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Expert's Corner — grit

HVLP for the Win! The Bulkhead

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HVLP for the Win! The Bulkhead

You know, that wooden or big steel monstrosity with the rusty, peeling Bilco doors that swing up and open to your basement. As a residential painter, I usually find the bulkhead to be one of the ugliest items around the outside of my customer’s homes. So if you have one, here is how you can turn that big frown upside down. Here’s how I handle the steel monstrosity. The first key is to properly clean the bulkhead with a stiff brush. Maybe give it a good scrub down with damp rags. A quick scuff sand at 220 grit, and then remove...

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TIP: Washboarding

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TIP: Washboarding

The accompanying picture shows a very bad case of “washboarding,” the compressions left by jointers and planers, especially when they are not adjusted well, as is the case here. Washboarding is highlighted by a stain; it isn’t disguised or hidden. So it has to be totally sanded out before staining if you don’t want it to show.To remove washboarding efficiently, begin sanding with a coarse-enough grit sandpaper to sand through the problem efficiently, without creating larger than necessary scratches that then need to be sanded out. In this particularly bad case, you might actually begin with 60 grit, which is...

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Remove Watermarks With Steel Wool

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Watermarks can happen in all finishes after they have aged and become somewhat porous. The marks appear light gray to white and are almost always very superficial – that is, right at the surface of the finish. So one way to remove them that almost always works well is to abrade off the very top surface of the finish with fine steel wool or abrasive pad. Usually, the discoloration will be removed with very little effort, as shown in the two accompanying pictures. The downside of removing watermarks in this manner is that you may change the sheen of the...

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TIP: How to choose a sandpaper grit

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Sandpaper grits vary from very coarse to very fine. How do you choose which grit to use for any given situation? The answer is actually quite simple. In all cases you are using the sandpaper to remove a problem. So choose a grit that removes that problem efficiently without creating larger than necessary scratches that then have to be sanded out. For example, you would choose a coarser-grit sandpaper (#80 or #100) to remove severe washboarding caused by a jointer or planer but a finer grit (#120 or #150) on pre-sanded, veneered plywood or MDF. And you would begin sanding...

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TIP: Sanding with a Random Orbit Sander

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TIP: Sanding with a Random Orbit Sander

There are two large categories of random orbit sanders: electric and pneumatic (compressed air.) Both work well, though you need a fairly large compressor to power a pneumatic sander adequately. Random orbit sanders are easy to use; you don’t need much instruction. But there are two general rules to keep in mind for achieving the best results: Let the weight of the sander do the work. If you press down on it, you’ll leave deeper and more obvious “squigglies” that then have to be sanded out. Simply move the sander slowly over the surface in some pattern that covers all...

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