Part 1 of 6 - Preparing the Surface
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are two primary methods of smoothing the wood to accept the
finish: scraping and sanding. Sanding is the simplest and
the one the majority of woodworkers are most familiar with.
Scraping, however, takes some practice, and in many cases,
a combination of both scraping and sanding is the best.
by going over your entire project with a hand scraper. This
will level off the surface of the wood and knock off any glue
beads. When scrapers are properly sharpened and used, they
will remove a tissue thin layer of wood with each pass and
in just a few minutes, bring your surfaces to a level of smoothness
that could require hours of tedious hand-sanding. For more
about sharpening and using hand scrapers properly, check out
our special How-To article entitled “Use & Sharpening Instructions
for Hand Scrapers.” Do be aware, however, that hand scrapers
will not work on end grains, so you'll have to clean these
spots up with sandpaper or a plane (a low angle block plane
is the best choice for end grains).
scraped your surfaces, begin sanding your project with medium
to medium fine (80 to 120-grit) sandpaper, then work your
way up to a very fine (150-grit to 220-grit) paper. The finer
the grit you finish with, the more prominent the grain pattern
of the wood will be…and the glossier your finish. Whatever
you do, do NOT use “cheapo” flint sandpaper, as the quartz
dust could react (unfavorably) with the finishing material
you'll be using.
sand, use full strokes WITH the grain of the wood. Sanding
against the grain will produce scratches that will show up
on your finished project as unsightly lines. Sand end grains
in one direction only -- this serves to “comb” down the wood
fibers. Finally, when you're finished sanding, try running
a nylon stocking (or pantyhose fragment) over your sanded
surfaces to help you locate any spots you may have missed.
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