part mineral spirits. Mix thoroughly.

@e-den-hertog Thanks for the reminder. Could you please give an example of a manufacturer of polyurethane lacquer please, maybe a link as well? 
Is mineral spirit, what we call in the UK, White Spirit?

Thanks. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Edwin
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Hi Boo! I use the Avis brand, but I dunno if it's available outside of the Netherlands. I suspect any non-el cheapo brand will do. And yes, I mean white spirit.

Measure once, cut straight away and maybe you're lucky......


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Posted by: @e-den-hertog

I use the Avis brand, but I dunno if it's available outside of the Netherlands. I suspect any non-el cheapo brand will do. And yes, I mean white spirit.

@e-den-hertog That’s great, thanks very much for the info. 

Hope you are safe and well. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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All well here...... I wish I could say the same for the people in Ukraine........

Measure once, cut straight away and maybe you're lucky......


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Clinton
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60356835 1EA0 40A3 89DF 430F4B399F15

@boo It freakin worked! Did your advice on grain filling, opening the grain and sanding sealer step by step. Thank you thank you thank you. Finally my dilemna with swamp ash solved. This swamp ash body is levelled smooth like butter! I must admit Swamp Ash tonewood is stellar. Thanks again. Going to attempt @Edwin wipe on poly finish at this one. Hope it goes well. Things you learn in guitar building. 


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@clinton Beautiful grain and finish!


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Boo
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Posted by: @clinton

It freakin worked! Did your advice on grain filling, opening the grain and sanding sealer step by step. Thank you thank you thank you. Finally my dilemna with swamp ash solved.

@clinton Nice one sir, you did it. I really like Ash, it’s a great wood to work with, even though it takes a little more work to fill the grain etc. Sealer is called sealer for a reason, it seals things in. I see it as a clear primer before the topcoat goes on. Obviously when you have a beautiful piece of wood with lovely grain, you naturally want to show it off, so you have to use the clear primer (sealer). 
It looks great my friend. 
Keep going. 👍 

Boo. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Posted by: @clinton

Do you wet sand with the 3m pad? Is it too abrasive? If so, do you put dish detergent with the water for lubricant?

@clinton By the way, when sanding sanding sealer, you don’t have to wet sand, I sand dry most of the time. It’s a product that sands very easily so using 320g dry is acceptable, it’s just a more dusty job without the water and detergent. The reason I dry sand is because if I sand through to the wood in places, I can just cover it again with the next round of sanding sealer being sprayed and it will be fine. If I am wet sanding and I sand through the sealer, the water will soak in and expand the wood in that area, it’s more difficult to fix. So just bear that in mind when deciding wet or dry. 
When it comes to sanding your topcoat, use wet but still be careful not to sand through. It’s tricky, especially finishing woods as they are all different and have varying grains to deal with. When I’m painting metals, it’s much easier as the surface is all consistent (or should be). The two different substrates do have their challenges from time to time but once you find the right system and gain enough knowledge of how to apply the right product and in which order, it becomes easier. 
Anyone can finish guitars or cars or bikes or trucks or furniture or just about anything if you have the patience to learn, especially from mistakes. 

Keep going man. 👍

 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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