Clear Finish on Rosewood?

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Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:39 am

I found a beautiful piece of rosewood at my local store. I am not certain of the nationality of the wood but I should be able to find out, as this is a reputable store, and it is rosewood bound by all the CITES rules.
I am assuming Honduran, but it could be Indian also.

Regardless, I'm using it for the top of an electric guitar and I want to do a clear finish on it. I have done some research on this topic, but the information is all over the place.
Some say simply use a poly finish, others say do not use an oil base, others say different things.

So, I am here at the place where I get reliable info, asking about others experience.

I use strictly water-based lacquers, so that must be factored into the equation also.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Bob Gramann » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:10 am

On rosewood, I usually pad on two coats of shellac, then pore fill, then another coat of shellac. I use Target EM6000, a water-based lacquer, 10-12 coats, levelled about halfway through, after that.
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:03 pm

What do you use for a filler Bob?
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Bob Gramann » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:16 pm

It depends on my whim of the day. Most often, I use pumice and alcohol in the traditional french polishing method. I have used oil-based paste filler, the Aqua Coat from LMI, and Timbermate (Ihave also tried CA glue and epoxy exactly once each—never again). All work. None fill totally on the first coat. The pumice and alcohol (it picks up shellac from the previous coats to hold the pumice in the pores) doesn’t require sanding back, so I most often go with that. But, when I consider how much work it is, I try one of the others before I go back to the pumice on the next instrument.
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:04 pm

Oil based filler works good. So does epoxy. Lots of options.
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby David King » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:48 pm

A harder alternative would be Seagraves rosewood sealer and Seagraves or equivalent polyester. That's been the factory finish for decades but it's going to require a spray booth and a good organic volatiles filter mask or supplied air respirator.

Oil finishes directly on oily rosewoods like cocobolo are potentially a disaster because the wood's oil can interfere with the finish's drying chemistry (Japan dryers). Less oily rosewoods seem to go fine.
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:14 pm

I went to the aforementioned store and found that the wood is indeed Brazilian Rosewood.
It is marketed as Santos Rosewood.

It is very dense and hard.
There was a piece in the showroom that is to be used as a fireplace mantle. About 4 inches thick x 9 inches wide x 5 ft long.
They had sanded and buffed the wood without any fillers, and is shone like it had finish.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Bill Raymond » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:31 am

Santos Rosewood is not Brazilian Rosewood; it's another name for Pau Ferro which is not a true Rosewood (Dalbergia genus) and would not be listed under CITES.
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:50 am

The dust of that wood is absolutely dangerous, poison to me and to many others here. if I get it on my skin I get a nasty rash, if I breathe it in I have a terrible reaction. Take precautions.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:01 am

Thanks for the warning Mark. I will indeed take precautions.
Yes. After dojng some more reading, I agree that it is Pau Ferro.

Does that change anything regarding my original post?
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:11 am

Pau ferro finishes like a dream. It is fairly close grained so requires little to no pore filling. It is not particularly oily when compared to true rosewoods. As others have stated some people have an allergic reaction to the dust, so limit your exposure to it. Since people call it "rosewood" and it grows in Brazil some erroneously call it Brazilian rosewood. It is used for fingerboards by some manufacturers .
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Re: Clear Finish on Rosewood?

Postby David King » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:36 pm

Pau-Ferro/Morado finishes just fine with any regime. Don't sand past 220-320 once all the scratches are gone.
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