Monday, October 1, 2012

Staining Finished, Time to Fill the Grain

Finished staining the cabinet.
Very happy with the color. The next step is to fill the grain.  Filling the grain allows the final lacquer finish to go on smooth without sinking into the pores of the wood. Mahogany is very porous and if the grain is not filled, you may not be able to rub out (wet sand) the finish perfectly flat, critical to a high gloss finish.
Here I'm preparing & mixing the filler to a color that will be darker than the stain color. If the color is too light, it would not look good at all. Even though the filler dries lighter, it will darken when final finish is applied. It took some experimenting to get the color just right. Not too dark, not too light.
After staining, I apply a coat of lacquer sanding sealer to lock in the color. This way, I can fill the grain without changing the color of the wood. The filler only remains in the pores and gets wiped off the surface.  In this pic, I'm "shaving" the sealer coat, removing any fuzz or lint stuck in the lacquer. I take a flat razor blade and very lightly scrape the surface. Careful not to gouge or scratch the sealer. Works very well for removing anything stuck in the sealer.

Next step is to brush on the filler, using the brush to work it into the pores.

Once I've worked in the filler, I remove the excess with a squeegee. Once the excess is removed, I wait a few more minutes to let the filler haze over (similar to waxing a car) then wipe off the haze with a paper towel. Some people use a cloth or burlap to remove the haze but I feel that I will leave more filler in the pores and not pull it out using a cloth. I hope my technique pays off. Still learning as I go. 

This is what the filler looks like in the pores of the wood. It looks light now but the finish will soak in and darken it just enough to blend into the color and look natural.