Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 194, November 2021 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Brown Paper Bag Trick for Spray Finishing
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

If you use spray finishing equipment, you know that having a little overspray floating in or around the spray booth is a very common occurrence. Since the finish is still fresh these pesky particles tend to settle on nearby flat surfaces making them feel like fine sandpaper.

For the longest time I would fret about this problem every time I used my spray equipment, hoping I wouldn't have to rub out the finish thereby changing the sheen of an off the gun finish. Because this happened so often, I would end up only offering the gun finishes as is, good for a kitchen table, etc.

Recently, I was at an Atlanta Braves game on a Sunday and sitting next to me was a chatty fellow, like myself, so I asked him what he did for a living. Turns out he restored antiques and so I told him I liked to build little boxes and such. Even though there was a baseball game going on, I turned my conversation into a "finishing game" and would ask him simple finishing questions like "sometimes when I use a spray can to finish a small project the finish feels like very fine sandpaper." After I asked, he looked at me and said, "all you have to do is gently rub the surface with the back of used sandpaper or brown paper bags from the grocery store. That will take care of it." Maybe it was the answer I was looking for.

After a few more questions the jig was up. "You sure seem to know a lot about finishing?!" I owned up to it and that is when the "game" was over, after the first inning of the actual baseball game. Of course I went straight to the shop and tried the paper bag trick on a project I had just spray finished and he was exactly right. It worked like a charm and I also made a really good friend that day.

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


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

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