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I hate sanding between finish coats

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Forum topic by jimbarstow posted 327 days ago 2142 views 2 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jimbarstow

35 posts in 423 days


327 days ago

I typically sand with 400 grit between finish coats but it is a long, boring process that I hate. (My favorite finish these days is minwax wipe-on poly diluted with a little mineral spirits and with a dash of tung oil added.) Does anyone have a magic finish recipe that provides a satin (NOT glossy) finish that doesn’t require the hours of sanding? Should I try using an HVLP spray? I’ve been doing this for 30 years but surely there is some new finishing technology that provides a perfectly smooth finish sanding free.

Sanding the Greene and Greene crib I’m making takes hours between coats


39 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7265 posts in 2251 days


#1 posted 327 days ago

Dunno. I’d say you’re sanding too much at too fine a grit.

I sand between varnish coats at 220 or 320 using stearated
paper. It goes pretty quick. If you want a perfect finish at
the end, let it cure, then level and polish with rottenstone
or whatever you prefer.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3334 posts in 459 days


#2 posted 327 days ago

I concur. I don’t own any 400 grit. I use 220 at the most between coats of minwax oil based poly. I have read about using the 5000 grit buffing pads for final finish. I think that was it. I want to try that. As far as the hvlp goes, I love mine. Earlex 5500. You can lay down a real nice finish in just 2 coats. You just have to get the viscosity right and the right tip. The learning curve is pretty short though.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1180 days


#3 posted 327 days ago

I use 320 between coats and it goes fast. I spray my finishes with a turbine hvlp.
I typically spray two light coats, light sanding with 320, spray two more, done.

Regarding a “magic recipe” for satin, just plain satin poly. I prefer waterbornes for their quick drying times and low voc. Why the tung oil with the poly?

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1942 posts in 879 days


#4 posted 326 days ago

Who really likes sanding ?.....But with finish sanding, you are rounding third base and are about to reach home base. To me, knowing I’m at that stage of the project is enough incentive to get it finished (pun intended).

Here’s an article from Popular Woodworking by Bob Flexner that’s bound to stir up a little controversy.
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/The_7_Myths_of_Polyurethane

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

909 posts in 1293 days


#5 posted 326 days ago

You only need to sand if you have rough spots (raised grain). If you raise your grain before the first sanding, using water, you should only have to sand again after the first coat. Possibly after the second coat should any grain raise occur.
Nobody loves sanding.
Keep in mind the first thing that happens when someone approaches a peice you just built. They reach out and touch it. That right there is why we sand.

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

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1390 posts in 964 days


#6 posted 325 days ago

Sanding between coats is unnecessary.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112001 posts in 2180 days


#7 posted 325 days ago

Many top coat’s instructions include sanding between coats but this should be a light scuffing of the surface for adhesion purposes not hours of sanding, if your finish is so rough that you need to sand that long ,then you have a problem with how your applying it or with the finish or both.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View rrww's profile

rrww

253 posts in 716 days


#8 posted 325 days ago

I usually do a fast scuff with 320 works great – even complicated finishing projects go fast this way.

View Finisherman's profile

Finisherman

189 posts in 452 days


#9 posted 325 days ago

If you have the ability to spray, then I’d switch to shellac, lacquer or waterborne finishes. These are easier to spray and much easier to sand. Clint’s right, at least in the case of shellac and lacquer. These finishes burn in and you don’t have to scuff sand between coats. If you do, though, you’ll produce a much better finish. Varnish is infamous for collecting dust. If you switch to a faster drying finish, you’ll eliminate a lot of these problems.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1651 posts in 1096 days


#10 posted 325 days ago

There area several reasons to sand between coats, but there is only one I’m careful to follow: scuff sanding is needed for any urethane products, since the urethane (or polyurethane) resins inhibit adhesion. All the others others are optional (at least between every coat). I’ll usually knock down dust nibs about every 2nd coat, I sand grain raised whiskers off (with water borne finishes) after the first coat, then only finish sand after the last one. If I want a satin finish, i make the last coat one from a can of satin finish (the preceding ones are gloss). Except for shellac, if it’s the finish you have to work the sheen you want with an abrasive.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3334 posts in 459 days


#11 posted 325 days ago

What us a good readily available clear lacquer? I can go to Lowes, HD, and Sherwin Williams. I do have a turbine hvlp.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1805 posts in 1834 days


#12 posted 325 days ago

I usually spray Deft Clear finish and sand lightly before the last coat.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1651 posts in 1096 days


#13 posted 325 days ago

I’ve bought SW lacquer before and really like it. I think it’s considered a “pro” item, since it’s hidden in the back. I also like the Watco product, but I can only get it at Menard’s…not sure they are down in your neck of the woods yet. Both of them were about $20/gallon the last time I bought some.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3274 posts in 1416 days


#14 posted 325 days ago

When spraying lacquer I sand between coats with a 1000-1500 grit sanding sponge. It takes 15-20 minutes to scuff the finish smooth on a medium sized case good or table. I say use the finest grit that will get the job done. Once you switch to spraying, your off-the-gun finish will be smooth already. You just need to remove any dust nibs or overspray that may be present.

I use a two coat + wax finish. After the first coat of lacquer, I sand with the fine sponges. After the second coat of lacquer cures, I wax with #0000 steel wool. It leaves a nice satin finish.

Good luck!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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firefighterontheside

3334 posts in 459 days


#15 posted 325 days ago

I’ll look at menards. They have opened 2 stores in the vicinity and will open another this fall. Thanks, I’ll try it.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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