Flexner on Finishing: Fine Sanding Myths

Flexnov13Why are you working harder than you need to?

by Bob Flexner
pages 62-63
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Sanding is boring. It’s boring to watch, it’s boring to do, and I find it boring to write about. But myths are fun to write about, and there are some big ones suggesting that sanding to a very fine-grit sandpaper produces better finish results.
So here goes on sanding.

Basic Rules for Sanding
Unless you are solely planing or scraping, sanding is necessary to remove flaws in the wood and mill marks left by machining. The basic procedures for sanding are pretty straightforward and logical.

Whether you’re using a handheld sander, stationary machine or sanding by hand, you should begin with a grit of sandpaper that cuts through the flaws efficiently without creating unnecessarily large scratches that will then have to be sanded out. Because mill marks and other flaws can vary greatly in depth, the grit sandpaper you begin with will also vary. But in most cases with newly machined wood, grits between # 80 and #120 are usually best.

Once you’ve removed the machine marks and other flaws, you need to sand up through the grits to #150 or #180, with your final grit going with the grain to line up the sanding scratches. The goal is to sand fine enough so the scratches don’t show when you apply stain or finish.

Articles: You’ll find many free finishing articles on our web site.
In Our Store:Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated with beautiful full-color images and updated, and “Wood Finishing 101.

From the November 2013 issue, #207
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