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Wet Sanding

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher



To prep the finish for the final coat or to just "get the trash out", wet sanding is the key to success. Wet sanding allows the finisher to achieve a very smooth and professional looking finish and also one that truly compliments the hard work we all put into our projects. Here are some tips.

  1. Be sure the finish is completely dry and hard before beginning.
  2. Use only "wet or dry" type sandpaper, making sure to keep the surface to be sanded wet at all times. P800 or P1000 grit is the right paper to start with.
  3. Using a sanding block will move the process along and will help to flatten the surface. I like a block tightly covered with flannel or thick felt to sand with.
  4. On large surfaces, sand small areas until done.
  5. A little effort really goes a long way when wet sanding. Check your results often.
  6. If you are planning to apply another coat, sanding in a circular motion or any direction is ok.
  7. If you are going to apply the final coat after wet sanding, a light final sanding should be done with P1200 in the direction of the grain when possible.
  8. My lubricant of choice for this process is odorless mineral spirits. However, water along with some dishwashing detergent added is a good alternative.


Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


October 12 & 13  Antique Restoration

October 19  Finishing 101

November 6  Coloring Wood





Visit Highland Woodworking's Online
Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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