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Expert's Corner — grit

TIP: Sand Oil Finish Wet

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TIP: Sand Oil Finish Wet

For the ultimate in smooth feel with an oil or oil/varnish-blend finish, sand the finish between coats while it is still wet—that is, before wiping off the excess. You can use any grit sandpaper, but the finer grit you use, the smoother the result. I like to use 600-grit, but 400-grit also works well. Sand with the grain, of course. As long as you have sanded the wood to 180-grit or finer, you don’t have to sand much to remove the coarser scratches. The reason this trick works so well is that the oil acts as a lubricant for the...

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TIP: Vacuum For Dusting

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TIP: Vacuum For Dusting

The best way to remove sanding dust is with a vacuum because it doesn’t kick sawdust into the air as a dust brush does. You could also use compressed air if you have a good exhaust, but the exhaust is usually in a spray booth and that’s not where sanding wood usually takes place. It’s best to vacuum off the sanding dust after each sanding grit to remove all the coarser grit particles that may be left.

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TIP: Soften Sharp Edges

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It’s very important that you soften all machined or hand-planed wood edges before applying any film-building finish. The finish will peel away from sharp edges (as is shown in the example) if they aren’t rounded over a little. It’s also a good idea to soften edges when using non-film-building oil finishes. Sharp edges dent easier than softened edges. You can easily remove the sharpness from edges with several light passes using medium-grit sandpaper.

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