Sanding and Sandpaper
  Stains and Dyes  
  Shellac and Varinish
  Earlex Spray Station HV5500 HVLP
  Types of Wood I've Finished
  Great Finishing Articles

   Sanding and Sandpaper

This is a new page to my website. I started to research finishing when I made my TV stand. I'm not an expert on finishing but I wanted to past on the information I learned. The first topic that must be considered is sanding and sandpaper.

Sanding and Sandpaper - Like most woodworkers, I find sanding boring. The only problem is, its a vital step that must be done and done well. A little information about sandpaper might help to understand why it's so important.

Sandpaper isn't made of ordinary sand it is made of abrasive minerals like aluminum oxide or garnet that are glued onto a paper backing. These minerals have sharp points or edges, and that’s why sandpaper is considered a cutting tool like a saw or a chisel. The only difference between sandpaper and larger tools is that sandpaper can’t be sharpened.

 Most of the following information comes from Russ Fairfield.

Don’t buy cheap sandpaper!

The grit designations of sandpaper do not represent a uniform fixed particle size. Rather, they are a range of particle sizes; with the majority of them being the stated size. The number and size of the particles that are different from that designated depends on the equipment and the quality specifications of the abrasive manufacturer. A tighter grit specification costs more. Unless we have access to their product specifications, we have to rely on either price or experience to determine quality. Cheap sandpaper isn't necessarily a bargain because it usually has a broader range of particle sizes within a designated grit size, and it is the big ones that we don’t want because they leave deep scratches.

Keep it Sharp and Clean

Sandpaper is a cutting tool, keep it sharp and keep it clean. Throw it away when it gets dull. Don’t use a worn-out coarser grit as a substitute for a finer grit. Worn-out 120-grit is just that, and it cannot be used as a substitute for 220-grit. The spaces between the grit particles are like the gullets of a saw blade. The grit can’t remove wood when these spaces are full.

Don't Skip any Grits

Sand through all of the progressively finer grits in as fine an increment as available. Start with a grit coarse enough to quickly remove surface imperfections and follow with incrementally finer grits. Each successive grit erases the scratches of the coarser one before. It depends on the project but most of the time start with 100 grit then go through 120, 150, 180, and maybe 220.

Remove all the Scratches and Dust Between Each Grit

If we leave the scratches from the previous grit, we will be making it more difficult to remove them with the next finer grit. If we don’t remove the dust/residue from the present grit we will still be abrading the wood surface with it when we go to the next finer grit.


   Stains and Dyes

Don't be afraid to mix your own dyes. I think one of the best powder dyes out there is W. D. Lockwood. Woodworker Supply sells a powdered dye under the name of J. E. Moser's. My understanding is their dye is made by Lockwood but sold by Woodworker Supply Inc.

I purchase Ball glass jars, which are mainly used for canning. I get the wide mouth 32oz and 63oz jars. They are great for mixing, straining, storing, and many other things around the shop.




   Shellac and Varinish


   Earlex Spray Station HV5500 HVLP


While making my TV stand Woodcraft put this sprayer on sale. I've never used a sprayer before so I don't have anything to compare it to but for the price I love this sprayer. It's very easy to use and to clean. It sprays even and the amount of spray can be adjusted. I sprayed shellac and varnish and both worked without an issue. The varnish was Rockhard Table Top Varnish, which is very thick, so I deluded it 50%. I thought this was a lot but after reasearching the Internet I discovered this was the best percentage. Before purchasing the sprayer I did some reasearch on it and located several reviews. Here is one of the reviews I located, it was done by the wood whisper. The review is for the model prior to the one I purchased. The difference is the newer one has more power.


   Types of Wood I've Finished

Walnut - I made a clock out of Walnut. I finished by whipping a very thin coat of Boilded Lenseed Oil (BLO) and Dewaxed Clear Shellac. I love the way it looks. The BLO brings out the color and grain while the shellac covers it.

walnut clock


Mahogany - My TV stand is made from African Mahogany. The grain was rather straight and not to excising. I did a lot of reading about finishing mahogany and tried a lot of different colors. I almost left the TV stand alone and just covered it with an Amber Dewaxed Shellac. I thought about giving it the Bombay Finish by using General Finish Rosewood, but I didn't want it that dark so I chose a powdered dye by W. D. Lockwood. #333, Colonial Mahogany Red, Redder. I finished this project with a lot of different steps, which included different cut's of shellac, varnish, BLO and wood filler.

   Great Articles on Finishing

Bring Out the Best of Mahogany

Great Article on the Step of Finishing

French Polishing Demystified