This is the third and last (for now) of my series of posts concerning the
refurbishing of the new maplewood table i just bought, and for which i want
to redo the varnish.
I know the polishing step, after applying a varnish on wood, is often
disregarded by some newbie hobbyists, which generally just apply two-three
of varnish (while sanding slightly between coatings to increase adherence of
the varnish), and then consider the job done.
However, i know that the proper way to achieve professional results is to
somehow polish the surface after it has been varnished.
I've got a couple of questions about the polishing step.
Should i polish only after the last coat of varnish has been applied, or
should i polish the suface between each coat of varnish?
Should i do some sort of polishing after the stained the wood (before
applying the varnish), to even out the irregularities in the staining job? I
remember the only time i applied stain on wood, i did it with a pieces of
kitchen cloth, and the result was pretty uneven...... Is it because i did a
bad job or because i didn't somehow polish the stained wood?
Also, what kind of fabric or material should i use for this polishing step?
I mean, what kindda of material should i get to attach to my sander/polisher
to do the polishing job?
It's called rubbing out the finish.
Each coat should be made as perfect as possible before proceeding to the
next. Sanding with 220 Grit sand paper is sufficient. If it is not perfect
you'll find yourself trying to remove flaws that are buried two or three
layers deep in varnish,
Problems with staining can usually be traced to either uneven sanding or
trying to stain an untreated wood that is naturally splotchy when stained,
pine and cherry for example.
Normally rubbing out a finish is done with a felt pad. A separate one for
each grit. Old fashion felt lack board erasers work well. If you get into
the automotive products a lint free cotton cloth will work. Old tee shirts
Note, don't get frustrated with the process. Due to the fact that varnish is
more scratch resistant then shellac or lacquer and rubbing out a finish is a
process of making finer and finer scratches on a finish, varnish probably
isn't the best finish to cut your teeth on but it can be done with
perseverance and elbow grease.
No you do not have to sand the stain. What I mean is that if the surface of
the wood is not sanded evenly and carefully with the same level of grit
paper it will give you staining problems. Many stains contain pigments meant
to lodge in cracks, crevices, and sanding scratches to give the color to
your piece. If you do not do a good job of having the whole surface sanded
evenly more pigments will collect in rougher areas then in smoother areas
and ruin the look. This goes double for cross grain sanding marks or
scratches. They will really stand out.
As an example, if you took three pieces of a wood like hard maple, a fairly
dense wood with very tight pores, and sanded one piece to 150 grit, another
to 220 grit and the last to 600 grit then applied stain evenly on all three,
you would find the 150 grit was darker then the 220 grit and you would be
lucky if you ended up with any color on the 600 grit because, when you wiped
off the excess, there would be almost nothing for the pigment to get trapped
by so they would, for the most part, be completely wiped off also..
You apply stain as often and as much, following the directions on the
packaging, as is needed to give you the look you want. Just remember this
stuff isn't suppose to be paint.
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