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How to revive a worn finish

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Sanding reveals finish layers
Dark board with film on it
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When leveling a finish on uneven
wood, sanding through one finish
layer and into the next can create
an effect called "ghosting."

Sanding reveals finish layers

If minor dings and missing finish telegraph up through the added topcoats, sand them with 320 grit until you achieve a flat surface. This may produce "ghosting" on the surface from partially sanding through a layer, shown in photo right, but you'll cover that with additional topcoats. Then set aside the project for at least a week in a well-ventilated area while the finish cures completely. It's ready to rub out when you no longer smell solvent fumes at the surface.

To rub out the finish, first spread a small amount of mineral oil on the surface and hand-sand with 400- and 600-grit wet/dry abrasive to level the surface. Check abrasive sheets frequently to make sure they're not clogged with clumps of finish. Wipe the surface clean with mineral spirits after each grit. Follow the sanding by buffing with a mechanical buffer or random-orbit sander and white non-woven cleaning pad. (See Sources below.) Then polish the surface using a polishing compound and soft cloth on a buffer. Stop when you achieve an even sheen.

Sources
White non-woven cleaning pads: Package of 10, ptreeusa.com.
Polishing compound: 3M Finesse-It II Machine Polish, Amazon.com.
Adhesive strips: U-Glu 1x3" strips, for eight, Amazon.com.


 

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