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First Build - Sanity check on my finishing plans


RevJohn
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Hey folks!

I've been really interested in building a guitar for a long time and I've decided to do it. I'm starting simple with a Les Paul kit from Solo. Nothing too crazy yet as far as the woodworking goes. 

I'm wanting to do an entirely wipe-on finish. (Just because). I've been experimenting with scraps of wood and I just want some feedback before I start working on the guitar whether or not this method makes sense.

Back, neck, headstock (mahogany):

Sand to 320, fill with mahogany colored woodgrain filler, sand to 320 again, stain with minwax wipe-on stain (two coats), then about a dozen coats of Minwax wipe-on poly (Steel wool between coats). Wet-sand to 2000 grit then polish with a few stages of automotive polish (I've got plenty of that lying around). I was really pleased with this. The plan is to do the whole back and neck this way, but use steel wool to scuff the neck to a satin finish. The one thing I didn't do on my scrap pieces was thin the poly on the final coats (it was all straight out of the can). From what I'm reading around here scrolling through threads, it looks like thinning it would give me a flatter, shinier finish?

Any issues so far? Am I missing anything or doing anything wrong yet?

Would there be any advantage to using a sealer on top of the stain before the poly?

For the maple top (just a regular maple cap, no veneer):

Sand to 320, dye with angelus dyes, and the same wipe-on poly technique. I'm getting mixed info on whether I should grain fill. Would grain filling be necessary on Maple if I want a high-gloss finish? I have some Birch-Casey sealer and filler, would that would better for that?

Really appreciate your wisdom and feedback!

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One hint for the first sandings: Sand with 320, wipe with a damp cloth and let dry to raise the grain. Then sand lightly again just to knock off what's risen. Do this a couple of times. The sealer may be moist enough for the same effect but with solid woods like maple a filler is often not needed especially if you're after a satin finish or want to use oil and wax instead of poly.

 

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7 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

One hint for the first sandings: Sand with 320, wipe with a damp cloth and let dry to raise the grain. Then sand lightly again just to knock off what's risen. Do this a couple of times. The sealer may be moist enough for the same effect but with solid woods like maple a filler is often not needed especially if you're after a satin finish or want to use oil and wax instead of poly.

 

Thanks!

Definitely going for a high gloss finish on the maple. Would it be best to grainfill then?

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I would want a bit more detail about the maple top before giving you recommendations.

What look are you shooting for?

Can you find a pic on the web of something close and post it here?

 

About pore-fill.

Not trying to confuse the issue early on, but you can do it two ways:

IF you Really like the natural color of your Mahogany as-is, you can lay down a thinned poly coat first to lock it in.

Then do your pore filler, then go back to poly.

That first thinned coat 'locks in' the very nature of your Mahogany so the pore-filler doesn't affect it.

And only fills the pores, period.

Also, be wary of what color pore-fill you buy, I would recommend it be a shade or two darker than your Mahogany.

And Mahogany comes in all kinds of colors and shades.

 

Otherwise, you can pore-fill right onto raw wood, but then the pore filler will have some effect on the overall appearance.

Using a thinned 'sealer' coat first protects the Mahogany against any colorant of the pore filler.

And specifically just keeps the pore-filler to the pores and that's it.

 

IF you decide to used a thinned coat of poly first, then pore-fill, this is a good way to 'do' the pore fill.

Using a steel wool pad to wipe off the excess while its still damp.

It's a bit different approach than what you normally see, but I like it.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Drak said:

I would want a bit more detail about the maple top before giving you recommendations.

What look are you shooting for?

Can you find a pic on the web of something close and post it here?

 

About pore-fill.

Not trying to confuse the issue early on, but you can do it two ways:

IF you Really like the natural color of your Mahogany as-is, you can lay down a thinned poly coat first to lock it in.

Then do your pore filler, then go back to poly.

That first thinned coat 'locks in' the very nature of your Mahogany so the pore-filler doesn't affect it.

And only fills the pores, period.

Also, be wary of what color pore-fill you buy, I would recommend it be a shade or two darker than your Mahogany.

And Mahogany comes in all kinds of colors and shades.

 

Otherwise, you can pore-fill right onto raw wood, but then the pore filler will have some effect on the overall appearance.

Using a thinned 'sealer' coat first protects the Mahogany against any colorant of the pore filler.

And specifically just keeps the pore-filler to the pores and that's it.

 

IF you decide to used a thinned coat of poly first, then pore-fill, this is a good way to 'do' the pore fill.

Using a steel wool pad to wipe off the excess while its still damp.

It's a bit different approach than what you normally see, but I like it.

 

 

Thanks!

 

As I said in the OP, I'm happy with the color and how it turned out on my test block; especially since the Mahogany is being stained. 

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