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Wet-Sanding

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Steps 3-7
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Steps 3-7

3. Apply a finish of your choice and let it dry overnight. We tested this technique on oil-based spar varnish, oil-based polyurethane, waterbased polyurethane, and oil-based enamel paint. Any sheen -- gloss, satin, or semigloss -- will work. You can bring gloss finishes to the brightest sheen. The flatting agents in satin and semigloss finishes prevent them from being worked to attain a high gloss.

Left to right: You can work enamel paint to a bright automotive-style finish. Shown on white ash veneer, water-based poly goes on perfectly clear; oil-based poly and spar varnish add progressively more amber cast to the wood grain.


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4. Now it's time to "knock down" brush marks, drips, or dust flecks in the finish. Put about 1/2" of water in a shallow plastic tray and add a couple of drops of liquid detergent. The detergent, by reducing the surface tension of the water, allows it to more effectively wet the sandpaper and the tabletop and be a better lubricant. Dip 500-grit wet/dry paper (see box on page 4 on wet-sanding) backed with a rubber sanding block (available at hardware stores and home centers) into the detergent solution and work the surface in a circular motion, as shown in Photo C. Be careful not to oversand the edges. Keep the sandpaper wet with clean detergent solution. Periodically wipe the surface dry to inspect it. When the surface has a uniform dull sheen, wipe it clean with a damp sponge and let it dry.

5. Apply a second coat of finish and let it dry overnight. Wet-sand again as in Step 4 and wipe dry. Now apply a third coat of finish, but this time, let it dry two days to make sure the entire film of finish is dry.

6. Just as in Step 4, wet-sand the surface, this time starting with 1000-grit wet/dry sandpaper, progressing to 1500-grit and finally 2000-grit. Buff with a clean, soft cloth.

7. Get out the car wax and apply and polish it, as shown in Photo D, according to the directions. (We used Turtle Wax, but any automotive cleaner/wax will do.)


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Continued on page 4:  Why Sand Wet?

 

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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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