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Wipe out project tool marks

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Reaching the finish line

Reaching the finish line

For the ultimate surface, complete the process with a final hand-sanding at 220grit (or up to one step higher than your last machine grade), following the direction of the wood's grain. Despite advances in sanding technology, nothing produces a mar-free surface like patient hand-sanding under an attentive eye. And one last check with mineral spirits will ensure no surprises at finish time. What should you do if you apply a stain or finish and a tool mark bids hello? Simple: Reach for the sandpaper once more and a hefty can of elbow grease.

Dealing with dents and scratches

Though not typically caused by tools, dents and scratches in wood also can show up at finish time like uninvited guests. And while sanding removes surface scratches, dents require a different tack. First, moisten the dented area by placing a damp cloth over the depression, and then running a hot household iron over the cloth, as shown right. The steam generated will swell the compressed wood fibers, letting you sand them flush once they dry.

Sometimes, the easiest and best fix for tool marks is to mill a replacement part, or better yet, to machine extra stock for spares in the beginning. Another option includes using tool-marked stock in areas where it won't be seen.

December/January 2005/2006


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