Using a sponge to "sand" mudding?

Hi,
What is the best way to use a sponge and water to finish mudding (compound in a gallon container), rather than using sand paper? - Best type of sponge, size, etc. - Motion to use - How damp the sponge - anything else
I'm filling many small nail holes, and some dents about 2-3" in area and about 1/8" deep, in drywall on a wall, prep to painting.
Thanks. Dugie
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I can see wet sponging being able to smooth out bumps and lumps in bad drywall mud jobs but I fail to see how it would flatten the mud so that it has a slight taper to the paper surface and create a level surface that will not show through the paint finish. Basically, I don't see a wet sponge having the control of a large flat sanding pad when finishing a drywall seam or screw dimples. This is my personal opinion, others may differ.

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I have seen a pro make patches disappear with NO sanding, just using a sponge and a bucket of water. I couldn't explain how to do it however.
nate
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I would have agreed with you, till I saw it done, in the office I was working in at the time. They added insulation board and rock to uninsulated outside walls. They rocked and mudded without putting a layer of dust everywhere, with sponge guy coming around about a half hour after the mud-knife guy. I was damn impressed and told them so. (My drywall skills suck, even having grown up in construction business. I've seen acres of rock go up and get mudded, step by step. The mind knows the process, but the hands stayed dumb.) These guys claimed the mud was nothing special, but they obviously had a LOT of practice. They were fast.
aem sends...
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They are cheap. Get a few. Often one side one grit and the other another. Be sure to get one that has a 45 angle on one edge.

All kinds including very light pressure. Circles work good too.

I never wet it to tell you the truth. Maybe I should.

PRIME all fixed areas! If you don't you will have dull spots where the mud is underneath - guaranteed.
Keep the sponge flat on it's face.
Let the mud fully dry. It will shrink and you have to redo the dimples.

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I usually sponge joint compound as it has no dust that fly's around customers homes. I use the same big sponge that is used for tile grout. I use at least a one gallon bucket half filled with water. I rinse and squeeze the sponge frequently. You just want it damp, not wet. I do light passes as it is possible to take off too much in a stroke. I go in straight lines and the surface is quite smooth when I am done. You should not plan to sponge to make up for a bad spackling job. If the surface is really rough I use a hand sander with the mesh sandpaper to bring it down.
If you are putting compound over a painted surface you should sand lightly first to get better adhesion.
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Thank you all for your suggestions!
From this group's responses, and from 'net research, it seems that "sanding" with a sponge is possible and preferable by some. It is also the most difficult way to go, so needs practice and a light hand.
- Dugie

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Elimination of sanding dust is enough reason to wet sponge. Drywall dust is the biggest pain in the ass in the whole process. If it's a smaller job, bathroom or kitchen, I don't sand. I'd rather do an abbreviated fourth coat (rarely required) than sand. The final polishing coats are quick to do anyway. Put less on the walls, don't plan on using sanding as a back up, and pay attention to the little nibs. If you do that sanding is rarely required.
I also find doing the polish coat with a spray bottle of water handy works wonders. A little spritz keeps the thin coat of compound from having the moisture sucked out of it while you're still tweaking it.
R
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