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calitopgun

Sanding after staining, smoother

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I am building a platform bed using a torsion box top. I am hoping to finish this before Thanksgiving so thanks in advance for quick replies.

First I want to say I am a beginner and this is the first "fine" piece I have done, so be gentle. All the wood is furniture grade.

The torsion box was built out of birch ply with a tempered hardboard top and Birch hardwood outsides. The foundation is Birch ply. I am mostly concerned with the hardwood at this point (as I don't want to sand the ply any more at the risk of getting below the top grain layer).

I sanded the hardwood to #110, then #220 with a electric palm sander. I then stained the hardwood (2 coats) with Minwax Colonial Maple wood stain, but it turned out more red than I wanted (I know, I should have tested first, but I'm new at this). So, I made the third coat golden oak. I LOVE the way it looks now but don't like the texture. I was hoping it would feel smoother, like it did when it was raw and freshly sanded.

I also have a semi-gloss polyurethane that I had planned on using after the staining.

Please help me to get a smooth finish without damaging the perfect color I just achieved. Please don't assume I know the proper technique to employ your suggestions.

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Fyi...sand through the grits next time. 110 then up to 220 is a big jump and could be your problem? Can you see scratch in the wood from the 110 paper? The 220 has probably just kissed the surface leaving the coarser 110 scratch pattern below?

Is your stain oil based?

At this point, I'm thinking just building your first few coats of poly up (straight from the can, no thinning). Then a light scuff with 320 paper sanding between a few more coats, until your smooth. You want to achieve a build to seal in the rough.

-Ace-

Proper technique is usually learned in the school of hard knocks...(we all have been there) ;) technique is learned from outcome of many mistakes.

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Ace,

I couldn't see any scratch marks. I marked the entire board with pencil and sanded with the #220 until the pencil line was gone, then another pass, and so I took my time. My stain is oil based.

So you wouldn't sand first but go straight to the poly?

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I hear what your saying about the pencil line. However, a trace coat is the best way to identify high/low spots in wood for sanding (using a very weak dye solution to coat the entire wood surface). A pencil line can only ride over the top surface not getting into the low spots.

If you sand the wood now, you will remove the stain on the wood, which is a bad thing, its called a sand through.

Hope this helps. :)

-Ace-

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No, do not sand the straight stain. You need to put a layer of finish over the stain first or you will remove color, for sure. Ace's recommendation is good to build up a few layers then sand with 320. What you probably have from using the birch ply, even with the minwax stain, is little wood fibers or hairs standing up. Birch ply is notorious for this. I would recommend first applying a layer or your polyurethane with a a quality brush, then scuff the surface with a scotch-brite pad. Most of the time, this is enough to remove those hairs. Then go back and apply another layer of the polyurethane.

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Is #320 wet or dry sanding? Also after I do a layer of poly, then a light sanding, followed by poly again, do I sand at the end or is the poly the last step?

320 dry SCUFF sorta like a wipe....real gentle. You don't want to sand through to the stain. Stay off any edges while scuffing. After scuffing, I like to use a damp cloth (more dry than wet) to remove any sanding dust and let the surface dry off.

No don't sand your final coat. It should level out flat and smooth on it own.

-Ace-

You know when your finish is ready for sanding when it powders. If your paper is digging into the finish and clogging your sand paper, Its not ready. Could need another day to dry.

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update:

Thanks, it turned out great for a first project.

Made of birch with walnut plugs

Bottom foundation is 3/4: ply side with a 1/2" support inside

Torsion box is 1/2" ply outsides with 1/2" (going on sideways) and 1/8" ply (long ways) to make about 8" grids. Luaun skin on bottom. Tempered hardboard on top.

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