Checkering and grain filler?

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Jul 1, 2005
Austin, TX
I'm getting ready to refinish a Marlin stock, and I have a question about the checkering.

If you use a grain filler (people have suggested the Herter's French Red for a marlin walnut stock) you aren't supposed to get it into the checkering. My silly question is, how do you stain and color match the checkering to the rest of the filled/stained stock? Do you need to get a can of the stain only to brush onto the checkered parts? All the how-to guides seem to omit this vital point.

Also, for people who have used that product before, how high did you sand before using it? I had trouble using a minwax oil stain over 220, and it worked much better over 150 grit sanded wood. Most articles I've read say 220 is ok. Is it for the Herter's filler/stain? It says it is a sealer/stain/filler, so if I wanted to use a wiping varnish technique I could just start applying coats once the grain filler is dry, no?

Common practice is to stain, fill, and finish the stock first, then you checker the stock and refinish the checkered areas with finish only, often thinned. If you try to stain the checkering, you will be staining exposed end grain which will darken up terribly. The appearance of the checkering with a light coat of finish against a background of a stained and finished stock is quite pleasing to most folk's eyes.

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