Materials and Supplies
Sandpaper is used to flatten the finish and remove dust nibs and brush marks. Stearated aluminum-oxide sandpaper is in far the best product for sanding a finish. Stearated paper has dry lubricants that help prevent "corning" or the balling up of finish on the paper. YVet-drv silicon-c arbide paper balls up like crazy ii you don't use water as a lubricant. The trouble with wet sanding is the water slurry can make it difficult to see your progress.
I used synthetic steel wool on both water- and oil-based polyureihane. Traditional steel wool is not recommended for water-based finishes; it sheds steel particles that leave a mess and give the user steel wool slivers. Synthetic steel wool pads equivalent to 00 steel wool are widely available at home centers and hardware stores. Fine synthetic wool equivalent to 0000 steel wool is harder to find. I had good luck at auto-body supply stores and mail-order woodworking suppliers (see Sources, page 41).
Pumice and rottenstone are sold at some paint stores and at woodworking suppliers. Pumice is ground volcanic glass that comes in grades from IF (coarse) to 4F (fine). Rottenstone is even finer than 4F pumice. It's made of ground limestone (see Sources).
1. I use 220-grit sandpaper for final sanding on raw-wood. I always sand a little bit longer than I think is necessary. Then I vacuum thoroughly and wipe the wood with a clean, soft cloth until I stop getting dust on mv fingers when I run diem over the wood.
2. Use grain filler on open-pored woods, such as oak or walnut. Otherwise, after nibbing out, the pores will look shiny compared with the rest of the wood.
3. Before applying finish on any project, test different finishing options on scrap pieces of wood. Water-and oil-based polyureihane finishes look completely different. If the color doesn't look right or seems too bland, which is sometimes a problem with water-based finishes, use a sealer coal of clear, wax-free shellac or experiment with stains to warm the color of the wood before applying the topcoats.
4. I applied a gloss polyureihane on my tabletop because it can be nibbed to any sheen from flat to semi-gloss. I used a semi-gloss poly on the rest of the table. Vertical surfaces and legs don't collect the
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