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Wet-Sanding

Seven steps to a heavenly finish.

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Step 1

Step 1

For most of us, finishing means applying varnish, polyurethane, or paint with a brush. The dream of a glass-smooth tabletop is always spoiled by brush marks and bits of dust and other debris. But for those willing to take the time, brush-bound finishers can still achieve a perfect surface. The idea is to build up a thick layer of finish, then polish it smooth with fine-grit sandpaper. Here's how.


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1. Sand the surface to 320-grit. Thoroughly remove sanding dust from the pores of the wood using compressed air of a shop vacuum and tack cloth.


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Paste wood filler, top center, makes a smooth foundation for the finish. Wet-sand with a simple solution of liquid detergent and water, left, using a rubber sanding block, bottom center. Polish with an automotive wax, bottom right.


Continued on page 2:  Step 2

 

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Comments (6)
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Eaton474 wrote:

Charles Neil has an awesome video that explains this on his site. I highly recommend watching it along with all his other videos as well. He has a TON of knowledge and shares plenty of it in his videos. You can also find him on YouTube under InTheWorkshop. Really good stuff.

6/23/2011 10:54:12 AM Report Abuse
Eaton474 wrote:

I also recommend using water or soapy water and avoiding oils. Just use a small brush and apply finish inside any holes or other areas that may absorb water, or plug them if necessary. Oils will cause you a NIGHTMARE if you end up needing to recoat for any reason. As well oil "fools you" into thinking you have a better surface than you do, as it will mask scratches and defects.Oil doesn't wipe off like water, and will make a poor surface shine. When it dries in time, it looks like garbage.

6/23/2011 10:53:47 AM Report Abuse
Eaton474 wrote:

DocFletcher, There is no issue at all with rubbing out a veneered surface, such as plywood or veneer over substrate. You are not sanding the wood, but the finish. The key to this is making sure you have enough of a film of finish to actually rub. Water base finishes build better than oil or solvent base, as they have a higher solids content. One good rule to go by, if you would use 3 coats normally, use 4 if you plan to rub the finish. This will assure you have something there to rub.

6/23/2011 10:46:13 AM Report Abuse
docfletcher wrote:

How would this finishing process work with a thin veneer plywood surface? If not performed as stated because of the veneer, how could the process be modified to work with veneer?

4/16/2011 10:29:33 AM Report Abuse
Danwoodman wrote:

I recently tried this process, on a cabinet door frame that I dye stained and finished with spray lacquer, with excellent results. I liked using the water with soap, but I would recommend using mineral oil when performing this task on any project where your finishing over holes,( such as holes previously made to accommodate door handles hinges etc.), as the water tends to raise the grain around these areas.

11/27/2009 11:55:48 AM Report Abuse
louis delli santi wrote:

Formby's lemon oil treatment works better than detergent water for sanding & doesn't require waxing afterwards.

11/25/2009 06:36:56 AM Report Abuse

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