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Neck Finishing And Pore Filling


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Hey

Whats the best way to fill wenge pores? Advantages of CA or epoxy? Theres going to be a satin acrylic (I think) lacquer over the top of the neck. Its a 3 peice neck, so do I mask off the maple and just paste the filler over the wenge, wait for it to dry and repeat untill it doesnt soak in any more? Some tips or a tutorial link on pore filling would be awesome.

Also wondering about which order to finish my neck. I will be swirling the headstock to match the body, I dont have the process perfected yet, so should I fill the wenge, (do I then have to seal the entire neck, wenge +maple before clear coat?) then satin clear over it, but have the front of the h/s masked off, swirl it at a later date while the back of the headstock + neck is all masked off, and then gloss clear over the swirl?

Can I mask off clear lacquer without leaving residue?

Cheers

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CA and epoxy are both very difficult to sand back. CA has a short open time and lets off lots of nasty fumes in enclosed spaces. Epoxy is generally easier is terms of open time, but for some reason I always get epoxy EVERYWHERE. Literally. That stuff ends up in places you wouldn't imagine. Blech.

Having black CA on your fingers is more readily explainable to your work colleagues than having epoxy all over your clothes to your wife :-D

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If you use grainfiller, make sure it's either clear or has some black dye in it or something similar. With wenge being so dark, it'd most likely look really bad if the grain was filled with a lighter shade.

I've had good luck grainfilling with sanding sealer. Lay it on, come back tomorrow and sand it back. Repeat until the wood is smooth & the pores are filled. As a bonus, it's clear AND cheaper than traditional grainfiller.

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Regardless of which form of grainfiller you use, if it's done right you won't need to worry about wenge dust getting into the pores of the maple because they'll be filled up. :D

In my experience, using sanding sealer doesn't produce an appreciable ammount of wood dust. You don't need to sand all the way through the sealer (although it doesn't hurt anything if you do), but you do need to come close to it. When I've done it, I took a random orbit sander and went over the whole thing until there were NO shiny bits left anywhere. The sealer isn't very thick after only one coat, so this was plenty of sanding to wither just barely sand through ot just barely NOT sand through. After that it was a thorough wipe down with mineral spirits and come back in an hour to lay another coat. When I did some zebrawood (VERY open grained), it only took me 3 or 4 coats to get it smooth as glass.

You WILL want to mask off the fretboard regardless of which method you use. The last thing you want is anything slopping over onto some wood that'll never see a finish. That'd really monkey up the looks of everything.

Edited by avengers63
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I have used traditional wood fillers or epoxy. Epoxy is messy and hard to sand if you don't squeegee it perfect. Epoxy can darken the wood and mess with stains. When I use epoxy and I need dark filler I stain the piece black before filling. Then sand back to the wood. It leaves a nice dark filled pores. However you really only get one shot at it.

Avenger give us a recommendation for a sanding sealer. Do you use something we can get at Home Depot/Lowes/Ace?

Edited by RestorationAD
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Avenger give us a recommendation for a sanding sealer. Do you use something we can get at Home Depot/Lowes/Ace?

Sure do. I don't remember the brand, but it's in a yellow can clearly marked "Sanding Sealer". IIRC, it's <$10/quart, and it'll last you a looooooong time.

Actually, except for the actual grain filler & +600 grit wetsand paper, I've bought ALL of my finnishing supplies at the box stores. Double-sided carpet tape is pretty strong and a whole lot cheaper than the stuff from Stew-Mac. Likewise the poly, lacquer, router/dremel bits, glue, C/A, etc., etc., etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I usually take the wood up to 150 before starting the sealing/filling process. After the sanding sealer is on, I'll sand it back with 150, or whatever grit I stopped at.

As a "head's up": the first coat of anything will raise the grain. After the liquid dries, the surface will be very rough. You can eliminate this by raising the grain beforehand and lightly sanding the surface. FWIW: I've never bothered to raise the grain first, and my finishes hace always turned out fine. I just make sure to sand it down after the first coat.

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Similar question for a black limba/padauk/flamed maple/padauk/black limba laminated neck: The padauk has some pretty noticeable pores in it (although, the padauk laminates are only about 1/8" wide).

It's going to get either a tung oil or Tru-oil finish.

I was going to just oil it, but I'm thinking now that it would be better to fill the pores in the padauk first.

Sanding sealer?

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Similar question for a black limba/padauk/flamed maple/padauk/black limba laminated neck: The padauk has some pretty noticeable pores in it (although, the padauk laminates are only about 1/8" wide).

It's going to get either a tung oil or Tru-oil finish.

I was going to just oil it, but I'm thinking now that it would be better to fill the pores in the padauk first.

Sanding sealer?

Is that a question or a statement?

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I have no experience in oil over sanding sealer. I've only used it with lacquer & poly.

Remembering what Flexner has said in his book, I would say that it wouldn't work well. Oils need to penetrate. The sealer, well... seals the wood, thus preventing penetration. I understand the point about sanding it back so that it's only in the pores, but I still wouldn't risk it. There is a realistic possibility that you might leave a little behind. I'd guess that that'd leave a blotchy finish.

That being said, he describes Tru-Oil not as an oil finish, but as a polymerized oil, which (IIRC) is more akin to a poly/oil blend. That might mean that the sealer would be OK under Tru-Oil, but I still wouldn't risk it.

FWIW: If you're looking for a smooth, natural feeling finish, give shellac a shot. Fill the grain and then give a coat or three of shellac, buffing with steel wool after each coat. The wood will be sealed & protected, but will be very slick & satiny.

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alright well im really glad this thread is going; ive tried sealing pores with two things

1: out of desperation i got that natural wood filler from hardware store. worked very well to fill the grain, but it also stained the surrounding wood a strange color; not ideal

2: epoxy - this was terrible, when i finished sanding back my gunky mess i had sanded past the pores DOH; plus i ruined a pair of jeans...haha

i know this has always been asked, but if someone could repeat it for me, what nationwide supply store would carry Tru-Oil? (i went to some places but i cant seem to find any hunting sections in any stores anymore :-\)

also, as far as shellac goes, what are some benifits/ drawbacks as apposed to an oil finish, also if your using a clear shellac, does it give you that nice oiled color under the finish, or a satiny, natural color. EDIT: ?

Kenny

Edited by Kenny
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I read here that you can get Tru-Oil at Wal-Mart in the gun section. I can't verify this.

I've used shellac on a number of woodworking projects, including the neck of the Avenger prototype. I've used clear, not amber. I have seen no added coloration whatsoever. With the exception of the appearance differences of the various finishes, I've seen no visual difference in the wood itself. In a nutshell, they all have the same "wet" look under one finish as another.

Real oil (not Tru-Oil) is a very poor as a finish. It does NOTHING to seal and protect the wood. Personally, I'd never use an oil for anything... ever. But that's me.

Shellac is a film finish, meaning that it builds up a protective film on the top of the wood. The initial coat of ANY film finish does a great job of sealing the wood, so no additional sealer is necessary. In cases like this, though, it is sometimes beneficial. For long term use, shellac is the least durable of any of the film finishes. It does it's job just fine, but will not withstand the abuse that lacquer will, which in turn does not hold up as well as poly.

For ease of use & application, it's a LOT easier to use that lacquer or poly. The next coat "melts" into the previous, just like lacquer. It cures a LOT faster, though. The first coat is good to go the next day. If applying multiple coats, you can re-apply in a few hours. When building up a thick finish, you can start to buff it out inside a week, as opposed ot the 3-4 weeks lacquer takes.

The feel and look is similar to lacquer. The thicker it is, the glassier it feels. I've used it a number of times just putting on a thick first coat, then buffing it out with steel wool & giving it a wipe-down with mineral spirits. The wood has a basic protection and looks finished, but you can still feel all of the wood's texture & grain. I've also used it thicker, and it buffs out just fine.

The only thing I can't comment on is it's long-term use on guitar bodies & necks. Personally, I think it'd be a GREAT finish on a neck if used like I described above, with one thick coat that's buffed out. The neck wood would be sealed, but would feel nice & slick.

Edited by avengers63
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Thanks for that.

I just LOVE it when something comes up here that I genuinely know what I'm talking about. :D There's such a high knowledge level held my some folks here that it's easy to feel like a goofus. Add that I'm still in my rookie year... I'm just glad to be able to really help with something once in a while.

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thanks avenger :D that actually was very helpful

heres another sort of related question, for a fingerboard, would you be able to apply the shellac to a fingerboard after fretting and just use the same technique as removing lacquer from a maple board? reason i ask is because i want to keep up the wenge/mahogany two tone pattern i have on a few of my necks (plus im broke but i have wenge laying around, not ebony, or any other wood that would really even be suitable for fingerboards)

Kenny

EDIT:

i was doing some browsing and i know someone was wondering about doing an Oil finish over filled grain

i found this guitar

http://home.mindspring.com/imagelib/sitebu...;target=tlx_new

on the site where its located http://home.mindspring.com/~adhamilton/id15.html

he describes it as amber shellac used to fill the grain, then a tungoil finish over

hope that may be helpful

Edited by Kenny
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I wouldn't want to grainfill with shellac. It's not because it wouldn't eventually do it, it's because it doesn't sand well. It loads up the paper very quickly. On the good side, shellac will stick to any other finish that's put over it.

On the other hand, sanding sealer has a detergent in it which makes it easier to sand and NOT load up the paper. The drawback is that the detergent can cause issues with finishes sticking to it.

Disclaimer: I haven't followed those links and read anything. I now work on a USAF computer and their nrtwork is locked down pretty hard. I'm surprised (and grateful) that I can get to this board.

If it's a real tung oil, and you grainfill with sealer/shellac, the oil will NEVER get into the wood. An oil needs to penetrate, and if the wood is sealed, it can't do that.

That being said, many of the products labled as "tung oil" are really an oil/varnish mix, otherwise known as a wiping varnish. THOSE will build up a protective layer, unlike a genuine oil. They may be OK to use over a sealed wood, but I personally wouldn't want to risk wasting my time with it. Good luck determining what you actually have - they don't lable it accurately.

Flexner goes into a LOT more detail on what is and isn't a tung oil or a wiping varnish. I'm only summarizing what he has detailed in his book. :D

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I ordered that book ages ago from Alibris, and they charged me and then told me it was out of stock and refunded me (STEALING 1P FROM ME IN THE PROCESS!!!)

So I'm probably going to order it tonight, I'm sick of not knowing what the f**k any one is ever on about when they talk about finishing lol

Is the 2nd edition the latest edition?

This

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515H...RHL._SS500_.jpg

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