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Who's Good at Finishing/ Grain Filling?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by mshivy, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. mshivy

    mshivy Most Honored Senior Member

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    I've been grain filling an ash body. I have a few questions for any experienced finishers (I'm a complete amateur )

    -How do you sand the inside of the horns?

    -Do you prefer Vinyl or regular nitro sanding sealer?

    -How many coats of Sanding Sealer would you do if spraying from an aerosol ?

    Here's where I'm at now - I sprayed a brown toner to help lock in the filler, then I'm sanding the lacquer off. What a pain.
    IMG_3597.JPG
     
  2. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    I used Prismacolor Magic Rub white erasers with wet/dry sand paper on them everywhere I can. I sometimes use my finger tips for certain parts inside the top horn, but you can bend the eraser and hold the shape when you sand, too. One of the great things about using them as a sanding block is that once you start wet sanding on lacquer, the residue acts as a sticky glue to hold the sand paper on the eraser. just cut some rectangles of sandpaper and peel and stick a new one on the eraser as needed. It truly is a magic rub !! I've never sprayed sanding sealer from a can. But I'm guessing you won't be moving as much solid material from a spay can, so whatever you think is good, double it.
     
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  3. Matt_D

    Matt_D Strat-O-Master

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    Getting the best possible finish starts with getting the best possible surface to apply the finish on to.

    For woods with a more open grain that can mean a more tedious process of grain filling and sealing to build the most level surface possible for your finish to go on to
    The other alternative is to uses masses of clear to get an even gloss finish at the end but that can still look bad because the color coats are not sitting on an even finish beneath the clear and so will reflect unevenly and as a result will look "off"

    I haven't worked with ash but with mahogany I grain fill, sand back, grain fill again sand back and then asses how things are looking and may even go around a third time with grain filler to get the initial surface as even as possible.

    For sealer I like nitro because I like a 100% nitro finish but it's thin, even the specific sanding sealer that will have more solids.
    How much you need is rather dependent on how well you've done getting the surface even in the grain filling stage. If you start with an uneven surface then you are going to have to put on a lot of layers of sealer to be able to sand back to a completely flat/level surface.

    I usually only use a single can of Nitro sanding sealer because I put a lot of time into the grain filler stages ahead of that

    I also like erasers or fingers as sanding blocks for the odd shaped areas of a guitar.
     
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  4. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    Mohawk brand makes a lacquer sanding sealer in aerosol cans that is a thicker formula.

    It fills better so you will have to "block" the body less to get the sealer built up over the top of the grain and level.

    A perfectly sealed and leveled to glass smooth base will look like a million bux even with 1 light coat of finish on the top.
     
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  5. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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  6. kevin54

    kevin54 Senior Stratmaster

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    When I sanded the inside of the horns on my Squire Strat (my first attempt at a respray), I simply did it by hand and took my time.
    I just kept checking often, it is time consuming, but worth it in the end.
    Was the body one that you removed a previous finish from?
    I found that I didn't need to use grain filler as the pores were already filled from the original coating.
    Obviously, you may feel safer using grain filler as a matter of course, and I would use it if the body is new or the pores look open.
    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  7. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

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    I use nitro sand/sealer, but I know a lot of other finishers don't. I like the nitro at all stages because it is so forgiving to mistakes, and easy to fix when you need to.

    I sand the horns inside by hand with paper. The biggest issue I find there is not getting it smooth, but avoiding sanding exaggerated "ripples" into that area. What happens is that you tend to oversand the softer grain areas, and undersand the harder parts of the endgrain. It's harder than it seems to avoid that. A wheel, spindle or other device would help even that out.

    I keep the sealer coats to a minimum, especially if the final target is clear finish over grain. May be my imagination, but I don't think the sealers are as crystalline as the clear nitro, and are just slightly more cloudy. Not that most people would ever notice, though.

    Most important advice I have is.... go to reranch.com, and spend some time there. The best, most skilled builders and finishers are there, and very willing to help.

    Good luck!!
     
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  8. Pete McC

    Pete McC Senior Stratmaster

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    Wrap your sandpaper around a cylindrical object like a small aerosol or broom handle offcut and that will help keep things even in the inner horns
     
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