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Sanding sealer for Tele build - what to use?

jrw32

Member
Messages
727
I'm working on my 1st Tele build (alder), & looking to get a sanding sealer to raise the grain/make the stain nice & smooth. What do you recommend (preferably something I can pick up at a Home Depot or Lowe's)? Also, I've heard different things about applying it...is it best to apply before or after staining the guitar? Thanks in advance, I appreciate it!
 

jrw32

Member
Messages
727
...real answer "depends" upon whether you're going for "natural wood" and grain showing or going to use a "solid color" final finish.
Going for a "natural wood" stain, probably walnut, amber, or natural with grain showing. Thanks!
 

Keyser Soze

Member
Messages
1,472
Stain is usually applied prior to sealing. but this may just be a matter of semantics, color that is applied after sealing is usually referred to as a toner.

In general for the purposes of grain raising you should use whatever solvent is present in the stain, apply to raise the grain, then sand smooth when dry.

Sealer choice is usually limited by your choice of topcoat, ie. you can use just about anything as long as it is compatible with your topcoat. when in doubt check with the manufacturer.

If you are planning on applying stain directly to the wood I'd strongly suggest you re-consider, particularly if you do not have a lot of experience working with alder. Alder stains poorly. It blotches randomly while the end grain is guaranteed to suck up twice as much coloration as any other aspect.

The two ways to finish alder are solid paint, or if a transparent finish is desired use a sprayed on tinted clear coat/toner after sealing. If this is what you intend then my suggestion would be clear shellac diluted 50/50 with alcohol.
 

Chris Scott

Member
Messages
9,260
Stain is usually applied prior to sealing. but this may just be a matter of semantics, color that is applied after sealing is usually referred to as a toner.

In general for the purposes of grain raising you should use whatever solvent is present in the stain, apply to raise the grain, then sand smooth when dry.

Sealer choice is usually limited by your choice of topcoat, ie. you can use just about anything as long as it is compatible with your topcoat. when in doubt check with the manufacturer.

If you are planning on applying stain directly to the wood I'd strongly suggest you re-consider, particularly if you do not have a lot of experience working with alder. Alder stains poorly. It blotches randomly while the end grain is guaranteed to suck up twice as much coloration as any other aspect.

The two ways to finish alder are solid paint, or if a transparent finish is desired use a sprayed on tinted clear coat/toner after sealing. If this is what you intend then my suggestion would be clear shellac diluted 50/50 with alcohol.
Yup - what he said.

Alder always (at least around here) gets tinted too...
 

j2b4o

Member
Messages
2,860
If you shellac or seal the wood prior to staining the wood will not bloch and the stain will go on very evenly but it won't be nearly as dark as staining without sealer.
Best idea is to make sample pieces out of the cut off pieces after you cut the body shape out. Try different seal(shellac) stain and finish combos till you find one your happy with. The finer you sand the less it will blotch also.
 
Messages
23,961
This is just lots and lots of shellac, with layers sanded smooth again and again, and spray lacquer (clear, rattle can) the same way.

Now, I apply tinted Bartley's grain filler, because I now accept that even "close grained" wood has some grain pores, some divots in the surface, however small. Two courses of that are followed by Minwax Tung Oil Finish. The process is many many times faster and you can apply whatever toner over it you like.



Alder is usual considered paint grade. One of the very hardest things to achieve is a cool looking toned 2-3-4 piece alder body. The matched portions just don't convince the eye the way matched ash, mahogany or maple do. And, if they match on the front, they don't match on the back. However, bursts can address this shortcoming.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,439
Sherwin Williams makes the Pro-Mar sanding sealer. It has a nice fill rate and sands very easily. Only in gal cans though.
 

jrw32

Member
Messages
727
Thanks much for all the information everyone, it's VERY helpful. I won't actually get to it for another week or so, but I'll try to update everyone on the results!
 

Quarter

Member
Messages
1,594
You can get Zinsser Seal Coat shellac at most big retailers and make a pre conditioner by thinning it out with some denatured alcohol. Shellac is one of the very best and most compatible sealers and Seal Coat is the only pre mixed canned shellac I would recommend. The other stuff has lots of additives and modifiers to increase shelf life and never will dry / cure very hard.
 

brewhound

Member
Messages
80
:agree on the Zinsser seal coat. Lot's of uses for this product, plus you can add a dye directly to it for a tinted seal coat.
 






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