sanding between oil based stain coats versus between varnish coats

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Forum topic by yrob posted 06-15-2011 11:33 PM 12202 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3650 days

06-15-2011 11:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing sanding

I usually sand between the varnish coats but should you really sand between stain coats for oil based products ?

-- Yves

6 replies so far

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 11:36 PM

If it raises the grain, you should just to flatten it before you finish staining. Otherwise, because it doesnt build to a thickness, it shouldnt effect the smoothness of the finish.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2651 days

#2 posted 06-17-2011 04:51 AM

Water based stains you will probably have to rub out or sand with 400 grit very lightly. They tend to raise the grain and make little fuzzies all over the wood. Oil based stains don’t raise the grain. I only rub these stains with a white synthetic pad.

When applying the clear coat, I apply two coats then sand with 220 or 320 grit paper. Then apply the third and final coat. I found that if I sand after the first coat there is a possibility of sanding just enough that hitting the stain is a possibility and at this point I really don’t want to have to patch stain.

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

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3057 days

#3 posted 06-17-2011 07:33 AM

If you are going to sand oil stain, make sure to seal it before you sand. You will have higher risk of sanding the color off.

Usually I apply at least depending the color I want, 2-3 coats of stain. I do not sand between coats. After the coats I apply a top coat. Then I sand.

Same thing with water based stain, stain what color you want. Then apply sealcoat then sand.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2955 days

#4 posted 06-17-2011 07:31 PM

Them little fuzzies are generally caused by sanding in the first place, as sanding just tears off what it doesn’t bend over. Using tools such as scrapers, planes, etc. slice clean, leaving no fuzzies… provided the tool is nice and sharp. Most people I know tend to use a (one) very, very light pass with very fine sandpaper, just enough to knock off the fuzzy but not remove the finish (well, as well as possible), if they have any concerns. I like steel wool, double 0.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View chrisstef's profile


17382 posts in 3003 days

#5 posted 06-17-2011 07:45 PM

Im in the middle of reading a finishing book and from what i can remember you shouldnt sand between oils coats unless you are on coat 4 or 5. Cessna nailed it .. its fragile and can be easily sanded off.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3057 days

#6 posted 06-17-2011 08:50 PM


I assume your talking about boiled linseed oil, tung oil, that type of oil?

Its not a problem sanding between coats, just make sure each coat is dried.

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