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Sanding Pine

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Mind if I ask you how you apply your shellac? Do you spray, brush or wipe the stuff on?

If I do any finishing, I use Watco Danish Oil. Most of my products leave unfinished or get farmed out to a finisher. I try to stay away from as many toxic substances as I can.


LOL...I hear ya! Unfortunately a finisher turned me on to building and finishing guitars myself...because he was so bad and completely messed up my nice American Fender Telecaster.

I guess I was never into the making of older guitar repros or any type of reproduction work. Pine, a new one for me, what were they thinking back then? I know many woods have been used in the making of instruments just never knew there was a pine tele prototype, weird but cool info.

There are also several varieties of pine, it is possible they were using southern yellow pine which is a much harder Pine and is preferred in flooring. Also a more expensive wood with a yellow tint and a somewhat nicer grain. Sorry I have no pine references to offer other than flooring examples. This pine would be more available in the southern US. North its white pine. I know you have started your project so this is for anyone else interedsted in trying pine as a guitar wood.

Somehow I believe if you don't follow the original plan you are not recreating the original guitar to begin with and I assume the reason for your hard work. They most likely did not use a hardener, if it was even available back then, and using one may alter your intended outcome. Bodies made from soft woods, like pine, poplar, and basswood ding easily so you just have to live with it as you stated.

Luckly you will be painting the body. Several coats of shellac would do the job under black lacquer so your finish has an even sealed surface to start with. You dont want areas where the finish soaks into the softer wood and shellac was a popular sealer even back then. Again since it is a project to reproduce a guitar, stick to the original plans you have. A sanding sealer could help level out the dips without resorting to a hardener and probably will not alter the intended outcome drastically. Just a pain building up sanding sealer filler coats.

Good luck I hope the guitar comes out OK and you are happy with the sound. Post some picts

Well, the very first Telecaster (prototypes) were made out of Pine...there's the infamous white Tele with the snakehead heastock and there were the two-Pickup Esquires made with a regular 6-in-line headstock but without a truss rod. Leo Fender later trashed the idea of using Pine because of the obvious reasons...it was too soft.

Nevertheless this is a project I'm really looking forward to...and I got all the time in the world and I'm not under a deadline so making a sufficient shellac base is not a problem.

Many thanks for all the info especially on southern yellow pine.


@ MiKro: Actually your reply sounds very good to me...I guess I'll sap some shellac on the body and try to get it as flat as possible before I shoot some Nitro...

>little snip<

Cheers for all the help so far!



Obviously you know I love using shellac. I believe your next step has merit and I wish you well with the results.


Thanks, Mike. We'll see how it all turns out...when I encounter problems you'll probably see another Pine-thread on this board! ;-)

Why would you use pine anyways?

Because it was availale and I'm working on a 1950 two-Pickup Repro Esquire which had a Pine body...

get an orbital sander hand sanding is for chumps.

Actually someone on this board had problems taking an orbital sander to Pine...it's a very delicate and soft wood...I guess I'll stick to a sanding block for now...

What grit paper are you using? It may be that you are sanding too much. Softwoods sand out quicker than hardwoods, and you want to step the grits up a bit quicker. This is what I have found with softwoods I use. As for the Shellac as a filler, be sure not to lay it on thick as it does not cure well when used thick(you will find it will shrink back like a son of a gun). If you want to use it as a sealer(wash coat) cool, if you want to fill use pumice and grain fill French Polish style, and actually if you have much fill to do at all go for Z-poxy as it fills better at any kind of thickness (be sure you Z-poxy before you apply Shellac, as it does not adhear well to Shellac, the Shellac sticks fine to the Z-poxy though as a top coat).


Thanks, Rich!

There isn't much filling I need to do. Others have mentioned that Pine needs no grain filler but I use the filler to get rid of a couple of dents prior to sealing. I wanted to utilize the shellac as a sealer and get a hard surface which I can level prior to applying black Nitro lacquer.

Many thanks to everyone who provided new input!



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I just want to point out that a filler is not a sealer in the same sense of finishing. Woods such as mahogany or oak have large open pores, but maple, poplar and pine do not and no filler (or some may say sealer which is incorrect) is needed. Deep pores have to be filled and leveled with the surface. Filler is literally a thick paste. A sanding sealer is thin and is used under the first coat of finish as a general filler / sealer. It will not fill pores unless you add many coats and sand back to the wood each time, not an easy way to fill wood. Shellac makes a better first sealer coat if the wood is flat and level and sanded properly.

Lacquer is great for a finish because it drys fast and has a better chance of finishing success than most other finishes I have sprayed, even from the reranch can, but you don't need Reranch branded black lacquer to have success.

I don't know why I keep replying, but most of the general suggestions though valid seem to deviate from your goal of recreating this guitar from way back when. Its like saying use a poured bar top finish to level it out, LOL. Stick to the plan you have and use what materials were avaiable back then; and there is no need to reply to this post.

Again good luck.

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