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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have this guitar body I’d like to finish. It’s a very thin burl veneer on ash.

Eventually I’d like a glossy wipe on poly finish; but I’m wondering about grain fill and something thing to give it a slightly warmer colour.

What would you experts recommend?

Many thanks,
Jon

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I would be more worried about the voids in the veneer. A gloss finish will show every defect. You might stain the wood the color you like and when dry fill the voids with a clear epoxy. This would retain the wood's appearance. Another option would be to use ash putty on spots there the wood is light and walnut putty on the dark spots. Then lightly sand the wood and stain and finish it. If then you find missed spots when you are finishing you can dab some poly on those spots with a small artist brush or use an eyedropper. The poly will fill the voids but may take a couple applications to get it level.

If you have compressed air rather than using a wipe on finish you might consider purchasing a paint sprayer. A twenty five dollar sprayer from harbor freight will spray wood finishes just fine. It's just that a gloss finish shows everything and regardless of how you do it the application marks in a gloss finish are going to show. You would have to make the finish a little thicker and do a lot of wet sanding and polishing to make the finish look right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice guys.

I was also more worried about the voids. I’ll check out the ash ash and walnut putty you recommend @Steve Neul.

I was also considering filling them with epoxy to flatten the surface before doing a poly coat.

I am tempted by a satin finish @firehawkmph but was worried the fragil burl veneer might want a bit more protection, hence the wipe on poly.

I have this neck, so was thinking about a Carmel or burnt butter type colour. Any recommendations?

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was wondering about colouring with oil (danish or tong) as opposed to a stain. Would that be an option? Could I still fill and poly after, or would I need to use a more Niro approach after the oil?

This is all very new to me to please excuse any naivety here.
 

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You have to be careful using a Danish oil finish for stain. Some of them contain a finishing wax which would prevent a film finish from adhering. Anyway a Danish oil finish isn't going to do anything for color you couldn't do with just a plain oil based wood stain. Linseed oil or tung oil isn't going to give very much color and most brands of poly contain linseed oil anyway so that wouldn't help the cause.

Once you put poly on the wood then your only option would be to use the poly finish as a filler. I wouldn't put a epoxy filler between the coats of finish. You could though use an epoxy filler after the stain and before the poly. It would be just difficult to level it because you couldn't sand it after the filler dried. You would have to fill the spots and wipe off the excess and perhaps fill several times before you could proceed with the poly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice Steve.

I think I will go with a stain for the colour then. Then some filler, and then the poly coat.

Where in this process should I apply grain filler?
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Where in this process should I apply grain filler?
On the bare wood to fill the pores. Dozens of videos on YT for pore/grain filling on guitars. All sorts of techniques at your disposal, too many to list here but just go to YT and put in 'pore fill guitar'.
 

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With the exception of the poly that's the way I've done it for years. Never used poly, only lacquer and Shellac but it's probably the same process before hand.

Edit - I should add that I rarely ever stain wood, like less than 1% of the time if I were to venture a guess. I prefer the wood's natural beauty and coloring.
 

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Thanks for the advice Steve.

I think I will go with a stain for the colour then. Then some filler, and then the poly coat.

Where in this process should I apply grain filler?
It would depend on the grain filler. If you used a natural grain filler, that should be done first. It's more like an ash wood putty that would accept the stain. The clear grain filler would seal the wood inhibiting your ability to stain so for that one the stain should be first.
 

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If I were you, I would find some means of experimenting with the procedure you are going to follow. here is why: your main stain will be one color. When you add a 'wood grain filler' (which is NOT the same as a wood filler), the pores in the wood now have the color of the filler. When you have any other color on the bulk of the wood, the two colors visually blend in your brain to be perceived as a 3rd color as a whole. Let me try to explain it easier. In the 1930's great depression, manufacturers were trying to use up any wood they had and buy as little new wood as possible. They would typically use a black wood grain filler. then sand the surface to remove any traces of the filler on the surface and only leave the filler in the pores. Then, they would spray a red dye on the entire surface and then clear coat (or slightly tint).
This created a mahogany look to the furniture. Your brain/eye combined the black filler with the red dye to see the overall mahogany color. I think just about any refinisher could verify this after stripping the older pieces of furniture. Anyway, this is just a long winded way of saying experiment with the dye stains and wood filler to see what you end up with.
Using grain filler is not complicated, you just have to follow a certain procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks @Tony B, I see your point. I’ve seen some really creative versions of this, with folk adding copper powder to their grain filler to get little metallic flecks the final finish.

I was going to go for a natural finish gain filler, but I presume it will still impart some colour.

Will start with the back of the body and see how it all goes.

Thanks again for the advice all. I’ll post some pictures as I go.

Jon
 

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Dishware Ingredient Cuisine Dish Wood

That’s going to be a nice looking Tele!

As the other guys have said, you’ve got to fill the pits. Dramatic effects can be had by applying a coat of dye, then sanding back a bit and then applying a contrasting coat of dye. The colors can be natural or wild and the contrast can be subtle or intense.

I wouldn’t use epoxy to fill the pits in this case, because it will affect the wood’s ability to absorb dye if you go that route.

Look at PRS guitars to get some inspiration.

Here’s a banjo I did using that method. It’s not burl, but you get the idea. (Sorry for the brag, but I’m proud of it!
 

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Oh wow @Quickstep , that’s an amazing piece. If I can get mine half as nice as this I will be happy.

I see what you mean about the epoxie. What product would you advise for filling the voids instead?

When you say you used die, why type did use? Is the process similar to apply a stain? The colour you have is similar to where is imagine the Tele going.

Many Thanks

Jon
 

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@LongJonLeBon

I also read somwhere about ‘raising the grain’.
Unless I missed it, I don't think anyone commented on this. I assume this is referring to what happens when water comes into contact with wood, not about some way to bring out the beauty in the wood and grain. If you aren't familiar with this, when water (whether just water or pretty much any liquid containing water, like a die or stain) comes in contact with wood it causes the fibers to swell. When the wood dries, fibers will stand up like whiskers and it will feel rough.

You would need to deal with this before applying a finish. I'm sure there are lots of posts on here talking about how to deal with it.
 

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Aqua coat is a good filler choice for the back. I’ve also had luck with timbermate. As mentioned once you decide what you’re after, remember there are tints to change the look. As for the burl veneer, if you’re leaving it natural, epoxy is good for the voids just remember you can’t sand too aggressively for fear of burning through that veneer, so a sanding sealer or a lacquer finish might be safest.
 

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As a general rule, maple doesn’t usually require a pore filler, but you definitely need to address those pits. I would use compressed air to get dust out of the pits and then selectively fill them using Timbermate in the color of your choice. I’d try to avoid getting too much filler in the surrounding area. You’ve got to be careful with sanding when using thin veneer.

I used TransTint dye on the banjo. I think for your Tele, I’d consider TransTint Brown Mahogany or Golden Brown for the first coat and Honey Amber or Vintage Maple for the second coat of dye. By the way, that second coat should just be a dusting. I think I sanded the first dye coat using 320 or 400 grit paper. The picture below is a sample piece I made using those dye combinations.it’s a little darker than the banjo and would look “proper” on a Tele. Of course, the ultimate decision is yours.

When I did that banjo, I used far more veneer making test pieces than was actually used in the banjo. Be aware you can completely torture yourself on this process.

If you use TransTint, the first coat will raise the grain a bit and since you’re be sanding after that, that part will be done and dusted.



Brown Rectangle Gold Wood Beige
 
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