Abrasives are Used to Prepare Furniture for a New Finish

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Abrasives are necessary to prepare a piece of wood furniture for refinishing. One of the most widely recognized abrasives is sandpaper, which comes in many shapes, sizes and grits. In order to effectively use sandpaper to remove the old finish from furniture and to prepare the wood for a new coat of finish, make sure to know some of the basic techniques that will help prevent you from causing any damage to the wood.

Always Sand with the Grain!

Using any type of abrasive, and especially sandpaper, should be completed with the grain of the wood, and not against the grain. Rubbing sandpaper against the grain can cause scratches and damage to the wood. Rubbing against the grain will result in a need to re-sand the furniture prior to moving to the next step of the refinishing process. So, save yourself some time and always rub with the grain.

Use a Sanding Block

A sanding block looks like a block of wood that has been wrapped in sand paper. Using a sanding block allows you to apply even pressure while sanding. Because sandpaper is an abrasive, you will want to use light and even strokes when you move the block across the flat surfaces of the furniture. Keep an eye on the sanding block and refresh the sandpaper with a new sheet as soon as it becomes worn.

Keep Plenty on Hand

Sandpaper is an abrasive that wears down relatively quickly. Therefore, especially for a large project, make sure to buy it in bulk quantities. This does not mean you must buy a case of it! Just don’t buy one piece at a time. Also, make sure you have plenty of sheets in varying grits.

Use Progressively Finer Grades

When you start sanding with sandpaper, you will start with a rough grit. Once the initial sanding is complete, you will want to move to a medium grit paper, then a fine grit paper, and then a very fine grit paper. The progression will correctly prepare the furniture for refinishing. Make sure to clean the furniture of all left-over abrasives, dust and debris between each sanding. A vacuum or a brush should be used for this purpose, and the furniture should also be wiped with a clean cloth.

Abrasives on Special Areas of the Furniture

Using abrasives such as rough grit sandpaper on decorative areas of the furniture, carvings, spindles, or rungs can quickly cause irreversible damage. In order to prevent problems, do not attempt to use a sanding block on delicate spots. Instead, cut a small piece of fine grit sandpaper and gently buff the wood using your fingers as guides.

Why Use Abrasives?

Removing old finish from a piece of furniture and prepping the wood for a new coat are essential steps in the restoration process. While there are many types of abrasives that can be used on wood, sandpaper is the most common variety utilized to prepare the wood so that it is ready to absorb a new finish.


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