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Ebony bleeding into maple...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JSPguitars, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    It's hard to see in this crappy pic, but after doing some wet-sanding to my neck, the macassar ebony has bled into the figured maple where the 'figure' is.
    What can I do about this? ANy tricks you guys know of? Or is this just the Nature of the Beast?
  2. I'm not sure what the fix is at this point other than sanding past the contaminated portions.

    A future fix is seal the area to be protected with shellac. This will prevent dust from contaminating and will sand off easy or be fine left in place for most finishes.
  3. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    You know I am not an expert at all on building basses, I would like to try..., but I do woodworking and found that sometimes contamination if not too deep can be removed carefully with alcohol and a q-tip then resand carefully.

    It is a hack of a nice looking bass, man, very nice looking transition into the body, looks killer.

    My email

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  4. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Maybe it's me, but why do you want to wet sand, dry seems to work well if you have a lot different grits, and water does horrible things to the fibers and finish of the wood. I mean I understand after finish or a fretboard but raw wood that I don't get.
    I guess I'm not a wet sand convert yet, so please tell me why you think it's so great.

    In any case good luck on the project it looks great and the shaping of the transition is awesome!
  5. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I don't think it's so great at all, I just thought that was how things were done! It seems to be working well for the body (burl maple top and bubinga body), but the neck was a different story. I think I learned the hard way, as usual.
    However, after sanding back the neck with some 100 grit, most of the bleeding is going away. I'll be working on it more tonight.

    A lesson learned :meh:
  6. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Ah well I'm glad to know I haven't been missing anything. :) Especially with the back of the neck. Good Ol' 100 can fix amazing problems. :)
    It's just I hear so much about people talking wet sanding, including the back of my sandpaper. LOL
    That thing still looks sweet man, JSP. I can't imagine it did much damage trying anyway. Good luck and it just adds another layer of fun and uniqueness to the project.
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Fine grain dry sanding is good for bare wood. Wet is not good for that, but it can be good for thick sealed finishes. The reason why you would wet sand is to remove the granules you are sanding off and keep them in suspension. It also provides lubrication for sanding. Don't bother doing it on bare wood.
  8. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    dude, if your ebony crap is bleeding or whatever into your maple man just paint over it dude. paint over all that wood it looks dumb anyway who ever builds a wooden bass.

    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
    But seriously, what kind of finish are you planning for the neck? In my experience (limited to oil finishes) you are better off leaving the bare wood at about 220 - 300, then wet-sanding the finish. The wood will take the finish better if it isn't burnished by a lot of sanding.
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Wet sanding does not only refer to sanding with water. One can wet sand with oil with the higher (400+) grit sandpapers.

    I agree, no real reason to try to use water as a lubricant, unless you are working on a surface coating.
  10. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    :eek: :eyebrow: :rollno: :bawl: ;)

    Well, don't I feel a bit foolish? Yes.......
    I STOPPED with the wet sanding, and basically started re-sanding with the neck. Things look better.

    The wetsanding on the top actually seemed to help level it quite a bit, but then I also had a lot of leftover epoxy build up in most places from filling in all the little voids.

    However, I vow never to wet-sand bare wood again!:)
  11. One last thing - you shouldn't confuse "wet-sanding" with wetting the wood to raise the grain before sanding. That's a perfectly legitimate technique and works quite well.
  12. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    And when doing this, it's usually just a damp cloth, not soaking, right? Let us know how it comes out, JSP.
  13. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    I wouldn't take it for a swim, but a good swipe with and against the grain with a wet cloth - then let it dry. Then sand. Then do it again to be sure.

    If you're not dealing with specialty wood like burls, sanding raw wood beyond 220 or 320 can be considered overkill. You don't want to polish the wood; you want to polish the finish. So you should sand to a smooth level surface on the raw wood, then progressively sand to your desired luster with the finish applied.
  14. Greenman


    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    I use naptha gas. :bag: It evaporates quickly but still raises the little furry grain. Less furry grain/filler/sealer = deeper clear finish.
  15. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    My brother (who is a woodworker that works with exotic woods) told me not to do the final sanding on wood with anything finer than 150 grit paper if I intended to stain it (which would exclude wet sanding paper).

    He said using anything finer than that actually closes the pores of the wood to the point that stain doesn't absorb the way it should. He told me to try it on some scrap wood. Stain different pieces of wood that have been sanded with coarse, medium and fine paper respectively and see how the wood takes the stain. Then sand another piece as smooth as you can possibly get it, with as fine a paper (wet sanding)...and then stain it and see the results.

    I don't know...maybe I'm all wet. :D But he's been doing this for decades, and he knows his stuff. His work is absolutely gorgeous (thought he doesn't build instruments). He said all final wet sanding should be done after the stain/finish is applied.

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