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Thread: Help please ...Need to clarify a few things Iím unsure of

  1. #1

    Help please ...Need to clarify a few things Iím unsure of

    Hi, apologies if this has been asked and answered before but thereís a few things Iím unsure of before I start my first build . I have ordered an ES-1f which I intend to stain cherry red with colourtone and finish with tru-oil.

    Ive been watching plenty of you tube stuff and also going through the forum , there are a couple of things im not clear on Ė specifically relating to the guitars with a veneered front ;

    Obviously sanding is extremely important to get a killer finish but given the veneer is so thin im getting the impression that you donít sand the veneer at all ? or very lightly-if so what grade ? and;
    Residual glue from the veneer can effect the colour take-up so you clean that with Goof off or acetone?
    Do you apply sanding sealer before colour ?
    You sand the veneer very lightly between colour applications just to keep it super flat- 600?
    The back and sides (solid timber) get the full sanding treatment right down to 600 + , but the whole body gets ultra fine wet rubs between the truoil coats starting from when a thick enough layer of true oil is built up (say 3 or 4 thin coats) so you can get it flat but not rub through.

    Hopefully im on the right track?

  2. #2
    Mentor DarkMark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Perth, WA
    Hi and welcome.
    I have only done hollow bodies with veneers. A light rub with 240 grit paper with a flexible piece of rubber for a sanding block is about all the preparation Iíve done before staining. The sanding, sanding, sanding mantra seems to me to apply to the solid body kits. Wiser folk than me recommend NOT sanding with finer git paper prior to staining as the surface becomes too smooth for stain absorption (I take their word for it as it comes from various reliable sources).
    Acetone and Goof Off have been used many a time around here to remove glue spots, just donít unglue your veneer in the process.
    I donít sand between stain coats, some people do (Iíve only used alcohol solvent die),
    3 or 4 thin tru oil coats will not be enough before sanding. The first couple will soak into the wood to begin with. I would be thinking of at least doubling the number of coats.
    Hope there is something here to help you and we look forward to see your progress.

    Edit: never used sanding sealer, sorry canít advise.

  3. Liked by: GavinPinksterboer

  4. #3
    Thanks Darkmark appreciate the reply.

    Iíve ordered 3 different kits waiting for the first one to arrive so I can get into it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Maple also being a closed-grain wood doesn't need much sanding. If you use water to stain, my experience is between each coat, just use 0000 steel wool to knock down the grain. When I did my Starcaster I didn't use anything but 0000 once I started using the wipe on poly. you could also use 600 grit.

    A tip is, sand with the grain, which on a maple veneer or cap guitar, across the body.

  6. #5
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Dacious View Post
    A tip is, sand with the grain, which on a maple veneer or cap guitar, across the body.
    It depends what you mean by 'across the body', as that can mean different things to different people. The actual grain runs in the same orientation as the neck. If you have flame maple figuring, then that actually runs across the grain, and will normally be orientated from top to bottom i.e. at 90į to the neck. So you should still really sand in the direction of the grain, not the figuring.

    But really, the veneer doesn't need any sanding to start with. Yes, check for glue spots,and use a suitable solvent to remove any. In the middle along the veneer join and around the edges by the binding are the typical locations, but an occasional glue-covered hand in the factory can leave random spots, so check all over the top using turps or metho. Any light spots are where the glue stops the wood taking up the liquid (and will do the same for stain). You can use water, but it will raise the grain, and whilst it's good to do that once (and lightly sand off the loose grain), you don't want to keep doing it with veneer.

    If you are doing a dark colour first to accent.'pop' any figuring, then you'll need to sand back to expose some unstained veneer again. But be very gentle as the veneer is only 0.5-0.6mm thick. P400 or higher for sanding, and then lightly rough the surface with P240. then add the main stain. If water-based this will raise ant remaining loose grain, so just do a 'drag sand' with P400 to pull those loose fibres away. Then you're ready to apply finish to the veneer.

    Don't sand too often with TruOil as each layer is very thin and you're likely to remove more finish than you've applied if not careful. As Dacious has said, the first few coats will simply sink into the veneer. I'd be tempted to apply 10 coats or so before doing any sanding. It's heartbreaking to sand through the TruOil and take finish off the veneer, as it's really hard to touch up once it's got TruOil on. But use your eyes and some common sense and if it's not sinking in much then maybe do the first sand a couple of coats sooner. If you aren't going for a natural/satin look and want it smooth and glossy, the whole idea is to build up enough layers so you can sand the finish flat and smooth and then polish it. Almost all finishes will simply follow the contours of the wood, so it won't get smoother as you add more layers. So you've got the options of either trying to sand it flatter every few applications, or just lightly sand occasionally to remove obvious hairs or dust particles and do the bulk of the sanding work after 30-40 applications or so. But there is far more sand-through risk with the first method, especially on a guitar with a curved top like the ES-1. It's very easy to sand through on the top of the small convex curves (having done it myself).

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Northumberland UK
    Just to add to Simon's comments above.
    Industry standard for veneer is 0.6mm.
    China variants could well be less and certainly not more.
    Also, the guitar body is sanded before it leaves the factory and the veneer could be much less than 0.6mm in places so be very careful or as Simon says, do not sand at all.
    Once you know you have sanded too far it is too late.


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