sanding for shine.

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Forum topic by David Milton posted 12-27-2013 08:53 PM 1105 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Milton

29 posts in 1735 days

12-27-2013 08:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

i was trying to figure out the best way to get wood to shine, and glow, without using any oils, varnish, or polish. i figure the best finish, was natural. im just having a hard time getting the sheen that i want. any input?

-- David Milton colville washington

14 replies so far

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1826 days

#1 posted 12-27-2013 09:01 PM

Get really, really good with a smoothing pone.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 12-27-2013 09:15 PM

yeah, planes. You’ll have to be very selective about
wood grain if you want to avoid sanding at all. Planed
surfaces look great except where there is tearout,

If you want to avoid ambering, do some tests on planed
boards with paste wax. There are different waxes
available and some have more hard wax in them. Regular
paste wax I haven’t buffed to a glossy shine, but it
may be possible if the surface under the wax is meticulously
prepared. “Renaissance Wax” can probably be buffed
to a finer gloss than the regular paste wax I use.

You also might want to consider a soap flake finish.
I’ve never tried it.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3345 days

#3 posted 12-27-2013 09:42 PM

My local Woodcraft has a display they made in their shop that is a piece of hardwood (can’t remember what kind) that they simply sanded with Festool paper, progressively up to something like 1500 grit. The display showed the results of each grit.

I was amazed at the final result – it did, indeed, look like it had been finished.

I’m not saying you have to go Festool, but you might consider sequentially sanding your piece up to around 1500 with some combination of abrasives.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1983 days

#4 posted 12-27-2013 09:51 PM

I’ve been able to get a high gloss shine with planes, but it does take some work. Sanding all the way up to 1500 seems like way too much sanding for my particular tastes.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1983 days

#5 posted 12-27-2013 09:53 PM

And as a side note, I sharpen my plane blades up to 2500 grit.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2379 days

#6 posted 12-27-2013 10:03 PM

Use oily tropical woods and buff on a buffing wheel.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2163 days

#7 posted 12-27-2013 10:21 PM

Unless working with dense oily woods will need a film finish to achieve any kind of sheen. Even on dense oily wood will have luster/sheen fade back over time.

Wax not a finish will also fade over time.

If look at film finish instructions, most do not require a lot of sanding for most hardwood or soft woods before applying finish. Now finishing the finish requires higher grits, oil or water to achieve excellent sheen.

Dense oily woods require a different approach but in most cases using solvent to wipe down surface before applying any kind of finish too.

-- Bill

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3113 days

#8 posted 12-28-2013 07:27 PM

A good cabinet scraper will also leave a very smooth finish.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2276 days

#9 posted 12-28-2013 07:36 PM

You don’t want to sand or scrape, you want to burnish. All sanding does is create finer and finer scratch patterns. Rather than scratch or remove material (scraping/planing) you want to change the cellulose structure of the wood. This is done with pressure and heat. The trick is doing it in such a manner not to scratch the top.

I’m not sure why you would want to do this though. A finish is necessary to protect the wood. an unfinished piece, even burnished, will look unfinished again over time.

Also if you do burnish the wood, you will have to re-sand a bit. Burnished wood surfaces don’t like to take finish.


View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2532 days

#10 posted 12-28-2013 08:05 PM

You can plane and scrap and sand rosewood to a nice shine.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View flatscat's profile


8 posts in 1639 days

#11 posted 12-28-2013 08:37 PM

I finish plane the board then burnish with a handful of shavings.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1741 days

#12 posted 12-28-2013 08:52 PM

CharlesA says it all.
I read somewhere that the interior of japanese temples, gates, doors etc made from pine and similar wood have no finish on them. They are simply planed with a sharp plane and left shiny. If cut with a sharp enough iron there is nowhere for the dirt to stick apparently. Naturally works only in places with no sunlight or water.. Perhaps MaFe or other of the japanese inspired members of LJ can help?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1688 days

#13 posted 12-29-2013 12:38 AM

much depends on the specie of wood, and how and or what it will be used for. I do know that some species work well when left alone after planing, but its been my experience that it is possible to polish a wood by slowly increasing the grit of the abrasive, combined with the techniques of how that abrasive is used. Before this equation can be accurately resolved much would depend on many accurate answers as to where the finished piece of wood will rest…… like others have hinted at, no point in making an indoor piece of art, and then leaving it out in the rain : ))

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2968 days

#14 posted 12-29-2013 12:39 AM

I’ve been happy with using Abralon. It burnishes the wood and looks good. I’ve still put danish oil on afterwards for protection but I probably could have used Johnson’s Pastewax too.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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