Finishing a Veneered chess board

Hi,
Sometime ago, I posted some pics. on ABPW of my chess board, which I made from a kit and on the manual it says "sand and polish to finish" so I thought right.. how do I do that!
I need some advice on a) 1. Should I sand by hand or with my ROS 2. What grade paper(s) should I use b) 1. What form of polish should I use?
When repliying, please state point number / letter so as I know which point you're referring to!
Thanks,
Sam
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A. 1) Yes you should sand by hand. 2) Start with 100 and go to 150 or 180max B. 1) for polish I assume you mean topcoat. It depends on what type of look you are going for. "Tried and True" make a nice "Original Wood Finish" formula that is very nice to use. Rub on with a cloth instead of a brush. I find that this type of application is very nice. You can get this finish from Lee Valley.
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wrote:

Not in the UK you can't. It's not shippable and I know of no UK supplier for Tried & True products. If anyone does know of one, I'd love to hear of it.
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 17:29:59 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"

Sam- go here and read: http://www.homesteadfinishing.com /
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 17:29:59 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"
Hand. Hand is always better, if you have the time.
What you need is a sanding block. This is 50p for a cork one, or you can make your own from scraps of wood or plywood, with the working surface covered in thick felt, carpet underlay or neoprene foam (mousemat works). For a chessboard it should be a rectangle the length of a roll of sandpaper's width, and a width to fit your hand. I have several of these, in varying sizes. Some are bits of broomhandle wrapped in foam, for sanding inside curves.
For a rectangular block, use about 1 1/2 wraps of paper. Move the paper around the block to even the wear out on it and don't wear it out on the corners.
Use light pressure. If it doesn't cut, try a fresh piece. Pressing harder won't help.

You should use a range. Start coarse and then work up a grade each time. Always _completely_ sand with one grade before switching to another. A "grade" is about a doubling of the grit number. You can easily buy glasspaper in half-grades, but you don't really need to go in steps that small. For most work, start with about 80 grit and finish with 300. If you're putting a film-forming finish (shellac, varnish) on then you might stop at 240. For plain wax, go finer to maybe 400.
40 grit is useful for sanding things to actually remove wood (if you don't have a good block plane).
I have a _lot_ of glasspaper in my workshop. It's cheap, it stores well and I like to have a big range on hand at all times. It's more effort to think about it than it is to buy, so I just keep the shelf stocked up - same for many finishing supplies - running out is just a pain.
A good type of glasspaper to get is the yellow rolls of aluminium oxide "Hiomant" brand from Mirka. They have a wide range of grits and it's a convenient width to fit a sanding block. Rolls are cheaper, but you can often buy it a metre at a time so you can have a full range.
Don't use black silicon carbide "wet and dry". It's good stuff, but expensive. You might use it for sharpening or 1200 grit paintwork flatting though.
Be wary of real glasspaper. It used to be the only stuff, but these days it's generally only seen as the very cheapest and nastiest grade. Often smells of fish glue when damp !
Garnet paper is a very "sharp" paper that you might still find around. Expensive, and cuts too fast for final finishing.

For a game board, I wouldn't use a varnish or shellac. Boards that are too shiny aren't so good to play on. I'd suggest wax over oil.
Oil is best bought as a tin of "finishing oil" (try Liberon from Axminster). This is tung oil, but it's already blended and thinned to make it easier to apply. Apply it on a kitchen paper towel. Wipe it on reasonably generously, then wipe it around until it's worked in well. Check after 20 minutes and if there's any still visible, wipe it up with dry paper towel. The way to make a mess with oil (about the only way) is to apply it too thick, then leave it sitting on the surface for it to go sticky. Correct errors by wiping it off with a bit of white spirit on paper towel, but do it within an hour or two.
Four or five coats of oil, one a day, should do you.
Wax should be a hard finishing wax, not a soft cleaning or polishing wax (Liberon's Black Bison in neutral (not clear, which is a bit yellowish)). Apply it with a stiff brush, work it in evenly, then leave for 20 minutes. Re-buff it to develop the sheen, but don't apply any more. A few coats of wax, a few hours apart will be enough.
A good brush is a small stiff-bristled shoe polish brush from a pound shop. Natural bristle scrubbing brushes can be useful for bigger pieces. The bristles need to be stiff, or it won't buff properly.
If you choose to only wax the board, you can develop a lovely finish if you play regularly for a year or two. It's not so resistant to dirt or spills though. Beforehand you should sand it even more carefully, and to a finer grade - for plain wax I like to use the abrasive mesh (scouring pad) pads (Machien Mart). Grey is the finest.
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If the veneers are level , you do not need much sanding. Then you can sand by hand or use a palm sander. I also make chess boards. I make my own veneers which are about 3/32" when bandsawn and about 1/16" thick after sanding. I usually use a card type cabinet scraper to remove any saw marks, then sand with a random orbit sander. I start with 150 grit and work up to 220 grit. I then use a palm sander and sand with 320 paper. I spray 4 or 5 coats of dewaxed clear shellac.Then I wax and buff.My chess boards are in game tables, if yours only has a narrow trim around the veneered substrate,you may want to scrape and hand sand only.I am not familiar with kits, not sure how thick your veneers are. Be careful you don't sand thru the veneers, use a sanding block and if you are not sure what grit to use, then start with 150 grit.
mike
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