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fixing scratches mid-finishing

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Forum topic by bobasaurus posted 03-21-2010 12:42 AM 863 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bobasaurus

2672 posts in 2648 days


03-21-2010 12:42 AM

I’m finishing a box with some wipe-on poly and made a small mistake. After the first coat, I did some light sanding by hand with 220 grit sandpaper on the back of the lid (where some snow had blown onto it while drying outside, making the finish spotty), first in circles, then with the grain, then buffed with 000 steel wool before applying the second coat. Now that I applied the second coat, I notice many long (but shallow-looking) cross-grain scratches on that sanded surface. I must have scratched it during the first “circular” sanding motion phase (it wasn’t the steel wool, as I buffed the rest of the box with it too and it’s fine). What’s the best approach to remove these before going for the third coat? I’m thinking more hand sanding with 220, but in the direction of the grain and pressing very lightly. Or I could put a 220 pad on my orbital and go at it, then buff the result… I have some finer grit paper I could use as well.

-- Allen, Colorado


3 replies so far

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bobasaurus

2672 posts in 2648 days


#1 posted 03-21-2010 02:08 AM

You’re probably not supposed to, thus my problem. I was trying to get out the discolorations left by the snow spots and got a bit overzealous.

-- Allen, Colorado

#2 posted 03-21-2010 02:54 AM

I try to sand with much finer grit between coats. I’d recommend 320 to 420 grit non-loading (zinc stearate) paper. I learned this from a buddy who is a pro fire-damage antique restorer. You did OK to use 220 to remove the snow-affected area, but now you need to use finer paper to remove the scratches left by the 220. 220 grit might seem like a very fine paper, but when sanding between coats of finish (especially glossy finish), even those 220 scratch marks show up easily. Follow the finer sanding with the 000 steel wool, and see if you can get your hands on some 0000 wool. I find that 000 can leave just as deep of a scratch pattern in a finish as your 220 grit paper.

I hope this helps. Finishing can be a real test of a person’s patience, so stick with it.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

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bobasaurus

2672 posts in 2648 days


#3 posted 03-21-2010 02:59 AM

That’s good advice, alanealane. I hit it up again with 220 with the grain, and the scratches seem to be gone, but I’ll try 500 grit as well (the next up I have). Next time I’m at a hardware store I’ll pick up some 0000 if it’s stocked.

-- Allen, Colorado

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