Is This Open-Grained Wood?

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Forum topic by Eric posted 02-09-2008 02:40 PM 2561 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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875 posts in 3781 days

02-09-2008 02:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kempas grain finish varnish

I’m working on a box for my wife (probably won’t be in time for V-Day). The wood I’m using is Malaysian kempas wood. Here’s a picture of a dovetail template I just made with it (with a few coats of BLO):

Dovetail Template Back

For my wife’s box, I plan on finishing it with a BLO/varnish/mineral spirits blend. But I’ve read that varnishes don’t go on nice and even on open-grained woods unless you fill in the grain first. The article I read suggests sanding immediately after the first coat to create a slurry which will fill the grain.

My question is: does this kempas look like the kind of wood that wood need that treatment? I’m not a wood expert but it does seem to match the description of open-grained wood.

-- Eric at

1 reply so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#1 posted 02-09-2008 03:07 PM

Hi Eric,

I have seen a reference about kempas that says it needs to be filled before finishing. It really is a matter of personal choice. If you want a “smooth as glass” finish then it needs to be filled. But if this really isn’t important for your work then the piece can be finished without filling.

The only real challenge that this presents is that oak, for instance, with its open grain can introduce air bubbles into the finish from the air trapped within its grain when using poly as a finish coat. But multiple layers of finish with light sanding between applications can usually resolve this issue.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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