Sanding Off the Finish

By Karl

Part of the Refinishing Process Includes Sanding Off the Finish

Sanding off the finish is one of the most important steps in the furniture refinishing process. In order to achieve a smooth surface, the process of sanding should not be skipped. It is not possible to obtain a smooth surface on wood by simply applying additional coats of finish. The only way to achieve a completely smooth surface is to sand the wood before applying paint or any type of finish. The underlying surface must be smooth if the desired finish is to be smooth – – there is simply no way around this!

The sanding process should begin with sand paper that has course grit. This type of sand paper is likely to cause scratches on the surface of the wood, but this is a normal part of the process. Once the old finish is partially removed with the coarse sand paper, you must switch to another piece of sandpaper that is not as course. Throughout the whole process you will gradually move from very coarse sand paper to very fine sand paper. When the sanding process is finally done, the wood should feel very soft and silky to the touch.

Sanding Off the Finish Takes Time

Using sand paper to remove the finish from an old piece of furniture takes time. Unfortunately, it is not something that can be rushed. Because removing an old finish by sanding must be completed in stages – using several various grit sand papers one at a time – it can take a while to achieve the best results.

It is impossible to accomplish a smooth surface on wood using a coarse grit sand paper. This level of paper is not designed to produce velvety results. This type of sand paper is excellent at gripping old paint or finish and scratching it off. Likewise, fine grit sand paper is not designed to be able to grip old paint or an old finish. Fine grit sand paper is to be used at the end of the process to achieve the desired smoothness. When sanding off the finish, make sure to use the appropriate grit sand paper during various stages of the process. Otherwise, the sanding job will not only take longer but you are also not likely to be successful.

Don’t Press Too Hard

It is common for people to think the harder you press with coarse grit sand paper the quicker the old finish will come off. This is not true. Applying too much pressure on sand paper can cause damage to the underlying wood. It can cause a person to not only remove the old finish, but also remove too much wood. This can lead to unevenness on the surface of the furniture.

Coarse grit sand paper can cause deep scratches in the wood if it is used incorrectly. The only way to repair deep scratches is with more sanding. And the more sanding that is done the more wood that must be removed to make things even.

When sanding off the finish from an old piece of furniture, make sure to evaluate the type of wood before beginning the sanding process. Different types of wood require either more or less preparation. Also, the surface of the wood should feel soft and smooth after the sanding process is complete, so make sure to evaluate the wood with the palm of your hand before deciding whether or not the job is done.

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