Apprentice Member
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎02-21-2010

grain filler

For Steve Mickley. 


Just bought an antique piano with ribbon mahogany veneer covering the entire carcase.  I'm refinishing it and need to know if there is a way to make my own grain filler, or do I have to just break down and order some.  Also, what would you suggest for the clear top coat.  I'd like to keep the natural colour and not cloud the grain too much.  Thanks in advance. 

Honored Advisor
Posts: 1,907
Registered: ‎10-24-2009

Re: grain filler

If you want spectacular--French polish the piano.  The process, including the pumice at early stages, will fill the pores.   A large job, and I'm not sure I'd do it myself, but....

Honored Advisor
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

Let's try this again...




My initial reply seems to have disappeared when the site went down for maintenance yesterday morning shrotly afther I made my post; so, I will try again.  This link will take you to the Shellac Pages on our web site.  At the bottom of the introduction page you will find a link that will take you to a page on using Shellac as a Grain Filler.


Once you have filled the grain a bit of padding will bring the finish to a nice sheen.  The advantage of this technique is that shellac is optically clear so you will not be filling the pores with an opaque solid.  Since it is clear there is also no need to tint the filler to match the wood being filled.  There is also no issue of the filler shrinking and coming out of the pores.  Finally, while the wood will darken with exposure the shellac will not change color so what you see will always be a function of the look of the wood.


The use of pumice spoken of by Amateur60 is part of the process called “French Polish”.  It’s fine, but it is way too much work when all one wants is to fill the grain to create a smooth finish free of “pocks” left by open pores.  Note that the shellac cut used is one-pound and that filling is accomplished by multiple coats.  How the shellac is applied is not all that important since most of it will be removed in the process of leveling/filling.  The shellac film left to be polished by padding will still be quite thin, as it should be… 



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