hand-sanding cherry?


Hi,
I'm in the process of doing the final prep on a pair of cherry nightstands, and have a question about the level of sanding required. I used my ROS to move through 120, 150, 180 and 220 grit and have a surface that appears to look great under a raking light. There are no visible swirl marks that I can see, but I'm assuming they are there and will pop when I apply Watco's Natural to it.
When I try to do a final hand-sanding using 240 grit to get rids of the "unseen" swirl marks, I seem to add more visible scratches than I may be removing. I'm sanding with the grain using a felt pad block and am careful to apply an even pressure, but I've tried this twice now and keep getting some very fine visible scratches on the surface.
Any suggestions? Should I stop at 220 grit with the ROS, or am I looking for trouble with the swirl marks later? Maybe go with a higher grit for the hand-sanding?
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wrote:

bigger than the dia. of my ROS. Then put a 80 grit disk on your ROS and then stick the Scotch Brite on the that. It will stay on, but try on scrap first. I use red then grey. This also works for sanding out between poly coats.
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Tom wrote:

so do a test on scrap. sand to 220 and oil it.
there isn't too much point to sanding cherry much finer than that before finishing. what you can do to continue to refine the surface is sand with wet/dry sandpaper (the black stuff) with the surface wet with oil. if you sand to 220 or perhaps 320 dry, pick up at 400 or 500 with the wet sanding. this will give an amazing surface... work with the wood flooded with oil and wipe dry several times over a period of a few hours after each sanding session.
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To get an idea of how it will turn out, wipe it down with mineral spirits -- that will give you a little while to examine the surface for what a finish will show.
I've always sanded to 320 grit, but most recently have been trying to exclusively use planes and scrapers.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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What he said- scrapers. Cabinet scrapers. Until I tried them, I was a sander-junkie.
Scrape it, seal it, scrape it again very lightly- much better results than w/sanding. IMHO. Definitely the way to go where it matters, and faster than you might imagine.
J
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[snipped for brevity]

Yes. A higher grit than machine sanding. I'd go from 240 machine ROS to 320 by hand. With cherry I'd go to 400. Having said that, why hand sand if you can go ROS to 320?
I'm of the opinion that there are roughly two grit-steps difference between hand- and machine sanding.... at least from 180 on up.
I wouldn't worry about swirlmarks too much if you're going Natural Watco. If you were staining, you would have to be severely punished of course.
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320 will be fine for an oil finish, 220 for a surface finish. Unless you're thinking of burnishing the surface. You are absolutely correct in saying that directional scratches are more discernable than random scratches. Fortunately, they close up when some oil is absorbed into the wood.
Watco says to wet sand with 400 as you apply, should you care to. I'd rather have some diffraction from the pores, myself.
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Be very sure that there is no 'grit' left from previous, coarser sandings. DAMHIKT.
-John
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