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Pores in big leaf maple

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Pores in big leaf maple

Postby John Clifford » Thu May 31, 2018 5:14 pm

I used curly big leaf maple for the back of my last archtop. It worked out pretty well, except that I was surprised to find there were a lot of small pores that just never completely filled with my french polish shellac finish. I haven't had that problem with hard maple, and had been under the impression that pore filling would not be needed on big leaf either. Apparently I was wrong. I'd like to know what others have experienced with this wood.
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:38 am

If it was "quilt" figured you may be dealing with end grain.
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Brian Evans » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:36 pm

Archtop guitars always have end grain on the slopes of the arch, and particularly in the recurve, where the slope changes from down to up in a very short distance. I really notice it when trying to get that final sand before finish on. That said, I've never done a french polish so I don't know how it would fill pores. My next go at finishing I'm going to try spraying several coats of finish, letting it dry and sanding it back, the idea being to stabilize the grain and give the pores a chance to start to fill.
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Randolph Rhett » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:44 pm

Did you pumice fill the maple? I know that the pumice is the abrasive and that the "fill" is actually fine saw dust created by the sanding action, but my question is did you do that traditional pore fill step? I ask because I have been told by students very certain of themselves that it is not necessary, but I find it is on carved figured maple.
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby John Clifford » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:47 pm

Randolph Rhett wrote:Did you pumice fill the maple? I know that the pumice is the abrasive and that the "fill" is actually fine saw dust created by the sanding action, but my question is did you do that traditional pore fill step? I ask because I have been told by students very certain of themselves that it is not necessary, but I find it is on carved figured maple.


No, I didn't. I've never needed to do that with curly hard (sugar) maple, and assumed incorrectly that big leaf maple would be the same. By the time I realized the pores were never going to fill, I had too much finish on it to use pumice. Oh well, no big deal. It still looks great.

Thanks.
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Bryan Bear » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:22 pm

Is there ever really a point where there is too much finish down to use pumice? That sounds sarcastic but it is a real question. I've never tried it but wouldn't it still create a slurry of softened shellac and abraded harder shellac rather than wood?
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Mario Proulx » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:13 pm

Give it a light scuffing with new, sharp 220 grit, and don't wipe away the dust..! Now, hit it with another FP session. Repeat(if necessary) until all is filled...
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby John Clifford » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:40 pm

Bryan, all I know is that pumice hasn't worked for me after the finish has started to build. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong.

Mario, thanks for the idea. I might try it next time. I take it you've done this successfully?
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Re: Pores in big leaf maple

Postby Mario Proulx » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:42 pm

Yes, it was my default pore filling method for nearly a decade.
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