The perfect pore filler has yet to be found: One that does the job perfectly in one application, is not toxic, doesn’t require mixing, dries fast, sands to a nice powder and doesn’t color the wood. But, I’ve located one that’s pretty darn close. At least, it is for me. Pore fillers seem to be kind of like guitar strings: Everybody has a different opinion; there is no objective “best.”

I’ve tried oil and water base creams (Stewmac and Bartley) ... Epoxies (System Three, Z-poxy, and several 2-syringe Home Depot varieties) ... Shellac and sanding dust... Sanding sealer from Birchwood-Casey, Parks lacquer, Pro waterbase ... Urethane glue ... And a few more I can’t remember.

Out of all of those, the Bartley Oil Base was the best for me... until I tried “Enduro” Waterbase Grain Filler from a place in sunny Southern California -- (NOTE: Enduro is no longer made; the company sold out and removed a great product.)

This “Enduro” stuff has (had... ) all of the properties in the first paragraph, except it doesn’t do the job perfectly in one application. As I write this, the second application is done on two mahogany necks, and it is almost, almost just right. I put a second thin coat of shellac over the second application of pore

filler, and I’m waiting for that to dry. ... ... ...

Okay, it’s dry, in the picture, and I have used

some synthetic “steel wool” to polish it to a

nice, smooth satin finish. It looks and feels real

good. (Don’t use “steel” steel wool with water

base  finishes; you could get rust spots.)

Still working on the peghead. This one’s

pores are very pronounced. At right is a

photo of the 4th application; these itsy-

bitsy pores are just not filling up, so I am

trying a pretty thick coat. It will sand off and

hopefully leave the pores completely flat

and filled. In the picture below, which is

the peghead on a Stewmac kit I’m doing

at the same time, the pores are perfectly

filled and flat, and the surface is glassy

smooth, perfect to the eye and touch.

The Enduro comes in “Clear” and “Warm

Tone.” I used the Clear on the mahogany

of these necks, and the Warm Tone on

the rosewood overlays. Clear goes on milky

and turns clear; warm tone goes on sort of

salmon or peach color, but it turns more or

less clear as it dries. It doesn’t lighten the

pores at all. Very nice.

Fifty minutes later, the peghead in the top

picture is dry. I will start sanding with 220.

Notice how this stuff powders up really

nicely; not clogging the sandpaper. This

seems to be the one for me.

This still didn’t do it for the tiny pores, so

I smeared a little bit more on, this time

sideways to the grain with my finger. It

was dry in 30 minutes, so I sanded once

again. (It sands very easily and quickly.)

Ta Da. Finished. Beautiful. Having now

proved this filler on two difficult deep-pore

mahogany necks, I am ready to use it on

the body. For once, I’m actually looking

forward to the result instead of just thinking:

“I will do the best I can”

Even just sanded to 320, it’s really

nice. And this isn’t even the finish.

The shot at right is of the peghead

sanded to 320 along with a piece

just like it was to start with. Wow.

With a basis for the finish like this,

even I might be able to get a

great finish! Fingers crossed.

NEXT: Pore Filling the Body

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