Basswood - grain fill before nitro?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Dacious, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just got lockdown project 3 - DC Les Paul Jnr. It's very nicely polish sanded.

    I have some Behlens black and fruitwood left and I want to do a light bumblebee burst, where some grain is visible.

    Should I grain fill or seal the body? I am not interested in a mirror finish on this. I have some brush on sealer that worked well on my Melody Maker refin.

    I'm presuming two mist coats of colour and a few light coats of clear with a buff after a week.

    IMG_20200812_140346.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's the MM. It had a terrible relic job where someone chiselled it, had to putty the top so it needed a solid finish. I learnt a lot about bursts from that. i.e. aim to just miss.....
    IMG_20190817_175655.jpg
     
  3. chillman

    chillman Tele-Afflicted

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    In my experience with basswood, it doesn't have the kind of open grain pores you'd typically fill if you were working with ash or mahogany. But basswood's grain texture—meaning the lengthwise streaks with slight variations in height—can be visible through the final finish, even when opaque. I kinda like that, personally. Reminds me of a less extreme version of what Novo does on their guitars.

    If the kit you bought is already nicely sanded as you say, and you want some grain showing in the final finish too, I wouldn't do any grain filling. It's mostly a waste of time with basswood.

    If you want a perfectly flat finish with basswood in the future, a few coats of vinyl sealer or some filler primer (if you're going opaque with the finish) will do the trick, if applied well and sanded flat before color coats.
     
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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    According to the StewMac finishing schedule, basswood does not have open pores and does not need pore filling. One thing that I do know about basswood is that it is very soft (it is a favorite with wood carvers) and very prone to denting and scratching. Very few guitars have it for the actual outer body, but I know that Ibanez made some bass wood guitar and it is my understanding that they applied a two part finish that hardens almost like epoxy to give some protection.

    I've never finished basswood but I would follow the StewMac schedule.
     
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  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for responses. I did as you said, and I'm pretty happy with results. The joins and messy grain were I think why the original purchaser rejected this special order.
    reduced_IMG_20200819_084040_73520.jpg

    I was really pleased with the way it came up. After one colour coat I wetsanded

    reduced_IMG_20200819_084149_51335.jpg

    Really pleased with the effect of the grain showing. Hit a few spots a second time and again, careful feathering.
    reduced_IMG_20200821_152559_47048.jpg

    First nitro clear.

    I'm going to let it dry overnight and super light sand tomorrow.
    reduced_IMG_20200821_152728_41044.jpg

    I like the way the grain varies. I screwed up the neck burst. Bit more work needed on headstock end.
     
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  6. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Meister

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    Basswood is a closed grain lumber so, no need for grain filler
     
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