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Ash grain and grain filler issues

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jonathanhughes, May 9, 2010.

  1. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm planning on buying an unfinished swamp ash P-Bass body and putting a transparent finish on it. I bought a piece of ash to experiment on. I want to accentuate the grain, so I got some brown Behlen's grain filler. The grain filler gives the visual effect I'm looking for, but it's not totally filling in the grain (i.e. it's not leaving a perfectly smooth surface). I put on two coats and did a lot of sanding in between.

    I'm planning on putting on a nitro finish. I got a couple cans from Reranch, and I thought maybe the nitro would help smooth things out, but after several coats, you can still see the grain texture.

    Anyone have any ideas on what I need to do to get rid of the texture? Or am I just overestimating how smooth the finish can be (since it's not going to have a thick coat of poly on it, I suppose maybe it just can't be as smooth as a store-bought bass).


  2. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    Don't give up yet. I would continue with another grain filling coat, packing it in with a credit card/squeegee, let it haze over, then scrape off the excess across grain. I usually rub the surface and work the filler into the pore, using a naptha wetted rag, rubbing across grain. Let it dry overnight, and then block sand smooth up to 400 grit. Repeat as necessary to get a smooth surface.
  3. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Awesome! Thanks! The squeegee is a good idea. I think that would definitely help to push it into the grain (I has been using a thin piece of wood).

    Another related question: Will I need to use a sanding sealer after I'm all done with the grain sealer? I believe the warmoth bodies come with a sanding sealer on them, but I assume all the sanding I'll be doing will rub it off.

    thanks again.
  4. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    i've used shellac for this purpose, just takes a lot of effort, but i've had results of super slick and smooth surface with just the shellac, grain completely filled...i applied with french polish method, but i imagine you could spray much easier for faster results

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