Reply by cabinetman

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Posted on Sanding

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144 posts in 4141 days

#1 posted 01-30-2007 03:49 PM

There are different types of finishes depending on the specie of wood and what you do to it. Just for starters, the general idea is that the finer the grit (higher the number) the smoother the abrasion will be. For some woods there is a threshold that if made too smooth, some finishes will not penetrate as desired. So, to take most woods past 320 is really useless.

Other than a random orbit sander, or a finishing sander, any hand/block sanding should be done with the grain. With using scrapers, the same rule applies. Scrapers will produce a beautifully smooth finish, that if done correctly will need no or little sanding. Having a dressed edge on a scraper is paramount to be effective.

Generally speaking, the more of anything you put on the wood, the more finish you will wind up with. For oil finishes, it’s a multiple application and rubbing procedure that will build a sheen. For film finishes (like lacquer, varnish, shellac, or polyurethane), the same holds true as for steps to the last coat. This entails sanding with progressively smoother grits for a final finish.

For an absolute glass like feel, a “paste wood filler” or also called “grain filler”, not to be confused with wood putty is applied to the wood which will fill the pores and provide an excellent medium for a finish. Check this out:

This is just a short version of an overview of sanding and finishing. To just discuss sanding without an idea of a further finish is like an incomplete sentence. IMO, the preparation of the wood is geared in the direction of what the final finish will be.

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