sanding between clear coat applications

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Pabs posted 04-18-2013 12:44 PM 2857 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Pabs's profile


246 posts in 3660 days

04-18-2013 12:44 PM

hey all

I just put my second of coat of clear coat last night on a couple of pieces I’m working on for my kitchen

question regarding sanding..
do you guys sand (lightly) between each coat? or simply on the last one?

the few times I’ve done it I sand between each coat but was wondering if I would obtain the same results or better if I waited until the last coat

if it matters I’m using this product

water based clear coat

-- Pabs

12 replies so far

View jimmyb's profile


185 posts in 2098 days

#1 posted 04-18-2013 12:47 PM

Sand between coats and then on second to last and the last I use 0000 steel wool.

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3686 days

#2 posted 04-18-2013 12:57 PM

I sand between coats too. Just said lightly using a fine sandpaper like 220 grit.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5180 posts in 2699 days

#3 posted 04-18-2013 12:58 PM

Sanding between coats is needed with polyurethane finishes to provide a little “tooth” for the next coat, polyurethane resins inhibit adhesion. So if I use polys I sand between coats. For everything else I’ll normally put on a few coats, smooth out the dust nibs, and then apply the final coat. With waterbornes, I’ll usually sand after the first coat to smooth out the raised grain, then proceed as I do with all other non-polys.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3686 days

#4 posted 04-18-2013 01:10 PM

Anytime you expose wood to something with moisture in it like the finish, it causes the wood fibers to stand up. This is the rough feel you get after putting the first few coats of finish on. The fibers stand up and then are suspended in the finish. By lightly sanding, you remove these fibers and eventually build up the finish so it is above the fibers and it creates a smooth finish.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2567 days

#5 posted 04-18-2013 01:47 PM

Sand the first coat to knock down any fuzz. Don’t sand after that.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2896 days

#6 posted 04-18-2013 01:51 PM

NO STEEL WOOL on waterborne finishes! Sandpaper or Scotchbright pads. Wet the project with water before you spray your first coat, this will raise the grain, sand it out then start spraying. Sand between each coat, increasing grit as you go.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3364 days

#7 posted 04-18-2013 01:58 PM

No reason to sand between coats with water-borne…it does not require a mechanical bond. It generally dries fast enough where dust nibs aren’t a problem. However, I always smooth out with a 3M pad, just in case.

Oil-based poly needs the mechanical bond.

And yes, sand the first coat of water-borne, like you would any first coat of any finish…that’s where the smoothness comes from.

-- jay,

View Pabs's profile


246 posts in 3660 days

#8 posted 04-18-2013 02:17 PM

thanks everyone! on my way home soon in a few minutes for coat #3!

-- Pabs

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2567 days

#9 posted 04-18-2013 09:20 PM

Contrary to some opinions (speculative perhaps), it’s been my experience (real life) that latex/acrylic wall paint is the performance equivalent of any other cabinet finish in actual use.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2890 days

#10 posted 04-18-2013 10:41 PM

Clint…I used the ACE brand cabinet paint on my kitchen and I think there is a noticable difference. It forms a much tougher “rubber” coating than any paint I use on walls. Of course that means it is a real PITA to finish. It has a long “cure time” and heat from sanding will make you swear until you realize that everything will be fine once it cools down and the curing process resumes. The other issue I had was color. The full color doesn’t arrive until it fully cures (weeks). That was a problem since I used a white primer and with my old eyes it got hard to see where the paint was.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2999 days

#11 posted 04-18-2013 11:24 PM

Just refinished a chest and used 3m scotchbrite pads. The have some for between coats and for the final rub down. I liked them. On the final I used the pads with paste wax. Turned out nice.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2881 days

#12 posted 04-19-2013 01:53 AM

Sand between coats of oil based poly. I never use steel wool until the last coat is on. I always end up with bits of steel wool in my finish no matter how hard I try to get it off my project. I sand and I learned the hard way to be VERY careful to not hit the corners. If you go through the stain you are in trouble. I like steel wool (0000) on the final coat. If you want a really smooth finish you can use an eraser from a chalk board (new and clean) and use automotive polishing compound to rub out the finish. We used this in high school and took some blue ribbons home from the state contest.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics