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Expert's Corner — sealing

Fillers - When Smooth isn't Smooth Enough

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Fillers - When Smooth isn't Smooth Enough

So, you've just finished that stellar table top and you'd like to give it a 'smooth as glass' finish.  What's a woodworker to do? Why, 'Fill and Finish' of course. There are two kinds of 'fillers' - putty type fillers used to fill scratches, dents, and holes in wood, and grain (aka pore) fillers that serve to level out the surface of open grained woods. It's the latter filler that concerns us here. Woods such as oak, ash, elm, mahogany, chestnut, walnut, wenge, and teak are characterized as having 'open grain' because the wood pores are large. In contrast, 'closed...

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TIP: Polyurethane and Sealers

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Oil-based polyurethane is a very durable and hard-curing finish. It bonds well to itself, especially if each coat is sanded a little after it has dried well enough so it powders. This creates fine scratches, which improve the bonding of the next coat. It’s a good idea to do this fine sanding between coats anyway to remove dust nibs. But polyurethane doesn’t bond so well over finishes marketed as sealers, especially over sanding sealer. This sealer is good for use under non-polyurethane varnishes because regular alkyd varnishes gum up sandpaper. So to speed production, a sanding sealer can be used...

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