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Burl Walnut finishing lesson

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by camthebassman, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. camthebassman


    Jan 7, 2012
    I'm building a Warmoth parts bass. The neck is "wenge" and I was not happy with the appearance of the headstock, so I have veneered burl walnut to the headstock.


    This is my first experience working with burl and I'm struggling to develop a finishing schedule. The goal is a gloss clear finish.

    First attempt (on test pieces):
    Light sand 220
    wipe with mineral spirits
    Minwax lacquer sanding sealer - one or two coats

    This dried to a chaulky white..normal?

    I wiped it down with Mineral spirits and sprayed a few coats of Minwax gloss laquer

    The walnut is absorbing the laquer like a sponge.

    Is there a better technique and/or products that I can use to seal the burl to allow build coats? I do quite a bit of boat building and I'm tempted to reach for the epoxy or spar varnish.

    Any thoughts? Thank you!

  2. Thumpin_P


    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    Epoxy would be the way to go, in my book...FWIW.
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  4. camthebassman


    Jan 7, 2012
    Epoxy - sand - shellac - sand - lacquer ?
  5. Thumpin_P


    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    Naw...just epoxy over the burl...it's strong enough to protect it, with a finish that won't yellow. I would use at least a couple of coats...sanding between coats to get it level.
  6. camthebassman


    Jan 7, 2012
    thanks. I use clear epoxy for bright work on boats with great success. One coat on the test piece last night....working as expected. Will require multiple coats as the type I use is very low viscosity.

    Thanks for the input. I'll post some shots as things progress.
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Burl and spalted woods are the hardest to finish because the wood absorbs the finish unevenly.
  8. I agree on the epoxy. For a small project like this Id go over to your local hardware or art store and pick up some of that "counter top" self leveling epoxy. A small box should last you quite some time.
  9. Thumpin_P


    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    ^Yup...I couldn't agree more!^