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Pablo Cuevas

Finishing a spruce top

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2 minutes ago, with_joerg said:

How do you _only_ wet it? I mean, I believe there is a lot that can go wrong. I.e. I could accidentally soak it :-(

Dampen a lint free cloth and wring it out well so it is just barely damp. Wipe the surfaces to be scraped, let dry completely, and scrape.

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36 minutes ago, with_joerg said:

How do you _only_ wet it? I mean, I believe there is a lot that can go wrong. I.e. I could accidentally soak it :-(

Just to add to your confusion.  I wipe down the whole fiddle with a well used linen cloth dampened with boiling water (or as hot as you can tolerate) just before starting my varnish process.  This is to both clean the surface and raise the grain.  The hot water rapidly evaporates.  I leave the grain raised because I like the texture.

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Damping wood and then sanding is a time honored finishing technique. I was taught to repeat the process three times. Nothing difficult or tricky about it, as long as you're not dunking the corpus straight into water. The key word in Jim's technique is "damped." I like his idea of leaving the grain as is, after the quick evaporation of the hot water, for the textural effect.

 

 

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2 hours ago, with_joerg said:

Does not sound like a procedure suitable for beginners :D

 

I quick wipe down with a damp (not dripping) cloth with hot water will be the easiest part of varnishing.  After all the scraping, "sanding" (abrasive smoothing), and possibly burnishing, the grain raising will not be dramatic and you can knock it down if you don't like it.  What the raised grain provides with the spruce are little hills and valleys.  More varnish accumulates in the valleys and makes the top more interesting IMO.  The best thing for you to do is find one complete finishing system and follow it without "improvements".  After your first fiddle you can start making small changes to steer your end product to your taste.

 top_final_polish.thumb.jpg.5d136f0b9f76c643bd4226ecc12c793a.jpg

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14 hours ago, ChrisBurt said:

Damping wood and then sanding is a time honored finishing technique. I was taught to repeat the process three times. Nothing difficult or tricky about it, as long as you're not dunking the corpus straight into water. The key word in Jim's technique is "damped." I like his idea of leaving the grain as is, after the quick evaporation of the hot water, for the textural effect.

 

 

Yes, if you want it really smooth raising the grain three times is how to do it.

If you want a textured corduroy effect then scraping with firm even pressure will leave the soft grain swelling back up and give a rounded corderoy which if you want more regular you can then flatten off the tops of the raised grain with fine sand paper on a block.

Will Whedbee is the best I have ever seen at this. If you look at  his tops the soft grain is absolutely smooth and even with the hard grain uniformly below the soft.

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Damping and scraping gives a good compromise of texture and smoothness if the scraper is sharp. If you want to sand, a large eraser makes a good block to wrap sandpaper around. Careful with edges and corners though. 

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On 4/7/2019 at 2:26 PM, with_joerg said:

IHowever, for my spruce top I always get these few patches where -- no matter what you do -- the grain seems to have been rubbed in the wrong direction. 

If I remember right horsetail can help those areas most of the time.  But I think the dark patches come back after the varnish is applied.   I use a minwax product made for pre-treatment of soft wood before the finish is applied - sometimes thats helps and other times not. 

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