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 Post subject: Grain Filler can be Over Rated
PostPosted: Sep Wed 05, 2018 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Aug Wed 26, 2015 9:41 pm
Posts: 1239
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I see quite a few posts about grain filler.
There are many occasions where it is simply not needed, unless you want something different from the factory finish.
Here are some photos of a Pilot 601. From the factory it had shellac. The soft part of the grain showed deeper.
I sanded off the shellac with 320 grit on an orbital (careful!),then rubbed it off with ethanol.
The atmosphere was heavy laden with moisture that day, so the shop A/C was employed.
Blooming was a major biggie with the fresh spit coat of shellac. Several re-wet coats with a damp alcohol brush eventually killed the boom.
A light 320 hand sand, then a coat of lacquer. The lacquer had a slight tendency to bloom in the first three coats.
The first lacquer coats were allowed to dry pretty good with a sanding with 320 between, A few more coats of lacquer with 0000 steel wool between.
After that, I pulled out the stops and re wet the lacquer (with a flash time) until the can was empty (Deft).
The result can not be seen in the photos, but after a day or two, the lacquer sucked up (I like gloss), and the soft grain shows.

Don't get me wrong. I use different techniques of grain filling (super glue is a favorite), but a good, authentic style finish, doesn't
necessarily depend on it.
601_top.jpg [ 26.9 KiB | Viewed 698 times ]
601_front.jpg [ 29.18 KiB | Viewed 698 times ]


 Post subject: Re: Grain Filler can be Over Rated
PostPosted: Sep Thu 06, 2018 1:54 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 10776
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
Unless there were physical scratches or marks on the original, there would be no need to do any sanding on the cabinet. Shellac is easy to remove with alcohol. It's quick and clean to do it that way.

 Post subject: Re: Grain Filler can be Over Rated
PostPosted: Sep Thu 06, 2018 8:22 am 

Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 489
It does look good. Deft is my favorite lacquer. Your finish coat method is great.

Usually, most of the filler is under the shellac finish, although shellac itself can be used as a filler when you don't want to highlight the grain. Shellac is easily removed with alcohol, or by light sanding. If done carefully, most of the filler remains, so a few coats of lacquer should restore the original look.

I agree that removing the shellac is unnecessary unless the finish is damaged, which it may well be after many decades. Sometimes a quick french polishing will restore a shellac topcoat. If the topcoat is lacquer, though, it really only has a life of 15 or 20 years unless well cared for.

For many woods, I like the darkened grain effect, but that is completely up to personal taste. A darkened grain can be done with colored filler, shellac then finish, but for some woods the effect is better with shellac, colored filler, and finish coat. This reduces the risk of mottling the surface.

Using a shellac seal coat followed by any clear filler followed by a clear finish is common. The old method of using pumice actually tears wood fiber off the surface and deposits it in the pores. This method is similar to applying a final finish by french polishing, as it uses a menuca (rag doll literally, but a pad) a small amount of shellac. In theory, it results in uniform color.


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