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CA filler and sealer
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blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I can't take credit for this idea , as Sylvan Wells was one of the first to use this and he lite a fire under me to try it.
I have to say that the results are outstanding. I did experiment a few times on headstock veneers and electric bodies first. I am in the process now of building a high end BRW Red spruce guitar. As most of use that have worked with BRW know , there are 2 kinds of Brazilian , that which is cracked and that , that is going to crack. So in light of the success of the initial try outs I have sealed and filled my latest build. What surprised me was the speed and how well this worked over any method I used in the past , and this is what I did.
I started with the back , using thin CA , and a paper towel. Do be careful as the paper towel will start the CA to activate and will get hot. I have 4 towels folded and ready. I just squirted CA in a swirl pattern on 1/2 of the back and wiped it with the grain . This took all of 10 seconds , then I stand away as the glue activates . I also throw the towel on the floor as the exothermic thermic reaction gets pretty hot. In a few minutes I did the other side. Keep in mind you need to have good ventilation.
After just a few minutes I sanded with 220 grit. The back was filled very well and sealed. The sides I did holding it so I could work smaller areas and have the CA stay in one area and not drip and run. This also was ready in no time. It took less time than I imagined and I have a level surface to start my finishing. I will be shooting a sealer coat on this soon and will post the progress. I plan on taking some pictures and posting this technique on my website.
For what it is worth , try this technique on something small and you can see that for rosewoods , this is a very worthwhile method.
john hall
blues creek guitars.

Jun 06, 09 | 3:04 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Wow, that's interesting. This is my least favorite part of building.

John, can I clarify in my mind what you did ...

You weren't using any actual Activator, right? Just thin CA on half of the back, and four folded paper towels, and you wiped the CA with the grain. It filled within a few seconds.

Some questions:
Only one application filled the pores to level?
Was the grain very pronounced, as it is on mahogany, etc.?
It didn't stick to the paper towels?
Did you use blueshop paper towels or "Brawny" or something?
Was the CA any particular brand? Or is all "thin" CA the same consistency?

I'm lookng forward to hearing more details about this method ...

Thanks --
Bill

Jun 06, 09 | 5:04 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
The CA I use is Starbond thin , I didn't use any activator . The paper towels were white bounty and I did wipe with the grain, This was on 3 guitars actually. 2 brazillan and one bees wing figured sapele. The 2 BRW one has less pores than the other and the sapele is much like mahogany. I did 1 application , sanded with 220 and did another. The wipe acted like a french polish actually.
I will shoot a coat of vinyl sealer over the CA. The sapele took 2 applications . I did not do this on the top. One thing is that the ivroid binding took this like a pro. Any voiding along the binding show up right away. I had about 1 inch and that filled up so well you can't even see it.
I think CPH the brand and starbond was the type of CA . This was thin but I think med would work as well.
Let me know if you need more info
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Jun 06, 09 | 7:37 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks John -- I'm going to try it on a non-guitar project.

Jun 06, 09 | 1:54 pm
mike789166

Total Topics: 8
Total Posts: 41
Great tip! I have just tried it on the piece of scrap rosewood that came with the StewMac kit and it works great. So quick and easy. I just used normal superglue 3 and paper towel.
Thanks John.

Jun 07, 09 | 7:41 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Today I shot a coat of vinyl over the CA and to be honest , This is the easiest I have done to date. I will let this set till tomorrow and I hope to shoot finish starting tomorrow . I an looking forward to the end result . I will keep this link posted.
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Jun 07, 09 | 12:25 pm
Jim_H

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 212
Thanks John. I've been wanting to try this on one of my 'practice' projects.

Would this work as a grain filler under tru-oil? I have an all mahogany dread that I'd like to finish myself. it's a 'spares' project that I'm using just to get some additional experience. I'm just about to the pore filling stage.

Also, I recommend not using CA activator in areas where esthetics are important. It causes it to crystalize and can sometimes turn white, especially in pores, etc... I try to not use any activator at all unless I'm workign with something that is particularly finicky and the CA doesn't seem to want to cure on its own, otherwise I let things take their course without it. I have even taken to moving my accelerator bottle away from my building area so i won't be so tempted to grab it every time I use CA.


Jun 07, 09 | 2:39 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
CA can bubble . Use a pin or needle to open the voids and reapply the CA , that will help clear up the white marks

Jun 07, 09 | 3:28 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
John, if you don't mind sharing, what brand vinyl sealer do you use? Does it spray well?

Jun 09, 09 | 5:13 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Just a couple of cents here. I haved used CA for years to seal, coat and finish wood handles on my custom knives. Usually about 2 thin coats just floated on will fill pores, cracks, etc and can be sanded back to the wood. I build it up with about 6 coats. They burn into each other, and when cured, I can buff to a high gloss which is quite hard and durable. I would not say as hard as lacquer, but pretty close. I have wondered how it would work as a guitar finish, but it would be a very slow process to cover that much surface area. By the way, CA can be purchased from industrial supply's in large container quantities. I have heard of pint size bottles.

Kevin

Jun 10, 09 | 11:40 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I use Behlen or Macfaddens , I always use the same brand vinyl sealer with the brand lacquer I am using to reduce finish conflicts.
Follow the manufacturers instructions for best results , and yes , it sprays well. CPH is my CA supplier , I use the thin and medium CA's

Jun 16, 09 | 2:13 pm
mike789166

Total Topics: 8
Total Posts: 41
I got carried away filling the pores and kept on wiping on the CA and leveling with OOOO wire wool andit gives a lovely satin finish. I used a bit of turps as a lubricant. I may just leave it as a finish. I don't have any spraying equipment and brushing never seems to look good.

Jun 16, 09 | 11:19 pm
FredB

Total Topics: 11
Total Posts: 94
This topic has been very interesting to read. I'm curious; having glued fingers together (yes, mine) with CA, what do you wear to protect your hands when applying the glue? Are there any gloves that won't work with it?

Jun 17, 09 | 4:50 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
any vinyl or nitrile

Jun 19, 09 | 5:35 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
This sounds too good to be true. any experience with adhesion to shellac or with shellac on the CA?

Jul 14, 09 | 11:57 am
RyanHowell

Total Topics: 10
Total Posts: 46
I used CA on my headstock veneer, and then I french polished over that. Worked fine. It acted the same as the Z-poxy that I used on the body of the guitar. Only real difference was the CA sanded much easier, and you can go less time in between coats. Same quality of finish.

Jul 14, 09 | 12:24 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
did you sand back to the wood prior to FP or was there still CA left everywhere under the FP?
any experience with CA on top of a shellac seal coat?

Jul 14, 09 | 12:56 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
just found this on filling cocobolo with CA after shellac seal to prevent bleeding.

http://blog.phantasypsalteries.com/pore-filling-cocobolo-with-ca-glue/

Jul 14, 09 | 1:21 pm
RyanHowell

Total Topics: 10
Total Posts: 46
I sanded down to the wood, and then put on the seal coat of shellac.

Jul 14, 09 | 1:59 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
What wood was the headstock veneer and CA brand/viscosity/bond time did you have success with? many references I've seen recently for rosewoods suggest thick? for applying/mashing/spreading what worked for you...safe razor blade, credit card, or paper towel? John Hall above used thin CA and a paper towel.
thanks in advance.

Jul 14, 09 | 4:50 pm
RyanHowell

Total Topics: 10
Total Posts: 46
The veneer is ebony. I used a standard Loctite Walmart superglue. I would say its medium viscosity. For such a small area, I used a razor blade, let it dry for maybe 20-30 minutes. Sanded smooth, reapply. I think I did 3 applications, but I had 1 spot that needed extra attention, the rest was ready in 2 applications.

If your doing the whole guitar, I don't know how relevant my procedure would be. Rosewood is definitely going to be more porous than ebony.

Jul 15, 09 | 5:09 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I have started the finish process with the CA filled guitar. I am very happy to report that the lacquer is leveling out so much better than in the past. I have a few tiny pore holes to drop fill , but that is to be expected . This was the first attempt.
I have talked to a few others , that used this method and all have continued with it. The only woods I heard that they won't it on is Mahogany.
John Hall

Jul 22, 09 | 4:17 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
What is CA? I honestly have no idea. I saw some posts that were indicating it was a type of glue, and the accelerator questions on here make me think so too.

So, your actually completely replacing pore filler with this CA and then sealing after it's applied?

Also, I'm assuming since you said it doesn't work on Mahogany, it won't work on necks. Did the other people that use CA for filling say why it doesn't work on Mahogany?

Dan

Jul 22, 09 | 10:20 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Dan: CA is any kind of cyano-acrilate glue: "Superglue." It comes in thin, medium and thick varieties from most suppliers, and it has varying open times (working time until you have to clamp it). There are many, many, many brands and types.

Jul 22, 09 | 12:43 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
This sounds very good. Better than trying to color match joint compound to sapele!!

Aug 27, 09 | 7:11 am
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
It works on sapele, but not mahogany. Sapele and mahogany are really that much different from each other?

Aug 27, 09 | 9:05 am
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
Question especially for john h.
on your rosewood backs+sides did you sand all the way back and expose the wood or just level the CA without exposing the wood. If you left the CA on the surface do you notice any optical impact through your top coats?

I've been experimenting on east indian rosewood, fills well and can be level by the 2nd or third thin wipe on coat but it's fairly difficult to get back to the wood evenly because the CA is relatively hard compared to the wood. Seems much easier to level the CA and leave it on. any comments?

Aug 27, 09 | 3:26 pm
Guitar Hack

Total Topics: 19
Total Posts: 41
I just finished my first guitar and used CA as a filler. I tried both methods mentioned here. First I used the playing card method suggested and found I needed to do a lot of sanding to get the high spots down and used a lot of glue.

I then tried John's (Blues Creek) method and used about a third of the glue and didn't have to sand so much.

I would recommend Johns method. It would seem that you are wasting a lot of glue but trust me you will use a lot less.

It works great however. I don't think I will ever do it differently.

Sep 09, 09 | 5:08 pm
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
John, are you planning a video of this? It would be neat. Your videos are succinct, but yet thorough.

Sep 09, 09 | 8:14 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I just got a Madagascar rosewood 000-12 I will do this week with the same method. I slop it on and sand it off. I do it twice and when I am finished sanding I am trying to hit the wood so I can see that the pores are filled, The 2nd attack I want a level on the CA then I hit it with vinyl sealer and proceed to finish.
I have to admit , this is the easiest fill method I have ever found. I cannot take all the credit at Sylvan Wells showed me this first and I just played with it so it worked for me.
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
A video may be out there sooner or later , you never know

Sep 13, 09 | 1:45 pm
ehutchens

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 1
Ok, I am convinced about the easy application and visual quality of using CA, but my concern is the increase in rigidity changing the tone of the instrument. Any first hand experience or impressions?

Oct 06, 09 | 6:26 pm
PJ

Total Topics: 12
Total Posts: 90
John - interesting post, thank you. Had quite a few problems with epoxy on the first build and am looking for an alternative. Using CA seems easy and almost too good to be true. Do you think I can use KTM9 directly on the CA or will I need a sealer coat first?

Nov 05, 09 | 12:09 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I think to be safe a sealer should be used. As for changing tone ? there isn't that much left on . I doubt you would be able to hear the difference unless you let too much on. This is a filling step so you will want to sand this down pretty good.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Nov 05, 09 | 3:16 am
PJ

Total Topics: 12
Total Posts: 90
Could you perhaps recommend a sealer to go with the KTM9?

Nov 05, 09 | 11:01 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Shellac sticks to CA and is also compatible with the water borne coating. Target offers a WB shellac. Rigidity of the instrument? Tone from what to what? I believe such a concern and conversation would be pure guess work with zero data avaiable for conclusions. If this process works for you and the chemicals are compatible go for it. $.02

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Nov 06, 09 | 7:45 am
PJ

Total Topics: 12
Total Posts: 90
Thanks Ken - will look into that.

Nov 07, 09 | 12:01 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
As far as CA affecting rigidity and thus the tone of the instrument.......many fill with epoxy and it is also a glue and likely thicker and heavier than CA. For that matter, any filler acts a little like a glue in the sense that it sticks to and fills in the pores.

I think I will try this method on my build which uses EIR.

Nov 07, 09 | 6:12 am
Terry

Total Topics: 41
Total Posts: 220
Hi all...

Any further updates on how the CA as a filler/sealer is working for us?

Terry

Mar 19, 10 | 5:02 pm
Alan

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 5
I've used it on several rosewood guitars and it works well. It's the quickest way of pore filling that I have found. Just make sure that you use it in a well ventilated space. You don't want to be breathing those fumes.

Mar 28, 10 | 8:16 am
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
Recently finished east indian rosewood back and sides. As a relative newbie I tried crystallac waterbased, epoxy, fought with both for a long time, then CA as described above and was amazed how much easier it was. SUrfaces were sealed with 2 spit coats of shellac. Wipe on CA, light sand, waited ~15min to insure each layer was hard, repeat. It was almost completely filled after 2 applications. 3rd application left it perfect. With the CA I was using, I found that it was easier to sand immediately after it had "set"(no longer tacky) if I waited 5 or 10 minutes the CA got harder /tougher than the wood and it was more difficult to stop on the wood uniformly. I ended up applying as much as I could sand in just a few minutes while it seemed to sand more like wood instead of very hard plastic. 1/4-1/2 of the back or ~1/3-1/2 of a side at a time. 2 days later I started french polishing the whole guitar. now 2 months after finish still looks great no sign of any problems, no optical effects from CA. Will definitely use this on next guitar. Might prefer a longer set time for CA like 30-60 seconds? might make the wiping a little more relaxed.

Mar 28, 10 | 9:46 am
Terry

Total Topics: 41
Total Posts: 220
So... looks like good results. Thanks.

Mar 28, 10 | 2:10 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Thanks for that description Kolson. What viscosity CA glue were you using, thick, medium, or thin?

Mar 30, 10 | 4:51 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
And...can you guesstimate how many ounces were used in that 3 applications?
Thanks
Dave B

Mar 31, 10 | 7:04 am
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
thin viscosity.
Used ~2-3 oz. 1st 2oz bottle was hot stuff set time ~10-15 sec. 2nd bottle was different brand, set time more like 5 seconds which made it necessary to work much faster on smaller areas. Next time I'll definitely look for closer to 30 second set time CA.

Also this is was even easier if you are ok leveling within the CA. (see john hall's posts) I was trying not to leave much/any CA on the wood. I was concerned about CA leaving some optical difference vs the shellac. Anyone have any knowledge of differences in refractive index of CA vs shellac? CA on the wood had a cooler(less warm) appearance than super blond shellac.

Next time I may not even sand back to the wood and do all the leveling in the CA. Sanding will be less and easier. this will also leave the shellac seal coats on the wood instead of CA on the wood.

Good luck
let us know how it goes
Kurt


Apr 27, 10 | 10:29 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Quote from Kolson: "I was trying not to leave much/any CA on the wood. I was concerned about CA leaving some optical difference vs the shellac. Anyone have any knowledge of differences in refractive index of CA vs shellac? CA on the wood had a cooler(less warm) appearance than super blond shellac."

Kolson, I of course, don't know the answer to your question......but here is a quote from a post made by Todd Stock on the OLF and a link to that thread:

Quote from Todd: "IMO, the biggest benefit to epoxy, and to transparent pore fillers in general, is the increased apparent depth of the finish versus opaque fillers. I used silex fillers for years, and always hated the flat look they gave versus an oil-filled surface. With epoxy or other clear pore fillers, I get increased apparent depth of figure and grain such that even 'Plain Jane' mahogany - the stuff Martin and others slathered with silex and stain - has some bling. Epoxy and CA both end up with index of refraction around that of shellac...about 1.5 to 1.6 - so do a decent job of bending enough light to pop the grain."

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=27126&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=25

Apr 27, 10 | 6:38 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
thanks for the info. Piqued my curiosity

Apr 28, 10 | 10:21 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Kolson, the risk of trying to leave some on is that, inevitably, you will sand through in a spot or two, and may risk blotching with your finish. Sanding back to wood will help maintain an even look in the finish, and only the pores will have CA in them, lending the depth adaboy is talking about. I have found that using a cabinet scraper or a razorblade converted to a scraper is the easiest and cleanest way to get back to wood. The dust is not airbone, which is a big plus for epoxy and for CA.

Apr 28, 10 | 10:24 am
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
My side by side test pieces of EIR with CA fill/seal vs Shellac fill/seal I found CA fill to be not as warm, a little less distinction between colors of the indian rosewood and maybe a little less depth. that's why I tried to get mostly back to the wood. but it would be much easier to just level within the CA. In the future for me, I'm not sure it will be worth the extra sanding difficulty to get down to the wood.

to take todd stocks comments a little farther within the transparent pore filler realm.
Here's what I found sorry if everyone already knows this.
Light get's scattered by reflections with wood fibers. the scattered light gets absorbed or otherwise directed away from our eyes. Reflections happen when light crosses interfaces between materials with different refractive indices. wood/air = ~1.55/1.00 which is why finishes look way better than dry unfinished wood.
finish acts as an antireflective coating where, by matching the index of the coating to the interesting "twisty" deep 3D wood fibers, less light is lost to scattering and absorption as it enters and exits the wood. So more light penetrates deeper and more escapes while retaining the information about the interesting grain and color (instead of being scattered/changed by lots of unwanted reflections off nearby fiber surfaces).
refractive index data
wood (cellulose/lignin) I found mostly ~1.55ish
Epoxies 1.5-1.6 mid 1.5's most common
Shellac ~1.52ish
CA 1.45-1.49 mostly 1.46 (glass is ~1.46 does CA make invisible windshield repairs?)

Also the depth that the finish penetrates the wood may have an effect. with how fast the CA sets up I wonder if it actually penetrates as deep as the shellac/alcohol or epoxy. again a longer set time would be nice for CA pore filling/sealing.

the wildest "pop" I've seen has been with epoxy fill/seal.
CA fill/seal looks good it is clear and the pores do look 3D. Does it "pop" grain as well as epoxy? maybe not. Warm as Shellac? maybe maybe not, but CA fill is really easy and really fast. 4months later still no shrinkage. does it look the same 10 years from now? TBD.


Anyone have observations/comments from your oldest CA filled projects?
Anyone used the "fumeless" CA's yet?
kurt



Apr 28, 10 | 11:23 am
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
I had a problem with CA on an EIR back, but I'm pretty sure I know why - humidity.
I squirted some CA (a 15-20 second type) on the back and immediately went after it with a folded blue shop towel. Immediately was too late - the swirly figure I had made with the CA was already etched into the wood.
I had not noticed that the RH had dropped to 31% in a matter of an hour or so. So, a word to the wise!
I have not been able to get all traces of the etched pattern out of the wood, BTW.

Dave B

Apr 29, 10 | 5:49 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Dave, from your description it sounds like you may have been using thin CA.......sound like what you were using? Medium likely would work better (or thick).

May 01, 10 | 4:33 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Perhaps. But the first post in this thread recommended think CA, so I felt pretty safe. I will certainly try something with a much slower cure time on some scrap.
Thanks
Dave

May 01, 10 | 5:08 pm
kolson

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 11
Dave B,
did you seal with shellac prior to using the CA?
kurt

May 02, 10 | 1:37 am
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Nope. The thread started out as CA Filler/Sealer and I went with that. I did use the fill/seal method once before and it worked fine; so in thinking through what the variables were that might have caused the etching, humidity was the only variable that was different.

I'll be doing more tests and definitely the first will be to seal prior to the CA.

Dave B

May 02, 10 | 9:21 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I do use thin CA and found that working it with a nitrile glove worked the best. I applied 1 coat sanded back with 220 and used a 2nd coat sanding back again with 220. I have to say that this works very well on BRW

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

May 06, 10 | 12:37 pm



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