Sanding after final coat of Poly? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Default Sanding after final coat of Poly?

I believe somewhere in the search of the Forum I read where a few will sand after the final coat of poly with a super fine sand paper or steel wool, wipe off and then add a paste wax. I am looking at doing that.... stop me before I go down the wrong road.

I sprayed on 3 coats of water based satin poly with a HVLP spray gun, 220 after the 1st, steel wool after the 2nd..... 3rd coat is fairly smooth.


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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 09:27 PM
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I would try it and see what you think. You can't really hurt anything and if you don't like it spray it again.

What kind of steel wool do you use? I have some of the wool that is from China it breaks down into little short fibers or maybe I should say pieces. You can get some that is made in the US or Mexico I forget which. I know Woodcraft carries it.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 09:57 PM
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I’ve always heard you shouldn’t use steel wool between coats of water based. If any steel particles stick in the finish they will rust under the upper coats. One of the issues with sanding poly finishes is the heat generated if you go too fast. I’ve read that the best way is to use some water and a wet and dry paper in 400 or 600 grit but I haven’t tried it.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 09:58 PM
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I heard pumice..
ditto on the rust...

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
I would try it and see what you think..
My thought exactly. Not tried it, but have heard that scotchbright pads work well.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 11:13 PM
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I make picture frames for paintings. I use sanding sealer, start with 150, repeat down to 220. It I didn't get it really smooth, I would repeat the 220 with sealer. Then after applying stain, dry the piece out, then go back to 220. Read that going to higher number paper actually works against the stain because the ultra fine paper producs particles that fill in tho pores in the wood and impede penetration. I no longr use regular paper sandpaper but use the new 2M soft or flex-back sanding media. I also use some rubber sanding blocks with a variety of round shapes--this gives me very nice results in a very short time. I also use the filler shown (Australian), which takes stain as if it were the original wood. Last step is water based, wipe on poly, which I apply with paper towels, sanding very lightly between coats (usually takes 3 coats to get the shiny surface I like best.

I would not use steel wool on poly. Oops, left out a step, After sanding, I very carefully wipe off every speck of sawdust, and I am particularly careful about cleaning off dust bfore applying each coat of poly. Clean, baby, clean!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 06:17 AM
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Plus one on the Timbermate. They say it never goes bad even after freezing.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 09:04 AM
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Sand paper for auto paint goes up into the thousand grits. I have used that for sanding pens with a C/A glue finish. It works well. IF I can find it I also like the white version of scotchbrite pads instead of steel wool. Same results at the steel wool without the mess & metal bits. You can't "feel" the difference when you get past 220/300 but you can see it. Klingspor is a good source for sanding needs.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 09:12 AM
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You can use steel wool as a last step prior to waxing but you have to be very careful. The brand/type of steel wool you use as well as 'how' you use it makes a difference. Regardless of the brand, I would use nothing less than 0000 as a last step. It must be oil free!!!! I've had very good luck with this product from Rockler:

Liberon Steel Wool-#0000 Steel Wool | Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

There are other long fiber steel wools out there, but I've no first hand experience with em.

First and foremost, leave your project dry thoroughly. Give that poly a chance to completely set.
Off the shelf steel wool's as mentioned have a tendency to break down in use. You'll run the chance of embedding small steel fibers into the project. Very light pressure is the key when using any steel wool. Too much pressure or spending too much time rubbing in one spot will rut on you in quick order and with poly's ghosting comes into play. Ghosting is what happens when you rub thru a top coat of poly into the 'layer' below often leaving a faint white ring around the area sanded thru. All wipe on products and aersol's for that matter are thinned out considerably in order to facilitate the application. So often several more applications are required to achieve the desired finish or a workable thickness. I'm happy with using steel wool to just knock down the nubs and fuzzies prior to moving on with the finish schedule. I don't use steel wool's on semi-gloss, gloss or mirror finishes.

CherryvilleChuck mentioned wet sanding. This is my preferred method in conjunction with a automotive polish finish schedule when a top shelf finish is desired. Alot of work, alot of time and elbow grease required, but dang, the results speak for themselves. You could certainly use wet sanding to flatten out your surface prior to waxing and have a very nice finish! Works very well on satin finishes with up to 320-600 grit papers. Semi-gloss up to 1000 grit. The higher grits on serve to bring out the intended luster of the finish. Higher grits do not add to the sheen.

Stick mentioned pumice. I've experimented a bit with pumice/rotten stone and a felt pad. Having some really nice results. I just havn't gotten a good schedule (sequence of applications) down yet.

Just bout all finish schedules require two things. First, knowing what you want and second, knowing how to get there.

Good luck with whichever method/means you go with!!!!

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 09:51 AM
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After the final coat, I use the Liberon 0000 wool to apply wax. If there are small nibs in the final coat, I fold a square of kraft paper...paper grocery bag stuff... to get rid of them. For bigger nibs, the white Scotch pads do it. Then, the Liberon and wax.
For a really nice finish, you need a really good sanding job on the raw wood. I recommend viewing videos by Charles Neal on his "Trace Coat" method. It may seem like an extra step but, believe me, the results are phenomenal. Smooth as a baby's butt.
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