Rubbing out a finish

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Forum topic by dpwalker posted 02-06-2014 04:16 AM 1332 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dpwalker's profile


273 posts in 3006 days

02-06-2014 04:16 AM

I have been researching methods to rub out a high gloss finish. Most methods I have found use pumice and rottenstone or sandpaper. However I found this video.

Here he is using automotive products to achieve the same results. Has anyone tried this method? I’m looking for first hand opinions on if this method is as good as the others.

These products are readily available to me locally and I wouldn’t have to order anything.
Thanks Dean

-- You have not really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

8 replies so far

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2109 days

#1 posted 02-06-2014 04:22 AM

TheWoodWhisperer just did a good free video on this. You ought to check that out.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2536 days

#2 posted 02-06-2014 03:26 PM

Any film finish can be rubbed out to its maximum inherent gloss, but it’s obviously best to start with the one with highest gloss, like CAB acrylic lacquer.

1. Wet sand with successive grits to 600 to flatten the surface.
2. Use auto rubbing compound by hand or power to eliminate sanding scratches.
3. Finish with auto polishing compound, preferably with a powered lamb’s wool bonnet.

-- 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 mahdee's profile


4006 posts in 1942 days

#3 posted 02-06-2014 04:43 PM

That’s the method I have used for most of my projects posted here. Main thing is to apply several coats and let each coat dry for a few days or more. Once you have the final coat on, wait a week or more if it is cold and then do the wet sanding. Final sanding can go up to 3000 before using quality compound and polish.


View RandyTsuch's profile


52 posts in 1842 days

#4 posted 02-06-2014 04:58 PM

Charles Neil, who sometimes posts here, has some videos on the net which detail how to rub out a finish. You can find them on youtube

Rubbing out a finish

-- Randy, Los Angeles/Brentwood, Ca

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5142 posts in 2668 days

#5 posted 02-06-2014 05:16 PM

I didn’t check your video, but I do keep a can of both automotive rubbing compounds well as the polishing compound in the shop. They work well on a well cured finish to really smooth it out. They are also useful for small rust spots and stains on cast iron.

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

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2423 days

#6 posted 02-06-2014 05:26 PM

The important thing that Clint touched on is your choice of finish. Don’t try to rub out poly to a high gloss. It’s like trying to polish a tire. You have to start with a very hard surface.

Personally I prefer Tripoli grade rottenstone to rub out lacquer. When I am going for extreme gloss (80+ on the scale) I will just french polish. Something with extreme gloss shouldn’t really be handled often anyway so I don’t require any more protection than shellac affords me


View dpwalker's profile


273 posts in 3006 days

#7 posted 02-07-2014 02:20 AM

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions.
Good info from both Mr. Neil & Mr. Whisperer. Thanks for the links to the videos. I am going to try with the automotive products and see how it works out. I am finishing a project guitar body for myself so if if doesn’t work so well I can always strip it down and start over with sandpaper. ;)

-- You have not really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

View RandyTsuch's profile


52 posts in 1842 days

#8 posted 02-07-2014 05:19 AM

BTW, I have an old porter cable ROS I bought to use to wax my car. It has a hook and loop holder, and you can get buffing pads with fuzzy backs for hook and loop. Some companies used to rebadge the PC ROS, markup the price, and sell it as a car buffer.
So, I would use a ROS instead of the drill the guy uses in the video.

Never used that setup for wood, but I did use some liquid rubbing compound and my ROS to buff out a piece of fiberglass and it worked very well. Put a nice shine on the fiberglass.


-- Randy, Los Angeles/Brentwood, Ca

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