Advice for Sealer over wood stain

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by fatcat, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I am planning a project. I have this pine body: IMG_20190909_165036600_HDR.jpg

    I want to lightly stain it with:

    51TI6tpdXRL._AC_SY400_.jpg

    Or at least that color.

    What kind of sealer should I be looking at once I've finished staining? I don't want a glossy finish; Satin finish preferred.
     
  2. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    It all depends on what your Satin top coat is. If you use the Varathane Stain then use their sealer and top coat as well. Which is probably polyurethane. If you want a nitro like finish, a vinyl sealer and some Satin lacquer will work too(however I haven't seen Satin String Instrument Lacquer at all). Just make sure the stain is 24 hours dry, longer if humid.
    A 2nd take on the nitro finish would be: stain as above. Seal with clear shellac, then use the Minwax or Varathane Satin Lacquer.
     
  3. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    my main concern is that the final finish winds up sticky. Cant have that. I've seen too many pieces of homemade furniture the had a sticky finish.
     
  4. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sticky how? Like on the neck, or over the whole body?
    Most finishes if used by the expiration date will dry hard. For the most part expired finishes don't cure right and stay tacky among other problems.
    I'm not sure that's what your talking about.
    The other type of sticky, you might be talking about, is occasionally associated with glossy finishes. Most players talk about it when referencing the neck and feel while playing. For this I use ultra fine synthetic steel wool (the real (steel wool) stuff will screw up your pickups) on the glossy surface, bring it to a semi gloss and I find, for myself that this isn't as sticky as a high gloss finish. Now I would only do this to the playing area on the back of the neck, for feel.
     
  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    First, if you want consistent color you should apply a brushable sanding sealer *before* you apply the stain. This keeps the stain from penetrating too fast and the color going too deep before you can stop it. You use a solvent dampened cloth to wipe areas starting to go too dark and "pull" the color out. This is what prevents blotchiness and helps blend color between different wood sections (like the very light piece near the output jack).

    Pine sucks up stain like a sponge, and without sanding sealer there's little hope of any control over color. If any areas look too light - also common with pine, which does not stain consistently - you can apply more stain in those areas and blend the edges.

    The sanding sealer - NOT shellac or thinned varnish, which some people use (but do not contain the correct types of clear "filler pigments") is what makes this possible by slowing things down. And with pine (and fir) this is critical when uing stains or dyes.

    As far as a "sealer" over the stain, it's not a "sealer" - it's a "finish" - although it's usually recommended to apply another coat of sanding sealer after staining (each coat of sanding sealer is lightly sanded smooth). This helps get a nice, smooth feel and an even sheen - without it the finish will penetrate the stain unevenly and a satin finish will be dead flat in some areas.

    There should be NO stickiness problem.i Generally that is caused by either contamination in the coating, application of incompatible products or sap leaching out of the wood (which is prevented by using sanding sealer - another reason for it).

    Make SURE you test the entire system by applying it to some scrap pine before starting on the actual body. Don't work eon the body "cold" or you'll have no idea what to expect or how to deal with issues if they occur. You can also refine your technique to ensure the best possible results. You'll save a lot of time....and money.

    Practice, perfect - then do the actual job.

    Good luck!!
     
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  6. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    What type of solvent? Before sanding sealer.

    When I first recieved the body, I wiped it down with a thin coat of formsbys tung oil finish, just to coat with something befor haning it in my closet. It's been in there for about 8 months. Will this hurt my plans?

    I plan on sanding again before doing anything to it.

    Ill get some scrap pine.
     
  7. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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    Porous, soft woods, like pine should be first sealed with something like Minwax wood sealer to make the stain absorb more evenly (especially on the end grain which absorbs stain like a sponge if not sealed). A good, and very easy, top finish would be Minwax wipe-on poly. Comes in gloss and satin. It applies with a rag and leaves no brush marks, etc. Very, very easy to get good results. Just wipe it on then wipe off the excess before it dries. It will take multiple coats as it goes on very thin. Dries very hard.

    Not sure how having the tung oil on first will work out with the stain. may not penetrate properly and just sit on top. May work out if you sand it down well so that the surface is down to wood. It might then work much as the wood sealer would have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
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  8. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I do plan to sand down to bare wood before starting.

    I will look up some of the products from the stain manufacturer, Varathane, and see what is available at my local Home Depot.

    Scrap wood first; sanding sealer, stain, finish.
     
  9. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Im going for a transparent blue "old" wood sort of thing. If its a little dirty and uneven, that could be okay.
     
  10. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Tele-Meister

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    If your staining it with a somewhat transparent stain, you should apply a wood conditioner before the stain to prevent blotching.
    Not as important if your using a stain with color. You can then go right over top of it after letting it dry with your topcoat, I would let it sit 12-24 hours after staining then apply a nitrocellulose topcoat from a rattle spray can like Watco. You can apply your topcoat, let it sit a few hours, give it another light topcoat, before your third or fourth topcoat, remove any imperfections with #320 sandpaper, go over the whole body with a medium-fine scotch brite pad, apply your final coat(s),

    The key is not sand through the topcoat to your stain as you then have to touch up the stain. A pint can of stain and a pint can of wood conditioner will do it, and extra spray can of topcoat would be good.



    https://www.minwax.ca/wood-products/preparation/minwax-prestain-wood-conditioner

     
  11. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Tele-Meister

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    By the way, that's a nice slab of pine, my preference would be a "Puritan Pine" or "Natural" stain, as there is no need to cover up wood imperfections,
     
  12. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    You don't use a solvent BEFORE the sanding sealer as part of the process -please re-read my post.

    But you normally DO wipe a bare wood body with naphtha after sanding it smooth - then wipe with a clean area of a Tac cloth after prep; sanding sealer/sanding; staining; 2nd coat of sanding sealer; and after each dry coat of other materials. That's standard procedure with ANY paint or finishing system.

    Your solvent for use in wiping during stain application is whatever is compatible with the stain you use. To repeat, you dampen a clean lint-free cloth with it and wipe areas that start to go too dark as the stain penetrates.

    This is a good choice....but....

    ....coating with tung oil was not a good idea. It's going to change the penetration and adhesion properties of anything applied over it Even a "thin" coat of tung oil can penetrate 1/8" or more into some areas of pine, and stain penetration will likely be severly limited - you can't sand to "bare wood".

    You'll jut have to try the same thing on some scrap pine and see what results you get. You might get lucky, you might not - but the lesson here is never apply anything as a "hold" coating unless you know exactly what you are doing. There's actually no reason to do that at all. It seerves no useful purpose at all and just causes problems.

    so again, at this point there's not much to say other than duplicate your tung oil coated body - and realistically you should wait 8 months before continuing the test if you want to have a pretty solid idea of how things will work. But if that's not practical, let it dry at LEAST 3-4 weeks, as even light coats of tung oil leach out to the surface for that long - then wipe it down with naphtha (the only solvent that leaves NO residue) and a Tac cloth.

    Best of luck -
     
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  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Respectfully, I disagree with some of these recommendations:

    1. "Wood conditioners" are sometimes oils or waxes, which are not compatible with lacquer and many polyurethane topcoats. "If a "wood conditioner" is used it MUST be clearly labeled as a sanding sealer for use prior to staining.

    2. Sanding sealer is most important with DEEP, not light, transparent colors. It's the darker colors that turn blotchy if darker areas are not solvent wiped during application. This can also be done with transparent stains, but there's little point as light/transparent colors simply don't show blotchiness like dark colors. This is based on my staining/dyeing hundreds of guitar bodies, pieces of furniture and miscellaneous wood items..

    There is no point to having aa properly applied coat of conventional lacquer dry for "a few hours". Only Colortone and Deft among commonly available lacquers require extended dry times dues to high naphtha content.

    Watco, like Mohawk, Behlens and Rust-Oleum (all made by the same company - RPM) dries in 30-60 minutes.

    And "imperfections" are NEVER sanded. You do not sand between lacquer coats except for sanding sealers and sandable primers. Lacquer melts into itself (whether color or clear) building a single coat of lacquer with indistinguishable divisions. Sanding between coats will not "remove" application inconsistencies and can introduce contaminants into the system.

    Applied properly in thin coats lacquer is self-leveling. The last clear coat can be applied slightly thicker as a "flow" coat - but no sanding should be done between coats. The only "imperfections" removed by sanding are tiny runs, if any. If the coating system is uneven not enough practice application was done and technique was not refined - that's a "defect" that shouldn't occur and is irrelevant.

    There also should be no need for "finish sanding". When coats are complete the item should be able to go straight to the buffer - in a worst case scenario 20 minutes or so of finish wet sanding starting with nothing rougher than 1500 might be needed, but anything more serious and there's a basic problem with the application.

    I don't know any part time techs who periodically do finish work that sand between coats or do finish sanding. The last coat is applied, the system is buffed the next day and the project is complete.
     
  14. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Tele-Meister

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    here are my credentials for offering advice on this refinishing forum, I worked several years in the 1980's as a certified automotive painter at a high end GM body shop, spot repairs in lacquer were part of my job, I also had my own business refinishing Amish furniture for a couple years after that, I have sprayed pails and of lacquer, some of the advice here is appalling,
     
  15. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    So are you saying to wipe with naphtha after each sanding in the process, before applying finish?
     
  16. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    Hi..Hope this isn't a repeat question but I'm not using stain on my body. I have two bodies. One pine and one paulownia. I'm experimenting with India Ink. I'v read several people who used it cause it goes on smooth and really sinks into the wood plus you can thin it with water. And the colors look fantastic.
    So my question is, should I treat the Ink as a stain and use a sanding sealer? I assume the ink is in the same family as stain but I don't know for sure. I wonder if the Ink will "take" to the sealer? Also should I use oil based or water based?
    Again I'm sorry if this is a repeat question but no one can tell me. Not Stew Mac, Warmoth, no one. They know nothing of using inks only stains then try to sell me their bottles of dye for $30 a bottle when I already have 8oz. of ink. (More then enough). Honestly I don't like either place. People on a budget can't afford their stuff.
    Hopefully someone here can guide me in the right direction and I don't mean telling me to buy stew mac dyes. The ink I got is a very deep almost black violet.
    Thanks in advance!! Rob L.

    On a side note it will be finished with semi-gloss minwax oi based poly. I did find out I can use oil base. Water base can make the color run and blotch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
  17. Rigel7

    Rigel7 Tele-Meister

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    One: Nice!

    Two: Aqua Coat. You can get it at Lee Valley. It's fantastic. Massive fan. I've used it on ash and the results have been piano smooth. Wish I knew about it years ago.
     
  18. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Rigel! I just ordered some! Looks perfect. Low odor, low voc. Nice!!
     
  19. Rob L

    Rob L Tele-Meister

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    Thanks again Rigel for your advice.
    I found a guy on youtube who told me how to do this.
    Normally you'd use sanding sealer..then the aqua coat..then your color..then your clear coat.
    The way he told me to do it I've never heard. Now I'm using Paulownia. This crap is so porous. It even has holes in it that you could stick a pencil tip in.

    He said..apply my India Ink first. Many coats. It's gonna feel rough like sandpaper. THEN apply the Mohawk tone finish sanding sealer. Many coats with sanding etc. THEN apply the aqua coat. Many coats sanding, wet sanding etc. Then apply my oil based minwax poly.

    I've never heard of this before. Stain first then sealer, filler? He said the aqua coat might not react well with the india ink so seal and fill after the ink is applied.
    Anyone else hear of doing it this way? I guess it's cause I'm not using a stain but an ink. He also said I can add more ink to the aqua coat. I hope it works but if not i have a Yellow Pine body on the way.

    Speaking of which. Is Yellow Pine porous? Does it need a lot of sealer/filler?
     
  20. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Yes. Stain, dye, ink - they all need sanding sealer if you want decent control over the color. Sanding sealer - as opposed to thinned lacquer, shellac and other materials some try to use as sealer - have specific clear filler pigments of varied size that slow the penetration of the color, allowing you to use a solvent-dampened (not soaking wet)rag to "pull" color out of areas that begin to darken too much.

    Sanding sealers control the penetration speed - they give you time to "work" the color, evening out the penetration. They are especially helpful to less experienced finishers. The more experience you have, the more quickly you recognize (or *should*....) the speed of the penetration and can react to it. But even more experienced finishers like to use it as there's just less concern about color inconsistency.

    On any wood there's no way to know how much sealer is required, as grain varies between different cuts, sapwood vs heartwood etc. The best thing to do - ALWAYS - is to run tests on the closest thing you can find - complete tests, from preparation to sealing, filling, a second sealer coat (for control of the color and clear coat(s) level and smoothness - and the color, toner, clear and aging coats (depending on your finish) - and final buffing.

    Practicing the WHOLE system on scrap helps you anticipate issues on the real thing, practice your technique, and avoid posting the dreaded "How did I screw this up?" thread.:lol:

    Paste wood filler is used to smooth out the surface and fill and/or color deeper grain by use to tints/stains in the filler. It's applied AFTER the stain/dye/ink - not before, so you can determine how how you want the color of the grain to appear after staining. It's often omitted on pine, which usually has fairly smooth grain.
     
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