Looking for some direction here...
Should I finish sand (320 grit) before or after applying a sanding
1. 120 grit, 220 grit, 320 grit, sealer
2. 120 grit, 220 grit, sealer, 320 grit
If the latter (2), can I use my random orbit sander on the sealed wood,
or will that remove too much sealer so that I should finish sand
lightly by hand?
None of the above.
First, stepping between 120 and 220 is too large a jump and too get the
sanding marks from the 120 out with 220 paper you'll be sanding your
little heart out far harder and longer then is necessary. That is why,
even though the home stores don't seem to be aware of it, they make 150
and 180 grit.
Next, I see no reasonable gain by going above 180 grit and reserve 220
grit for working on the finish. All you want from the last grit is to
not see any sanding marks. If you want to go too 320 grit, well, it
won't hurt but I'm sure the time could be better spent.
Lastly, sanding sealer contains sterates, mettalic soaps, the purpose of
which is to make sanding the first coat of finish easier by keeping the
finish from clogging up the sandpaper. It does this by making the
results a fine powder and keeping it from corning, balling up on the
Do not confuse sanding sealer with pore sealer.
Other then all that you seem to be on the right track.
Not necessarily a good thing since it can also interferer with the
strength of the the finish.
Thanks for the reply. So, does this mean I should use the random orbit
sander with 220 grit to sand off the sealer? The term "Sanding Sealer"
must be throwing me off because a "sealer" just doesn't sound like
something I want to sand off!
sand by hand or you'll sand down to bare wood. Once you've
applied a sealer you don't need to use 3 grits. Just
lightly sand with 220. As you apply finish coats you can
switch to 320 for the last couple of inter-coat sandings.
That's up to you though I'd still use 180 grit and not 220.
Of course there are still two unasked questions. What are you going to
use for a finish and what benefit did you expect to derive from the
sanding sealer? Well, Make that three questions, what species wood are
Should be on the can. Something like sand to final grit, apply, resand with
That's the way I'd do it. The sealer's sort of an equalizer. It runs into
the pores, so that when you apply a stain you won't get greater absorption
in the end grain orientation, which, as we know, can happen anywhere on a
board with just a bit of twisted growth habit. That's why you sand it off
the surface - you don't really need it there, and it'll still be in the
I'd hand sand with the grain, most sealers are pretty soft and stearated.
Hi Mike, I typically use pure tung oil, but have recently been
broadening my horizons. Having heard that Shellac seals better, I
thought to give it a chance. My wood projects typically are either
hard and soft maple, mahogany, or walnut. I am currently working on a
peruvian walnut project that I would like to try sealer on. The
finish, this time of year, I will use is Waterlox.
Thanks for your time.
As with many woodworking things there can be many descriptive phrases
that can be used to cover two or three different functions.
Too put things in some perspective
Sanding sealer - As I said previously, something to put on the wood that
contains metallic soaps to make sanding the first coat easier by
preventing corning but can adversely effect the strength of your finish.
Sealer/conditioner (a Min Wax term) - something used to control
splotching when staining problematic wood IE Pine or cherry. These work
by partially sealing wood cells so a stain is absorbed more evenly.
Wood filler/pore filler - Something that is used, when using a surface
finish, to fill the pores of open pored wood IE Oak and Walnut
Sanding sealer can be used to control splotching when staining
problematic wood but you still have the bug a boo of the metallic soaps.
Better to use a sealer/conditioner or a highly thinned application of
the finish you are going to use or a one pound cut of dewaxed shellac.
Even better is to not stain unless circumstances demand it IE matching
existing furniture or room trim. Staining is not a required finishing
function. Many woods take stain well and, except for end grain, require
no conditioner or sealer. It's slays best to test a stain on finish
sanded pieces of project scrap before putting it on the project itself.
If you are using an oil finish, a finish that doesn't build, tung,
linseed, Danish, wood filler/pore filler are not needed. On woods such
as oak, walnut, and mahogany a filler will, well, fill the open pores so
the whole surface of the wood is flat and smooth. This can also be
accomplished by applying and cutting back, by sanding, the intendedd
finish until the pores are filled. On a tight grained wood like maple
this would not be needed. If you are going to stain it is best to do so
before applying a filler.
As an aside on the last, when I use a pore filler I like to use
crystalac water based. It dries clear and eliminates the need to match
Hope that helps a bit.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.