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Expert's Corner — hardness

TIP: Testing Your Finish for Hardness

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TIP: Testing Your Finish for Hardness

You can use architect’s pencils to test for finish hardness (scratch resistance). The lead in these pencils is rated from about 6 or 7B, the softest, to 6 or 7H, the hardest. HB is in the middle. You don’t need to buy all these pencils, just the middle five or six, because most finishes will test to one of these. To prepare the pencils sharpen them with a pocketknife, not a pencil sharpener. Then ground the tip of the lead perpendicular to the length of the pencil on fine sandpaper, or regular paper if the lead is close to flat....

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Rubbing a Finish: The Key to Quality

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Of all the steps in finishing the one that people seem most hesitant about is “rubbing.” Yet rubbing a finish is as simple as sanding wood, and rubbing is the only step in finishing that can raise the quality of your work from average to special. No matter how careful you are, you can’t apply a perfect finish. A brush always leaves brush marks, and a spray gun usually leaves some orange peel. Worse, there’s always some dust in the air that can settle and stick to the finish. Rubbing removes these flaws, and, in addition, improves the tactile qualities...

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