Fingerprints and Oil marks

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Forum topic by noise_expert posted 07-14-2011 12:22 PM 1147 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2783 days

07-14-2011 12:22 PM

I have recently rekindled my interest woodwork/carpentry game, but am currently building a Captains style bed to install into my boat.

However, no matter how careful I am, and how clean I keep my hands, I have a number of pale ‘oil’ marks from tools (I try and keep them clean and prevent rust growth between uses) and fingerprints appearing on the wood surface.

Prior to applying my surface finish, what is the best way to remove these marks so that they are not ‘sealed in for life’?

By the way – the timber being used is American Ash.

3 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2864 days

#1 posted 07-15-2011 04:58 AM

Very light sanding with 180 to 320 grit paper should do the trick. I too have this frequently but havent found it to be a big problem.

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

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3822 days

#2 posted 07-15-2011 05:23 AM

Depending on your climate, you may be overdoing it with the oil
on the tools.

Still, it happens. No matter what I do, my hands are often dirty.
I am very careful about washing my hands often with soap and
hot water when nearing the finishing stages.

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3011 days

#3 posted 07-15-2011 05:43 PM

A light sanding will do what needs to be done, but I would stay away from the 320 grit. When working with ash and other hardwoods, I only machine sand up to 150 grit. Then I slightly dampen my work with a wet rag. This shows me the flaws like glue spots and it lifts the loose fibers off the wood. Pass your hand over it and you feel whiskers. I hand sand these off with 180 grit.

I’m no expert here and beg forgiveness from gfadvm for disagreeing with his 320 grit. Many folks use these higher grits and those are good on a finished surface to scratch it up before apply another coat. I find 200+ grit on bare hardwoods only closes the pores and makes staining etc. harder to deal with.

As for tools, I live in south New Hampshire where it gets very humid at times, especially in basements etc. To protect my tools, I use butcher block wax or bowling alley wax. Works good and doesn’t bother the wood.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

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