what to use between coats of finish

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 04-24-2011 04:47 AM 6742 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 2714 days

04-24-2011 04:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

I see people using 220 to 600 grit sandpaper,steel wool,etc between succesive coats of finish.They all seem to leave significant[visable] scratches so I have been using scuff pads.The green ones seem pretty agressive and the gray ones dont do a great job getting rid of dust nibs.Spar urethane is the finish in question[both sprayed and wiped on].What do all you super finishers use?Am I bearing down too hard?All advice is appreciated.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

6 replies so far

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 04-24-2011 05:08 AM

It does not matter of finish it is.
Varnish, lacquer, shellac

Most manufactor recommend us to use 220 grit for proper adhesion.

IMO anything more than 320 grit in between coat will have adhesion problem.

I always use a worn out 220 or 320 grit to sand between coats.
If you do not have one, sand with two seperetae sandpapers and rub each other.

View ryno's profile


106 posts in 3688 days

#2 posted 04-24-2011 05:12 AM

I am no super finisher, but I hear of some just using an old timey brown paper bag for light sanding like you’re mentioning

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 04-24-2011 01:41 PM

Gfadvm, I use 400 grit or brown paper, as Ryno mentioned, between coats to remove the dust nibs and to smooth out the surface of the finish.

I am a fan of Bob Flexner and have always found his advice/techniques to be on target. Here is an article he wrote that was published in Popular Woodworking in 2008 that goes into several myths surrounding polyurethane finishes that you may find helpful.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#4 posted 04-24-2011 07:32 PM

Scott _ Thanks for th reply.The link you cited is great and taught me a lot.Should have been titled “Myth Busters For Woodworkers!”I used the brown paper on Brazilian cherry coffee table with wiped on Spar and it was just what I have been looking for.Thanks again and have a happy Easter.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2678 days

#5 posted 04-25-2011 06:43 PM

For poly and conversion varnish I use 220 between coats because of it’s ability to resist scratching. For lacquer I use 320 because these it scuffs nicely. The other nice thing about lacquer is you can “finish the finish” with a 1000 grit wet/dry paper and then pumice or automotive polishing compound to get a spectacular final finish. Poly and conversion varnish don’t rub out well because they are so hard and scratch resistant – it’s all in the application technique for these (I spray with HVLP). For oil finishes I use the white nylon pad to rub between coats and a lambswool buffing pad to finish the finish.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2617 days

#6 posted 04-25-2011 09:39 PM

I use green and blue scrubbing pads between coats of finish.Unlike steel wool or sand paper thay don’t leave anything behind.I don’t do a lot of varnish so I am not sure how scrubby pads would work there.

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