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Raised Top Grain

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by basswraith, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. basswraith


    Mar 10, 2003
    I wanted to ask about raised top grain on the spruce of some fine instruments. I have noticed on some basses, Pollmans especially , that if you run your fingers over the top plate , one can feel the grain has been raised. You get that subtle bumpy feel to the top wood.
    How does one achieve that effect before varnishing the top?
    Does it involve wetting the spruce before scrapping?
    What kind of proceedure is involved?
  2. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    On a violin I'm making, I achieved this to an extent using a slightly dulled scraper. The scraper was sharp enough to shear off the hard, dark grain lines, but more-so compressed the soft, light sections. Also, over time the 'corduroy texture', as it's called, became more appartent on my top. Wetting the wood also makes this effect more apparent.
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    This is common with spruce, pretty much regardless of finish material. Over time, no matter how level the intial rubbed finish, the finish will "shrink back" and the grain will become more and more apparent in reflected light, and to the touch in some cases.
  4. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    I actually meant the unvarnished wood. The softer portions became alot more raised over time, until I re-scraped it to clean it prior to varnishing.
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That effect is nicely reproduced with a blunt scraper; glass is what I use, but a thick metal scraper would work to. Scrap the spruce, then wet the wood with water, let it dry, then >>very lightly<< sand the top with 400 grit. You just want to take off the fuzz that appears after raising the grain with water. (This particular style of scraping is just to raise the grain. All your arching should be finished by this point.)

    After this is all done, you are ready to apply ground and/or sealer coats.