Finishing a mahogany body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by sf audio, Jan 11, 2018.


  1. sf audio

    sf audio Member

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    Just got some cheap mahogany strat body off of ebay, just to put something together...the body is rough, I guess needs to be sanded before putting on primer? Should the wood be smooth before applying the primer? Sounds like a dumb question, but I better know before I start...:)
     
  2. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    You will need to grain fill it first. Use mahogany filler so it will not show up a light color in the grain.
     
  3. sf audio

    sf audio Member

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    OK, so wood filler, then sand it with what grit of sand paper? and then primer..
     
  4. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Not wood filler. Grain filler. There's a difference. Wood filler is too coarse. Won't work.

    Mahogany is notoriously grainy, so you may have to fill/sand (220 or 320 grit) twice or even three times, then start on your finish schedule.
     
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  5. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    Are you finishing it translucent or opaque? If it is translucent, the grain filler gives you a way to fill the pores in a color that compliments your finish plans. IF you are going for opaque, you can use a high build primer or sanding sealer which is compatible with your chosen finish paint. If you don't do "something" to mahogany, or ash for that matter, the open grain will suck up as much finish as you care to throw at it, before it will level. As the finish cures, the coats will continue to draw into the grain. Which is not pleasing unless you planned it to be that way.

    Wood filler I would attack methodically and slowly with 320. For sanding sealer or primer coats, you can build a few, maybe four coats, I would block sand it, with 180, then 220, get it leveled, nicely, put one more coat of the sealer on, then let the thing cure at least a week. Then block it again with 320 grit, carefully and thoroughly, then go for your finish color coats.
     
  6. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I'd do the vast majority of the sanding prior to the application of the grain filler.

    You can wet the piece of mahogany and get a rough idea of its finished color. Blend your grain filler so it is approximately the same hue, as this. If I'm going to err on mahogany, for a while I will err towards a little darker. Grain filler on mahogany that's a bit too light, well, I've gotten tired on that look.

    Mark is right, that a mahogany surface that looks pretty smooth, may continue to take up finish and leave pocks. Don't try to rush the grain filling phase.
     
  7. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    Don't use the body as a science project unless that's really all it is to you.
    Get a little piece of scrap Mahogany somewhere and perform all steps on that first.
    Only approach the real body when you know what's going to happen before it happens.
    Unless you happen to like fixing mistakes.
     
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  8. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Hehe! "A science project". Too funny, too true too often.
     
  9. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    Sand, Grain fill, level sand, sanding sealer, color coats, clear coats.
     

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