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Grain filler substitute?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by jonnyfez, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Hey there,

    So my ash tele body finally arrived and I want to start working it. Can't find grain filler around here at all. Wood filler sure, but not grain filler. Seems like it's unavailable at a lot of places on-line too unless you want a quart of the stuff for $25 or so. I just need a small amount for one guitar - is there a suitable substitute? I've seen someone mentioning wallboard compound. Is that just crazy talk?

    Advice please. Thanks!
     
  2. thepassivevoice

    thepassivevoice Tele-Meister

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    I've used epoxy by adding silica to thicken it. Somebody recently posted that epoxy may break down after extended UV exposure. I only started using it as a filler a couple of years ago, but I haven't noticed any problems yet.

    You didn't mention the brand of wood filler you have. Some water-based wood fillers can be diluted for use as a grain filler. I haven't found the water-based fillers particularly easy to use, though.
     
  3. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Haven't purchased any type of filler yet. Just looking for possible solutions.
    Checking with the "collective" prior to wasting time and money on something that doesn't work.
     
  4. pdxjoel

    pdxjoel Tele-Holic

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    I just finished a swamp ash body in ReRanch Butterscotch Blonde, using tinted wallboard compound as the grain filler and I'm very pleased. Started with a small container of wallboard compound (not spackle) and tinted using some dark brown water-based craft paint until it was dark chocolate color to bring out the grain a little. Applied with a cotton cloth, let dry, light sanding with 400 grit and repeat and it was ready for sand and seal. Worked great. It's had 6 weeks or so since the final coat of lacquer went on and I don't see any evidence of grain sink.
     
  5. BluezyBruce

    BluezyBruce Tele-Holic

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    I picked up some Miracle wood filler for mine. It is a oil base and seems to be sandable.
     
  6. BluezyBruce

    BluezyBruce Tele-Holic

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    I just got the body and this may be to grainy for the poors in the wood.
     
  7. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Couple solutions.

    1. You can spray on a ton of Sanding sealer and Lacquer - It would be so labor intensive and costly you will kick your own self in the nuts for not spending the 25$ for grain filler.

    2. Solid color finish - use bondo or two part epoxy.

    3. Buy the grain filler, building a guitar isn't cheap.
     
  8. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for the replies. Slathered on some wallboard joint compound yesterday and sanded today. Looks like it might do the trick. I'll post results when I'm finished.
     
  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Keep us posted ont eh wallboard joint compound, I am interested in its long term effect.
     
  10. iansmitchell

    iansmitchell Tele-Afflicted

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    CA glue works too
     
  11. BluezyBruce

    BluezyBruce Tele-Holic

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    Anyone ever tried light spackling as a grain filler?
     
  12. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

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    I've been using that red (oxide) lacquer putty they sell at NAPA as a wood filler for many years. It's the best product I've found next to spraying sealer/filler. You can apply it with a putty knife and then sand off everything except what's in the grain and pores. Three main advantages are: dries extremely fast; it's super easy to sand; and is very lightweight when dry. Drawback is that it can only be used under opaque colors.

    RD
     
  13. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    There's a tutorial on this somewhere, filling mahogany I think. On Luthier's Merchantile or maybe from Stew Mac.

    We used a lot of this "glazing compound" on cars, over the years. Were it not for my hunger for clear and trans finishes, I'd be using this also.
     
  14. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

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    I also use it on my R/C aircraft because it is lighter that wood filler and it is not very hard when dry; sort of like hard clay or chalk. You won't sand a divot in the surrounding wood as can happen with epoxy or poly.

    RD
     
  15. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    Not to hijack, bu this is grain-filler related. I took a few years off from all things "geetar" and am back into it now and picking up the Telehawk project where I left off. had grain filled it with StewMacs water-based filler. I shot several coats of sanding sealer and a few days later sanded it back. I was so happy to see almost no shiny spots! Looked at it from an angle out in the sun and saw little pinholes in the grain.....ok. So maybe I didn't fill enough. So I brushed on more filler...let it sit about 8-10 minutes and then squeegied off the extra. It looked good the next day, and even the next. Went to sand it down and damned if it didn't look like it'd shrunk again....anybody ever have this happen with water-based filler?
     
  16. 930vet

    930vet Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, it's problematic. Another problem to be careful about is that sanding fills the pores with dust, you think you're done, then clean off the sanding dust and find out you not. My theory is that the grain filler just doesn't want to sink into the grain, so when you sand it back the grain is re-opened. I think that I may have gotten around it by giving almost individual attention to the spots where it was happening, taking special care to pack the filler into those spots. Also went to scraping instead of sanding in case the sanding was tearing out the filler. Might have helped. I have wound up with such a medley of different stuff used as grain filler on my current project I don't know what it will eventually do as far as grain sink. A little I don't mind, but I don't want these little craters. I'm hand brushing WB lacquer, and I found a couple of spots I had overlooked and filled them with drops of lacquer. The Target Coatings stuff is really good at self leveling, and seemed to work pretty well this way. I'm building up thickness with clear lacquer, will sand smooth, then go to a few color coats, sand smooth, and finally more clear coats to finish. I'm hoping that the process will build up in a way that will avoid major sink.
     
  17. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    I hear ya on the sanding leaving dust. I'm always really good about using tack rags and wiping it down good after sanding. Short of skim-coating the whole thing with Bondo I think I'll give 'er one more filling and then redo the sand and sealer, possibly using some brush on instead of spray this time. Then a few primer coats and let 'er rip with the color coats. Thanks for the reply!
     
  18. 930vet

    930vet Tele-Meister

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    I found out that a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment worked well for this problem because it pulls the dust out of the grain; tack rags don't quite do the job.
     
  19. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

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    If you don't have a compressor and an air nozzle you can use that canned air that computer techs use.

    RD
     
  20. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    Hmm...got a shop vac and I'm sure I have a brush attachment somewhere...thanks, guys.
     
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