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I know this question has been asked before but I continue to struggle with filling pores on open grain woods. Specifically, Walnut, Purpleheart and Mahogany. The closest that I have come to acceptable is to put down a base of dilute Sealcoat. Then three coats of Crystalac, a water base grain filler that dries clear, and sanding between coats. Then multiple coats of wipe on Poly. As I said, it’s a lot better than nothing but still isn’t completely smooth.

I watched a number of YouTube videos then searched on Amazon for “wood grain filler”. Although there were a lot of products listed few had high customer ratings. Even the ones touted in the videos received low customer grades. I’ve even tried multiple topcoats and sanding back until the surface was smooth. Since it was Poly, that didn’t go well either as I ended up sanding through the coats and creating rings.

I know that I’ve got to be missing something. Has anyone had good success with any product? If so, exactly how did you use it? As always, I appreciate any help you can give me. I really need it as my frustration level soars when I mess up a nice piece because I don't know how to finish it correctly.
 

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I know this question has been asked before but I continue to struggle with filling pores on open grain woods. Specifically, Walnut, Purpleheart and Mahogany. The closest that I have come to acceptable is to put down a base of dilute Sealcoat. Then three coats of Crystalac, a water base grain filler that dries clear, and sanding between coats. Then multiple coats of wipe on Poly. As I said, it’s a lot better than nothing but still isn’t completely smooth.

I watched a number of YouTube videos then searched on Amazon for “wood grain filler”. Although there were a lot of products listed few had high customer ratings. Even the ones touted in the videos received low customer grades. I’ve even tried multiple topcoats and sanding back until the surface was smooth. Since it was Poly, that didn’t go well either as I ended up sanding through the coats and creating rings.

I know that I’ve got to be missing something. Has anyone had good success with any product? If so, exactly how did you use it? As always, I appreciate any help you can give me. I really need it as my frustration level soars when I mess up a nice piece because I don't know how to finish it correctly.
are you confusing wood grain/pore filler w/ wood filler???

Using grain/pore filler...

I like and have gotten very good results w/ Behlen or Mohawk...
 
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I'm probably alone on this(?) but I do the grain filling first, before staining and sealing. That's certainly how the hardwood floor finishing guys do it.
It's been awhile but I think they use a stain & filler combined product.
https://www.mohawk-finishing.com/products/wood-touch-up-repair/fillers/grain-filler-solvent/
That is how I learned how to do it years ago,apply the filler first then the stain. then Shellac, then Varnish.
@Barry747 have you tried the MicroMesh System on the ROS? I put on filler,shellac,and 4 coats of urethane, let dry 4-5 days and then go thru all 9 discs and it looks like a Porche fender. The reason to wait for it to dry is so that heat doesn't soften the finish. Use all 9 discs in succession.

HErb

https://finderscheapers.com/Search....&anwrk=2&aid=BPART96bbfc44fb3990e2c2e6df62dfa
 

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Found a good filler I use all the time. From Australia, it's called Timber Mate, and is available on Amazon to match a wide variety of wood. Lays in beautifully, fills even the tiniest cracks, sands well and you can't teel it from the wood when finished. High ratings on Amazon too. I have used the Cherry more than any other color but the other two I've used are just as good. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=timber+m...efix=Timber+mate,aps,222&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_3_11
 

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Found a good filler I use all the time. From Australia, it's called Timber Mate, and is available on Amazon to match a wide variety of wood. Lays in beautifully, fills even the tiniest cracks, sands well and you can't teel it from the wood when finished. High ratings on Amazon too. I have used the Cherry more than any other color but the other two I've used are just as good. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=timber+m...efix=Timber+mate,aps,222&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_3_11
This product was recommended at a local guild meeting recently. It comes as a variety of colored pastes that can be diluted as needed to fill pores. A sealer would be needed wherever it doesn’t remain. The trend toward water based finishes is accelerating and I am using more of it lately. Just $7.50 at Wooodcraft...
 

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Barry, just do a search for 'acoustic guitar filling pores' and you'll see many ways it's done to get the finish you see on guitars.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. You've given me some ideas.

Stick, I'm not confusing the two. I'm looking for pore/grain filler for the open grain woods I work with. These small projects, from jewelry boxes to small night tables don't have holes, cracks, scratches or dents that I have to fill. They usually occur after I"m done.

I tried to find the Behlen water based grain filler but I couldn't find anyone currently carrying it. I sent an e-mail to Mohawk to see if it's been discontinued and if Mohawk has a similar product. I really don't want to use a solvent based product. I'll see what they recommend.

I then looked at Timbermate. It looked good but it seems to only come in colors. I sent them an email if the natural would show in the woods that I work with. I'm currently working on a box with purpleheart. I wouldn't want a bunch of tiny white dots all over it. I'll see how they respond.

Herb, I purchased a small set of micromesh a couple of years ago. They were small pieces but had all of the grits. I used it when I had to repair a name plaque for one of my grandchildren. Due to the break I had to refinish the whole plaque, one of the downsides of poly, but once it was dry I polished it out with the micromesh. The end result was that the piece came out shinier than my car. My daughter and grandson loved it. My issue is that I usually finish my pieces with either satin or semigloss. I'd use it again in a heartbeat if i was going for a gloss finish.

David, thanks for the suggestion to search YouTube videos. There are a number of them and I'll start watching them later today.

Any info I find out about Behlan and Timbermate I'll pass along.

Again, thanks for your help.
 

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Thanks guys. You've given me some ideas.

Stick, I'm not confusing the two. I'm looking for pore/grain filler for the open grain woods I work with. These small projects, from jewelry boxes to small night tables don't have holes, cracks, scratches or dents that I have to fill. They usually occur after I"m done.

I tried to find the Behlen water based grain filler but I couldn't find anyone currently carrying it. I sent an e-mail to Mohawk to see if it's been discontinued and if Mohawk has a similar product. I really don't want to use a solvent based product. I'll see what they recommend.

I then looked at Timbermate. It looked good but it seems to only come in colors. I sent them an email if the natural would show in the woods that I work with. I'm currently working on a box with purpleheart. I wouldn't want a bunch of tiny white dots all over it. I'll see how they respond.

Herb, I purchased a small set of micromesh a couple of years ago. They were small pieces but had all of the grits. I used it when I had to repair a name plaque for one of my grandchildren. Due to the break I had to refinish the whole plaque, one of the downsides of poly, but once it was dry I polished it out with the micromesh. The end result was that the piece came out shinier than my car. My daughter and grandson loved it. My issue is that I usually finish my pieces with either satin or semigloss. I'd use it again in a heartbeat if i was going for a gloss finish.

David, thanks for the suggestion to search YouTube videos. There are a number of them and I'll start watching them later today.

Any info I find out about Behlan and Timbermate I'll pass along.

Again, thanks for your help.
According to the locals at Woodcraft, you can dye the neutral TimberMate (and likely other water base fillers) to match a wood color. (Gets involved but perfect results are always more trouble once you won’t compromise...)
 

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That is how I learned how to do it years ago,apply the filler first then the stain. then Shellac, then Varnish.

@Barry747 have you tried the MicroMesh System on the ROS? I put on filler,shellac,and 4 coats of urethane, let dry 4-5 days and then go thru all 9 discs and it looks like a Porche fender. The reason to wait for it to dry is so that heat doesn't soften the finish. Use all 9 discs in succession.

HErb

https://finderscheapers.com/Search....&anwrk=2&aid=BPART96bbfc44fb3990e2c2e6df62dfa
I purchased a full set of the MicroMesh 8-hole ROS pads on eBay ($26 shipped) yesterday - will be curious to see how much it improves finishing, et al. Thanks for the reference...
 

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Hardwood finishers use dust from their floor sanders- the finest dust usually is from the edge sanders- and cut it with enough lacquer thinner for it to smoothly flow and spread it with a metal or hard plastic blade with a swirling type motion to work the goop into the grain from all angles. It is easy to see if you missed a spot. Wear a doo rag so sweat does not drip on your project. You may be able to use other solvents but will need to dry quickly and not swell the wood so not sure that anything but lacquer thinner or equivalent will work hence you might need a respirator....
With a bit of practice you can do a rather clean job like this and a easy wipe down to prep for a coat of finish.
By the way use the dust from sanding the wood you are sealing for a perfect match.
 

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Laughing dog nailed it with purpleheart or any other exotic color wood. Note that Purpleheard often turns brown over time. I'd like to see the finished result. I do love purple heart and often use it for splines, even with the color change. Sealing nelps.

BTW, welcome to the Forum @Laughingdog, whoever you are. Take a moment and fill in the first name on your profile, I don't like calling anyone a dog, even if it is a happy one.
 
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