Finishing Ash

I just built a TV cabinet with ash wood. It turned out great but I am having trouble getting the grain filled. I am using Bulls Eye sanding sealer. I don't want to do anything that will hide the grain of the wood. My final finish will be shellac. I have put on several coats of sealer sinding lightly with 220 grit. What am I doing wrong? Any help appreciated. Virgle
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Sanding sealer isn't the same as filler.
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wrote:

isn't sanding sealer shellac?
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Doug is right. Sanding sealer is just that, sealer. It isn't pore filler. IMOE, you have to put on something like 9+ mil of finish to be able to sand/polish out the pores in a highly tubular grain like ash or most nut woods.
Use a pore filler like pore-o-pack, or similar. It is finely ground crystalline material of some sort, as they all are. Some are quartzite, and some are silica based, but in the end they all do the same. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.
When the pores are filled, and sanded, start up with your shellac again. It will go on as smooth as the surface you left behind in your final sanding.
As far as sanding sealer goes, it is indeed dewaxed shellac. The waxy polymers that are part of the shellac mix are decanted off, or chemically removed to make sanding sealer. These waxy polymers are known to inhibit the adhesion of other finishes and can cause blotchiness, fisheyes, and all other types of problems. Hence their removal.
The trade off is that the sanding sealer is not as resistant to abrasion or water as regular "waxed" shellac, so it needs a top coat of something if the surface is to be used or handled.
If you going to fill the pores on your project at this point, I would suggest that you don't go with a water based pore filler. They take a while to dry, and the water component will almost certainly make your coats of shellac blush or water mark. Then of course, you will be tasked with sanding the new markings out as well.
Get a solvent based material and it should go right over your shellac with no problems. Some of the pore fillers use a naptha type solvent in them, so make sure you are wearing your mask when you apply it. The good news is that the solvent based fillers dry very fast, (to me they are easier to work with) and you can be finishing again in just a few hours.
Good luck!
Robert
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Thanks Robert for the help. I will folow your instructions. Virgle

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wrote:

that's really interesting and has health implications. silica based dust is REALLY bad to breathe.
btw: quartzite IS silica.
<snip>

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wrote:

OK, I'll bite.
Quartzite has components of silica, but true quartzite is a metamorphic rock composed of quartz sand and OTHER incidental components (such as iron, etc.) occurring during the process of creating this material. Due to these different components included in this rock, quartzite has very low refractive properties, therefore making it the less desirable for simple pore filling.
True silica sand (river sand, not beach sand) can be found as almost pure quartz from the process of erosion. Since it is a mineral (igneous), it can also be harvested and ground from crystalline beds. This results in superior reflectivity for the purposes of pore filling.
But as a point of interest if you are that far along in this, then you know that not all silica crystals are shaped the same, nor do the fracture the same in the grinding process. This is particularly apparent when comparing the quality of an end product that results in grinding silica/quartz to quartzite/other elements.
Different grinding methods in the making of powdered pore fillers result in different shaped crystals. Different sized and shaped crystals (NOT weighted difference) result in different reflectivity, which in turn affect the appearance of the finish.
I should have been more specific. Although I didn't say they were the same or different, I see your point. Essentially, they are the same formula, although created from a totally different process.
I didn't want to confuse the issue when looking for a filler due to the fact there are many different kinds out there, but they all work about the same.
Sometimes, less is more...
Robert
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I have yet to use a commercial grain filler. I have a can of Behlens in the shop that I thought I was going to use, but haven't yet. I have a couple of questions about them. I know that you can get and use colored fillers to accentuate or otherwise manipulate the grain, but what if you want to keep it natural, just smoothed. Do the non-colored (which I believe I bought) fillers end up clear? Do they add some sort of shading? Obviously some testing will give me the true result when I need to use it, but I have always been curious about this.
SteveP.
wrote:

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wrote:

Stir it well before using. It desegregates rapidly.

Colored pore fillers used to be used in furniture in the late 50s, through the 60s. You or your parents may have a piece of furniture with the black grain filled in a piece of some kind of fine nutwood, and you can see the differences in the grain and he pores. I have never seen a satisfactory shop application of colored pore fillers.

You finish will wind up the color of the top coat itself. I have only used pumice and Pore -o- Pac, and they don't impart any color. HOWEVER.... unless you are french polishing the pore filler in the wood (see John's excellent link in this thread) I would be extra careful about the application of the initial coat of the finish.
Some high solvent coatings like lacquers, conversion finishes and heavily thinned shellacs have been known to pull up some of the pore filler when applying with a brush or pad. First coat of any kind of spray finish doesn't seem to bother any of the fillers, leading me to believe it is the friction from application that pulls the pore filler up.
If you are going to top coat with varnish, polyurethane, etc., that don't have the high VOC carriers and solvents you should be fine.
If it were me, I would try this method:
Coat with sanding sealer first, then sand smooth. Not naked, but just smooth. Apply the pore filler. With the sanding sealer on the wood, it is more like spreading thin icing as the friction on the spreader goes away. After drying, sand until smooth. Don't over sand! Don't get to naked wood!
Apply another thin (quick!) coat of your sanding sealer to the wood. Don't go over your work. Apply your coat, then get off that area. If it goes on unevenly, plan on sanding the ridges off.
Let it dry over night. Sand smooth.
Apply your finish as normal. Should look great.
Report back here and let us know (with new thread!) how you did.
Robert
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Thanks for the response. When I have the opportunity to use it I will report back. However, I just started a new job after being unemployed for 6 months that has me getting up at 0200 and getting there at 0430. Today was the first day that I left before 1600. Hence why I didn't read your response until today.
SteveP.

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Congrats on the new job. Not the easiest thing to find these days.
wrote:

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Ain't that the truth. Now I have to hope that the relationship with the client hasn't been so soured by past oversight failures that I won't be looking again in 2 months. I'll know in 12 days.
SteveP.

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Virgle wrote:

Is there a reason you need to fill the pores? I use ash as a secondary wood for drawers and have been satisfied with a simple planing & scraping (or sanding if that's your preference) followed by danish oil and Watco Wipe-on Poly.
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You can use 4F pumice to fill the pores... I'm in the midst a project built of white oak and walnut and I filled the white oak grain with pumice (the walnut was filled with sanded in BLO). It took several applications of the pumice but it came out great and the fact that you already have shellac on the piece isn't a problem. See the grain filling page at http://www.milburnguitars.com/fpbannerframes.html
John
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On Mar 20, 6:26pm, "John Grossbohlin"
SNIP

John - what a great link! I have lots of notes and books with ideas and techniques for french polishing. That guy does it with the least fuss I think I have ever seen. And in his finishing, you can tell he is classically trained in finishing. Good stuff.
That one went in the bookmarks!
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Wow, no kiddin'! I bookmarked that one as well, but I also saved off the pages locally in case the website ever disappears...
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wrote:

That's a good idea.... I'm going to do that myself!
John
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wrote:
SNIP

John - what a great link! I have lots of notes and books with ideas and techniques for french polishing. That guy does it with the least fuss I think I have ever seen. And in his finishing, you can tell he is classically trained in finishing. Good stuff.
That one went in the bookmarks!
Robert
I was looking for a "get it done" approach and this site struck a cord with me. It's not that I don't have a couple hundred woodworking related books sitting on the shelf behind me, it's that they all seemed to be lacking something or made it seem way to complicated. Collectively they remind me of the "expert" hired guns they bring into my work place. ;~) This site covered it and well.
John
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>I just built a TV cabinet with ash wood. It turned out great but I am having

Trying to fill the grain!
Why not go for a natural open-grain finish?
Jeff
--
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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