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Sanding sealer before grain filling, how to?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by thrashmetl, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Tele-Holic

    Feb 8, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    I'm grain filling an ash body. I bought some Deft Lacquer Sanding Sealer and some Timbermate Mahogany grain filler today. I've read that I should shoot the body with sanding sealer prior to grain filling, seemingly so the grain filler doesn't stain the wood.

    Where I'm unclear is the details.

    How many coats of sanding sealer should I do BEFORE grain filling? Just a light dusting or two? 2 full coats? 4 coats? Do I need to sand it back before grain filling? If so, how long after my last coat should I wait before sanding back? If not, how long before grain filling?

    Also, what does everyone mean when they refer to a sanding block? Is it a sanding sponge or something else? Can someone link me to a picture or a product?
  2. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

    Mar 2, 2012
    Northampton, UK
    Ash, or swamp ash?

    If it's swamp ash, be prepared that it will take quite a few applications of filler to do the job.

    Here's what I do:

    One wet coat of cellulose sanding sealer. I only give it a really light sand at this stage (after it's dried, I mean!). One coat of Timbermate. Sand back. Another coat of Timbermate. Sand back. Another wet coat of sanding sealer.

    Repeat until grain is totally filled. Only then do I make sure to do a decent, nice flat sand of the sealer.

    Sanding block: numerous objects can be used for this. Ron Kirn uses a block or corian, as it is very hard and flat. I use a large eraser, as I prefer something not as hard (as I am more likely to make mistakes than him....). Within reason, anything flat and solid can be used. You can, of course, buy ready made blocks. Just look on ebay for sanding blocks, and you'll see....
  3. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 22, 2013
    Shellac is your friend.
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  5. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Applying sealer before grain filler makes things a little smother so it's easier to apply the filler. That way the filler will only go in the pores where it's needed. Doesn't have anything to do with avoiding staining of the wood, it's just a practical matter of trying to make grain filler, which is impossible to apply without a mess, a little less messy.
  6. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    I use both products frequently. Here's how I do it.

    Three passes= one coat.

    If its vinyl sanding sealer; one coat and let dry a day.
    Then sand smooth with 400 wet/dry. If your sanding paper gets gummy it means the Sanding sealer hasn't dried enough. Stop and let dry another day.
    Next day. continue to sand smooth. Tack rage or wipe down with a damp cloth (water is fine because the Timbermate is water based anyways)


    Sand smooth with 400 grit after letting it dry. Deft takes longer than most
    I can usually sand after and hour.

    I disagree with Vizcaster. I seal it to stop the filler from staining the wood and here is why:

    I found with Timbermate you don't need to sand the excess filler off. I take a very damp rage and after the first spread of filler is dry take the damp rage and rub ACROSS THE GRAIN. Rinse out the rag as needed and continue until the excess is off.

    Most people use sand the excess off and during the process take off any stained wood.

    My way reduces the amount of sanding and with Timbermate and the wet rag method no dust at all.

    Now after the first cross grain wiping let dry (about 30 minutes)
    and reapply the Timbemate again and repeat the wiping/filling process as needed until you think the body it smooth.

    Then I apply another coat of sanding sealer and sand to 600 so my surface is smooth to put down my color or if natural your clear coats.

    Sanding block can be anything flat to apply equal pressure to your sanding paper so your finish will be flat

    If you were to use only your hand the areas that your fingers press down with cause the sand paper to cut deeper into the finish than the surrounding area giving your finish a wavy effect.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  7. Barcaster

    Barcaster Tele-Meister

    Oct 27, 2013
    Traverse City
    Pumic as filler

    I have a Ash body that I used 1lb cut of Blond Shallac and Pumic 004 and a rubber for grain fill. Worked really great.
  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    OK we have a different definition of "stain," but it turns out we're saying the same thing - it's less of a mess to clean up if there's a sealer on there before the Timbermate. if you're using Pore-O-Pac with a stain in it (or whatever Gibson uses with the red dye in the filler), well that's a different story.
  9. Shinigami

    Shinigami TDPRI Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi guys, I believe this is my very first post and though I've been playing for over 20 years I'm still pretty clueless about how to proper finish a guitar :rolleyes:

    Basically, I'm planning to assemble a tele-like guitar soon and as for all the other guitars I own (apart from my 1991 Fender Strat HM) I'll be working with figured woods, probably flamed maple.

    I was watching this video the other day about the painting process at Carvin guitars (I own a Jason Becker model) and I've noticed they don't spray the sanding sealer but somehow spread it on the top then remove all the excess with a rag...

    What kind of sanding sealer should I be getting to do it the same way?

    Also, still in the same video they spray some transparent primer, is it really necessary? I don't have a spray gun so the best I could do is getting it in a rattle can...any recommendation?

    I'll try to get the same finish or at least colour speaking as that at 5'08"

    My only previous experience was with water base aniline dye which wasn't bad but not even awesome haha

    Thanks a lot and sorry for all the questions ;)
  10. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Shinigami, the factory video shows them using a UV-cured sealer, which none of us are equipped for so just ignore it and don't try to replicate it. As for any other questions you have for your project, I'd suggest you start a new thread and make the title your specific questions.
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