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What Sanding Sealer To Buy?

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Ive just stripped my guitar and now need to apply some coats of sanding sealer to the wood before i can prime it, Would anyone here who has done this before recommend some of the sealers that they used and where in the UK i could purchase them because im not really sure what to use, online shopping in fine for me.

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Sanding sealer is never 'needed'.

Sanding sealer is an option if you 'want' to use it, and I never do.

Sanding sealer is basically lacquer with soap in it.

The soap allows you to sand easier, but also makes the final finish softer, after all, it is soap.

Just wanted you to know you do not need to use it.

A 'sealer' coat technically, is ANY first coat of finish that blocks up the pores so your following coats don't keep sinking into the wood, and technically, is anything you use as the first coat, since your first coat is sealing up the pores, anything you put on it is the sealer coat.

Some companies promote 'sanding sealer' simply because they are trying to push more product on you.

So would you want a sanding sealer, or just a good sealer?

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It's not NEEDED under normal circumstances. Some folks use it as a grain-filler, but the obvious question then is "Why not just use real grain-filler?"

I've used it when I'm going to paint the body because it will make it easier to get a smooth primer coat without any grain showing through.

If for whatever reason you wanted/needed to seal the wood before applying a clear finish, try looking into shellac. The main drawback with shellac is that it REALLY gums up the sandpaper.

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The main drawback with shellac is that it REALLY gums up the sandpaper

What kind of shellac are you using? I fresh mix my own from flake and have not had unusual loading problems.

I sometimes like using a lite wash coat of an amber / garnet colored shellac to pull the figure a bit in maple when doing a "natural" finish.

Like in this pic, the maple in the raw showed very little / very subdued / almost no figure.




And the flake in the raw.



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I agree, if I recommend someone use shellac, I usually include the fact that store-bought shellac has a shelf life and is usually (almost always) not de-waxed, which kills it's ability to be the perfect 'in-between' finish if it's full of wax residue.

And if you buy old shellac from a store, it won't dry properly (and be gummy) and basically is trash in a can, and to always recommend buying fresh flakes and de-waxing it ones self.

Nothing like fresh, 100% crystal clear, dewaxed shellac. That there is quality goods.

Really nice stuff to use, I stay away from any store-bought shellac stuff.

Clean, dewaxed shellac looks like a good amber beer and you can see right thru it :D.

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Well, 'sealer' is certainly a step, but any finish you put down as a first coat 'is' the sealer coat, there is no product specifically designed to be a sealer coat.

Sanding sealer (to repeat myself :D) just makes your leveling process easier, since the soap acts like a lubricant and allows you to sand easier, but the way I look at it, (my opinion only here) is that if you actually need a soap filled sealer to help you sand, you shouldn't be building guitars, as many of the steps are going to be far more difficult than sanding a finish level, if you follow. I never found CYA glue or epoxy or shellac or straight lacquer hard to sand level anyway, so why bother with the soap?

Now having said that, a lot of people simply don't know that, and as you stated, read it in a book or a website or something like that.

I like to inform people what's going on so they can make the most appropriate choice for themselves.

So to recap, every finish out there can be a 'sealer' coat, if you use them as the very first coat.

CYA glue can be the sealer coat.

A/B epoxy can be the sealer coat.

Shellac can be the sealer coat.

Polyurethane can be the sealer coat.

Tru-Oil can be a sealer coat.

If you are using a pore filler, your sealer can be applied either before or after your pore filler.

Before if you're not trying to dye the wood heavily, but still want your pores filled, and after to lock in your pore filler.

And on and on.

DYE cannot be a sealer coat, dye is just dye and is not a finish.

Sanding sealer actually, to me, is a rather crappy sealer coat since, if you don't pore fill first, you'll be applying 20 coats of the stuff to get to level, although sanding sealer does have more solids in it than straight lacquer, but those solids are 'soft' solids, they don't interest me for a hard, durable finish.

I like to use CYA glue a lot to get to level, that is often my 'sealer' coat, especially for soft woods or woods with large pores, as I rarely use real pore filler (just don't like the stuff personally).

I hope this clears up for you the difference between a sealer coat and sanding sealer and possibly what sealer coat will be the best one for your application. :D

I see sanding sealer talked about a lot, but from people who were just told to use it, not from people who actually understand what it is and what specirfically it does. If you need that kind of sealer, that's great, I never do.

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