Surprise Maple Open Pore Finish

bfisch

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I'm building a a kit guitar with a maple veneer. I have stained the guitar and started to apply a tru oil finish. I have applied a tru oil finish to another kit build with a maple veneer and ended up with a silky smooth finish. This kit on the other hand has a very porous appearance, like an open pore or open grain finish after around 15 coats of tru oil. It reminds me of mahogany its so open and grainy looking. Thankfully, for this particular guitar it looks pretty cool and I may just leave it this way rather than try to pore fill at this stage. The common convention/advice I've always received is that you don't need to pore fill maple due to it having tight grain. But I'm curious, have any of you experienced very grainy maple that didn't fill via top finish? Are there certain cases with maple where you may need to pore fill to get a glassy smooth finish?
 

Jim_in_PA

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It may be maple in name only, especially if it's an import. Maple species in North America, both "hard" and "soft" variants (which are all quite hard) have very fine grained appearance and character without visible pore structure, for the most part. What you describe may be some other kind of "white wood" that's being passed off as maple. So yes, you may need to pore fill after sealing to get a smooth finish.
 

Freeman Keller

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What Jim says. Most electric guitar kits are coming out of the PacRim and you could get all sorts of things called maple. My experience with the big leaf maples that grow in the US is that they are NOT open pore woods and do not need pore filling per se. I do frequently apply my pore filling produce (a finishing resin) to maple to enhance its grain, but not necessarily to fill it. I don' work with TruOil but my understanding is that it is a very poor product for leveling and filling wood and that it may take far more than 15 coats.

Remember too that veneers will be very thin, maybe on the order of 30 thousands and it is very easy to sand thru them, So its kind of a Catch 22 - you need to level the wood but don't want to remove too much, a filling application would have helped this. Last question is to think about how the various products (stains, sealers, fillers, finish) will react with one another.

Good luck.
 

bfisch

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All very good information! Thank you both for your responses. Sounds like I got some "maple" - some variation of white wood. A good lesson learned to not assume, but inspect the wood more closely and decide on pore fill application, or not, prior to top coat application. I think at this point I need to make the decision to either leave it with the open pore look, or look into applying a clear pore filler; or a million more coats of tru oil haha. Thank you again for your input, this one had me a bit perplexed.
 

Freeman Keller

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Normally I strongly advocate trying any and all finishing experiments on scraps of the same wood as your guitar. I keep cutoffs all thru the building process just for this. Unfortunately with a kit or an unfinished body you don't have that option and the thin veneer makes it almost impossible to experiment on your guitar.

While it is not always true, sometimes people will use maple veneer to get the beautiful flame or quilt that we associate with that wood. If your guitar top had a lot of flame then its a pretty good chance that it is maple (there are other woods that can exhibit flame but maple is the usual one).

Since I don't work with TruOil I can't give you any advice there. I would be hesitant to advise trying to fill pores after you have started your finish coats but it might work fine.
 




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