Starting grit for finishing the finish (rubbing out) depends on how good
the surface is to start with. The first grit should be coarse enough to
to remove ALL the flaws as efficiently as possible. In other words it
can be anything from 80 girt to 220 grit.
Everything after the first grit is only to refine *take out the scratch
marks from the previous grit) the surface NOT to take out flaws.
Assuming a finish that only needed some light work with 220 grit paper I
would then follow up with 00, 000, 0000 steel wood then move to an
automotive rubbing compound followed by an automotive polishing
compound. Stopping when I get the gloss I want.
For those that want to jump on the above, NO, steel wool is not a
problem if used on the fully cured final coat of a finish. It is a
problem for indeterminate coats but not the cured finish coat.
Note, rubbing out is not done on oil finishes and I don't usually have
to use anything but the automotive products on a properly applied
shellac or nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
Further note, rubbing out the finish is a process of removing the flaws
from the finish then removing the scratches from that task with finer
and finer grits of abrasives until the desired look is obtained. Any
regime using finer and finer grits of any kind of abrasive will do the
job. I use steel wool because I find sandpaper loads up too fast and
steel wool is more economical.
I recently finished my bedside table project (Maple with Walnut trim).
Finished as follows:
Sand - 80 - 150 -220
SealCoat (to raise grain) - sand 220
WB poly (2 coats on body, 3 on top - both sides) - light sanding with 220
Light sanding with 220, wet sand with 320 Wet/Dry paper.
Clear Butchers wax rubbed in with 0000 steel wool.
Buff out with old tee shirt.
I'm really happy with the finish this produced - I was not going for a high
gloss french polish look and didn't get it - the finish is more subdued,
like a satin finish.
To get a high gloss you'll need to use the automotive compounds MikeG
suggests. Working up though the steel wools is a good idea, but I only had
Unfortunately, my wife spilt nail polish remover on one of the tops (she
wiped in up immediately) - looks like the damage is superficial, I'm hoping
steel wool and wax will bring the finish back.
On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 11:16:56 -0400, "Ian Wheeler"
|I recently finished my bedside table project (Maple with Walnut trim).
|Finished as follows:
|Sand - 80 - 150 -220
|SealCoat (to raise grain) - sand 220
|WB poly (2 coats on body, 3 on top - both sides) - light sanding with 220
|Light sanding with 220, wet sand with 320 Wet/Dry paper.
|Clear Butchers wax rubbed in with 0000 steel wool.
|Buff out with old tee shirt.
Similar to what I'm currently doing. Trying to do a "Furniture grade"
bathroom vanity. Carcase Birch ply, face Alder.
Birch finished with one coat Enduro Sanding Sealer and 3-4 coats satin
poly. Sanded 220 between coats and rubbed out with grey pad for
So far, Alder sanded 220, wash coat 1 lb shellac, sanded 220, 1 coat
SS, sanded 220, 2 coats poly finish, wet sand 600 and buff with grey
In my case, I'm not after high gloss and the finish with the pad is
fine. I was spraying with a HVLP gun and a tip larger than
recommended. A lot of the sanding was to level the finish. It also
agravated an old shoulder injury and I'm on vacation from this
|I'm really happy with the finish this produced - I was not going for a high
|gloss french polish look and didn't get it - the finish is more subdued,
|like a satin finish.
|To get a high gloss you'll need to use the automotive compounds MikeG
|suggests. Working up though the steel wools is a good idea, but I only had
|Unfortunately, my wife spilt nail polish remover on one of the tops (she
|wiped in up immediately) - looks like the damage is superficial, I'm hoping
|steel wool and wax will bring the finish back.
Yep, I know the feeling. Perhaps it was naivetι, but I expected
better resistance to chemicals with this product. I prefinished the
ply and used poly glue, taping the finished area to minimize squeeze
out. This didn't work out as good as hoped for and there was a bit of
foamed glue under the tape. Alcohol is the solvent for cleanup and
when I used it, it attacked the finish. Fortunately this was in an
area where a stack of drawers goes so it doesn't show.
Sooo, where I am now is after talking to Lois at CSS I've purchased
some cross linking additive that is supposed to offer much better
chemical and abrasion resistance. I also splurged on a second spray
guy with more appropriate tip size. (I hope).
When my arm gets feeling better we'll see how this works out.
If your question is limited to what grits and compounds to use AFTER the
final gloss coat is applied, I'm appalled at the responses that mention
the use of 80 grit. I wouldn't take 80 grit to a final finish unless I
wanted to ruin it. I start at a minimum of 320, then to 400. When I
don't want a gloss finish, I use gray and white pads also. For gloss
you can use 600, 1000, 1500 (wet), and THEN apply any of a number of
automotive polishing compounds. I use Meguiar products, such as their
swirl remover as the LAST product used to polish to a HIGH gloss. Go to
an automotive finish supply store for a complete inventory of Meguiar's
products. Or you can use pumices and rottenstone...
If you can't remove polishing residue from open pores, consider applying
a water based dye to hide the discoloration. It won't affect the
overall color of course, because you've got it sealed with the poly. If
you are shooting for a high gloss, I figure you probably don't have any
open pores, as that would distract from the finish.
No, appalled'ment is not necessary. He neither limited his question, nor gave
his starting point, nor really described the desired end product (degree of
sheen, grain or filled surface). All similar to most other finishing questions
here. With the lack of that detail, I don't see any responses that are out of
line. The same goes for your response, which, to avoid writing a book, assumes
a certain amount of knowledge that may or may not exist in the recipient.
Actually, he did. His original post was...
"I would like to fine sand the finish and then polish and buff
the finish. What size grit sand paper should be started and
what componds to finish the job?
I too was taken back by the recommendations for 80 grit, 220 grit and other
equally aggressive grits. The OP can easily post again and let everyone
know just where he is in the process, but it looks pretty clear to me that
he's looking for how to finish the finish.
I would not start with anything more aggressive than 600 and only then if
there were gross anomolies in the finish. Even with gross anomolies in the
finish, I'd be very careful with 600. 1000 grit will block down quite a lot
of unevenness. I'm not much of a user of steel wool, but that's because I
do a fair amount of automotive painting and one does not want steel wool
anywhere near automotive paint jobs. I just work my way up through
sandpapers. 1000 grit will act pretty quickly to knock down dust nibs, will
flatten out brush strokes, and leaves a surface that can be buffed or
polished quite well. 1200 or 1500 will make the buffing or polishing easier
but not everyone keeps that stuff around. I should think that for the steel
wool users, that 0000 would dress it nicely too, and leave the surface ready
for a rubbing compound. I use medium cut rubbing compound and swirl mark
remover and have had good results from that.
Sorry about not telling you about what type of sheen I am
looking for. The poly will be sprayed on at least 2 coats to
begin with then sanded. Another coat or 2 will be applied. Then
as with lacquer the table will be sanded to remove any orange peel
and dust. The final sheen should be a gloss smooth finish. The wood
is quarter sawn oak and wavy oak (this was filled).
About 2 inches around the outside edge of the table is sprayed black.
The reason for the high sheen is that it brings out the wavy pattern
and the quarter seen oak. I was not sure if the table should be
finished as if it was sprayed on using lacquer and how this is done.
If you have some names of products in mind that would be great.
thanks in advance
I'd treat it just like I was spraying lacquer. I wouldn't sand between
coats though. I'd build up the coats, waiting only for tack time between
coats. There really is no point to spraying on two coats, sanding and then
spraying on more coats. I'd spray on a tack coat, then I'd spray medium to
wet coats, depending on how it's going on, until I got the build up I
wanted. Let it dry and then hit it with 1000 grit or what ever you're going
to use to knock down dust nibs, etc. Follow that with rubbing compound and
swirl mark remover if you need that. Like I said in my earlier post, you
can use 1200 or 1500 to knock down the dust nibs or you can follow the 1000
with either of them. It will get you closer to the finished look, but the
rubbing compound will buff the marks from 1000 grit just fine.
If he is using Enduro Poly (which is what Compliant sells), sanding
between coats is required for proper results according to the
distributor. I've been reluctant to challenge them on this point, so I
sand between coats, albeit in a cursory manner.
Mike Marlow wrote:
Gotchya. I've never used the product so I was unaware of that. I'd
certainly follow the manufacturer's recommendations as well. I might check
with them to see if you can spray additional coats after each coat tacks
though. Generally, once a coat dries (in most paints and finishes) you have
to scruff it for proper adhesion of additional coats, but if the product
will take additional coats after just tack time then it's likely not going
to require that scruffing.
I agree completely with your comments, Mike. I've pressed the
distributor on more than one occasion about skipping sanding. So far,
they won't budge. Personally, I think that one could get by without
sanding if they re-coat at the proper time interval. However, since I'm
counting on them being more familiar with their product's requirements
than I am, I wouldn't take it upon myself to suggest to others that they
deviate from the proscribed schedule.
Another course of action might be for the OP to devote additional time
to testing various methods of application to see what seems to work
well. The only fly in the ointment being that finish failures may not
manifest themselves upon immediate observation.
Mike Marlow wrote:
I am not sure but I think the reason for the scruff sanding is based on
the recommendation that WB Poly needs to completely dry before the next
coat or you will get moisture trapped under the upper coats with cloudy
results. If the base hardens then the scruff sand will be necessary to
get the best bond.
It's not so much a case of being dry, since any finish should be dry before
you add another coat. More the way that the poly will cure, and the time
needed for that. With most there is a recoat interval, where the solvent has
evaporated but the curing is at a stage where it will somewhat fuse with
another coat. This interval depends on the product, temperature and other
variables. It's usually specified by the manufacturer. A few do specify
sanding between coats in all cases, either because they are conservative or
perhaps the recoat interval is too short and variable to make use of. If they
do require sanding, only experience with that product can tell you if
recoating will work. If you have the time, you can try with scrap pieces. When
fully cured, sand through the top coat, polish and see if there's a distinct
line between coats. Other tests can be done for adhesion, but this gives you a
Agreed. When it comes to finishes today, I stick to what the manufacturer
says. Sometimes you can get additional information out of them and
sometimes you can't - as in this case. So - I'd be doing the extra sanding.
Nah... I'd probably try a couple of test pieces so that the next time I
could do it my way...
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