Sealer - Grain Filler - Stain - Oil / Sequence?

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
Sorry for yet another thread on finishing - I've been somewhat on fire lately I guess...

I am in the planning phase of a Zebrano-top Mahogany body. What I would like to achieve is something like a satin doghair finish (i.e. black guitar with popped out grain in white/grey). I have already purchased blanks to try and am planning on using the following products:

- Birchwood Casey Sealer & Filler
- Black water-based stain by Clou (German brand I think)
- White wood filler by Clou
- Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil
- Birchwood Casey Sheen & Conditioner

My questions:
1. Would you consider these products as appropriate/sufficient?
2. In what sequence would you apply (including sanding/waiting times)? Particularly,
a) at what stages to apply sealer? (been reading contradictory things about this)
b) apply stain or grain filler first? What are the pros/cons?
c) any guidance on sanding/drying times?

I'd really appreciate your ideas. Thanks so much!
 

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
766
Far from an expert, but I'm just completing my 3rd build.  Some thoughts below....

alexreinhold said:
Sorry for yet another thread on finishing - I've been somewhat on fire lately I guess...

I am in the planning phase of a Zebrano-top Mahogany body. What I would like to achieve is something like a satin doghair finish (i.e. black guitar with popped out grain in white/grey). I have already purchased blanks to try and am planning on using the following products:

- Birchwood Casey Sealer & Filler - If you want to pop the grain, I've had success with applying a light coat of sealer, then hitting the body with dye, then sanding off the sealer.  Or, you can not apply the sealer, hit the body with grain, and then sand off the surface layer.  This process colors the grain.  Once this process is done, then dye the body and reseal
- Black water-based stain by Clou (German brand I think) - Assuming you've dyed the grain to taste and sanded off any sealer, now hit it with the body dye, then reseal
- White wood filler by Clou - I'm not familiar with this.  Does this dry clear?  If so, good to go
- Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil - Yes.  If you're going for a satin look, only apply up to 3 coats or so.  After that, additional coats start becoming shiny.
- Birchwood Casey Sheen & Conditioner - I've never used it, but if going for a satin finish, not sure if this glosses up the finish

My questions:
1. Would you consider these products as appropriate/sufficient?  - Not sure on the filler, but overall, yes
2. In what sequence would you apply (including sanding/waiting times)? Particularly, - Assuming the wood is sanding to taste, 1A either sealer, add dye for the grain and then sand off the sealer, 1B or hit the whole body with dye and sand off the surface (at this point, this now assumes that you've resanded the body after sealer and dye), 2 apply body dye and reseal, 3 apply wood filler and sand to smooth, then start your coats of TruOil (again for a satin look, don't past 3 coats, 2 might be better), 4 then do the sheen/conditioner (assuming this doesn't gloss up the finish)
a) at what stages to apply sealer? (been reading contradictory things about this) - Depending on technique, you can apply either before or after dye
b) apply stain or grain filler first? What are the pros/cons? - Think of it this way, do the dye for the grain first, then do the dye for the body.  Once the dye is in the grain, it is very difficult to change the color.  If you do the body first, you're grain will be that color.
c) any guidance on sanding/drying times? If you use an alcohol base, dye will dry up in minutes.  Personally, I haven't used the alcohol method and have used water.  Once dye is applied, I take a damp paper towel and wipe down the body.  This will pick up excess dye.  Having said that, I've had to do multiple coats of a dye for a deep color.  The sealer I allows to dry for an hour or so before sanding down.  I do 2-3 coats of TruOil a day.  Once you have all your coats on, let the body sit for a month to cure.  Never used the sheen conditioner, so don't know what times are involved with that.  My guitars are all gloss and I polish the body after it's cured.

I'd really appreciate your ideas. Thanks so much!


Again, far from an expert, but hope this helps.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,311
I don't have experience with zebrano, though I do with mahogany, though not with guitar bodies.

On the tables I used:
1)  Stain (some standard light reddish stuff from home depot.
2)  Fill  (some brownish filler from home depot)
3)  Finish (first three coats were regular polyutherane, next three coats of wipe on poly)

On the 10 doors which were extemely smooth, I just used the finish.

One thing to keep in mind is after each coat of finish is sanded, I wiped with a tack cloth, and then with a paper towel dampened with Naptha.  My doors and table came out great.  It was a lot of work.

Just follow the directions listed on the can in a common sense manner and you'll be fine.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
@Rauchman, thanks so much for addressing all of my questions - incredibly helpful and insightful. These are exactly the pointers I have been looking for!
@rick2 thanks for confirming some of Rauchman's points - I'm definitely confident enough now to start finishing my two test pieces (zebrano and mahogany)

I will dedicate some to it this weekend and next week and will try several different methods and will then post pictures here for reference (also for others to learn).

Thanks again guys - really appreciate it!
 
Top