If the finest pumice powder is added to the whiting grain filler it will assist in producing a good surface.
Bernard E. Jones, The Complete Woodworker, 190?
I've never been very happy with most pore filling techniques that are shown in several nice DVDs on French Polishing.
One technique uses an epoxy, which I find too toxic, another calls for a water based pore filler that requires, I think, too much sanding to remove from the wood.
In the finest tradition of French polishing, one is suppose to apply a spit coat of 1 pound cut shellac and after that dries the polisher is to use alcohol and pumice on the pad to fill the pores.
The pumice raises up wood dust, the alcohol dissolves the shellac to take the pumice and wood dust and then the shellac is suppose to make all of that stick to the pores.
It works, but one problem is that shellac will dry and shrink, leaving little tiny craters every where in the finish. The other problem is it takes a lot of elbow grease to fill the pores.
I did some research on the internet and came across a discussion in a forum about pore filling with just alcohol and pumice.
One gentleman had been a French polisher by profession and stated the using any shellac in pore filling is a waste of time.
Someone else weighed in that he used a mixture of gelatin, alum and pumice to do the job.
Then someone else said to apply an egg white wash, let it dry and pore fill with alcohol and pumice.
I already use an egg white wash on my guitars, it gives them a nice patina, so I thought I would try pore filling with egg white, pumice and alcohol.
Take a look at the photo above, the left side of the guitar I pore filled for 30 minutes.
The right side just has the dried egg white on it.
Here's a close up, you can see the difference between the two halves.
Yes, I will have to come back and level sand before I do another session to fill in any stray pores, but this technique is much faster than the other ones that I have used. Like twice as fast.
Another great learning experience has begun!
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