How much finish sanding is enough

My first wood piece- a step stool. Black walnut sides, mahogany steps (2) tops Oak stringers (4).
I have sanded with 60 then 100 then 150. 150 by hand. How much is enough and to what grit? I can't see any sanding marks. Should I wash the piece with water or blow it off with air before applying finish? Finish will be Tung oil. Any tricks/ advise before applying tung oil?
Thanks for a great NG.
First Project,
KB
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"K. B." writes:
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<snip>
Sanding out a piece of furniture is a lot like fairing out a sailboat hull.
There is an old saying that when your arms are ready to fall of from sanding with a long board, your hull if fair.
Same applies to sanding out a piece of furniture.
Seriously, last grit should be at least 220.
HTH
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Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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....and you should blow it off or wipe it off between each grit then get it real clean before finishing.
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On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 05:24:46 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

For furniture, I'd agree with your 220, Lew, but this is a stepstool and I wouldn't want it quite as smooth or potentially slippery. I'd leave it at 150 grit if it were my stool.
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Mooted by application of finish, but nice try.
If you're really concerned, put grit in the finish. Wood looks best without scratches bigger than the pores.

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with eyes & arms akimbo:

With a thick, glossy finish I might agree, but not with a minimal application of tung oil.

Dat it do.

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I agree using 220 grit for last sanding is what I also recommend. The sanding will impact details not visible to the eye like stain and finish.
Daniel

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K. B. wrote:

You won't notice any difference between 150 and higher grits. Spare yourself and reserve finer papers for in between finish coats. Spare yourself even further by scraping before 150. Scrapers cut fast, don't clog, don't pack the grain with sawdust, and don't leave deep scratches like 60 grit will.
No scraper? Use bits of broken window.
Don't wet the surface prior to using an oil-based finish. You'll just make extra work, and grain raising isn't needed with a non-grain raising finish.
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240 grit is worh it IMHO. Although I'd also favour the scraper instead.

A glass scraper is a good tool for removing old finishes, but it's not so good for surface finishing. The chip formation method is different (search - I've posted details before, or go and read either a textbook on engineering cutting tools or Hoadley). Instead of thin shavings and a smooth surface you'll get dust and a less than perfect finish.
Using a glass scraper is a like a badly-sharpened steel scraper. It's sharp, but there's no hook and the edge angle is too blunt.
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Your first grit should be one that removes ALL the flaws in an efficient manner. In other words if the piece is already in really good shape it's not necessary to start way down at 60 grit.
The sole purpose of all the other grits, since you have already gotten out the flaws and machine marks, is ONLY to remove the marks from the previous grits
Don't kill yourself with sanding. The major work is done with the first grit and as long as you don't skip grits and apply the first grit properly things should move along rapidly..
I prefer to stop at 180 grit, I know some that are comfortable at 150, and some that like to stop at 220. Find the one you are comfortable with.
Keep in mind that if you are going to stain, not applicable this time, the courser the grit you stop at the darker the color the is likely to be with one coat.
End grain, even with just finish and no stain, will end up darker then the rest of the piece if you don't sand it to a higher grit or use a sealer on it to keep it from wicking up lots of the finish.
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Mike G.
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first wood piece- a step stool.

- When the veneer you're sanding isn't there anymore, you've sanded enough. - When the edge banding you've applied has disappeared in a spot, you've sanded enough. - When your sanding pad shows the hook and loop underneath, you've sanded enough. - When the belt on your belt sander wears off, you've sanded enough. - When the finish you're applying pools all in one spot, you've sanded enough. - When your square table looks like an octagon card table, you've sanded enough. - When electricity bill triples from running the sander, you've sanded enough. - When you hit the stretchers underneath your tabletop, you've sanded enough.
Apologies, I couldn't resist. :)
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Thanks fellas for all the advise. I appreciate the time you've taken to reply. I've learned more reading your replies than you would ever know.
Many thanks (a quick dusting with 220 it is).
-- KB

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