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How do you finish your wood after sanding? Spray paint Rustoleum lacquer?

I’m curious to see how people out there finish their wood after sanding it... and what grit you finally stop sanding at. I made a handle out of leopardwood (see my other thread on here) and like the way it came out. I’ve sanded 150/240/400/800 then finally to 1000. Should I go finer, or is that about it? I read that mineral spirits should be used to clean it off, then use multiple coats of some sort of sealant. I have a spray paint can of Rustoleum clear gloss sandable lacquer - would that work, or should I use something else?
 
Usually P600 or CAMI 400 is enough, both are about 26 micron. The advantage to the European P grits is they have a tighter restriction on abrasive size, so they’re more uniform than the American CAMI. ie you stand less chance of getting an errant scratch from your sandpaper.

Normally I use P grits 150/180/240/320/400/600 then abrasive paste, but I don’t always need to start with 150, sometimes starting with 240 is sufficient. You can make your own abrasive paste or buy some, they’re all pretty much the same. EEE, Dr Kirk’s scratch freee, Hampshire Sheen, Ack’s abrasive paste. Just be sure to clean with mineral spirits as the have a wax base which could interfere with the finish. An abrasive paste will easily give the same finish as 1000 grit but a lot faster. I only use CA to finish wood handles so a sealer isn’t necessary. For projects that need a sealer I use 2 coats of either minwax sanding sealer, shellac diluted 50/50 with DNA, or Myland’s cellulose sanding sealer if I’m using nitrocellulose lacquer as a finish. Knock it back after each coat of sealer with the last grit of sandpaper you used or the abrasive paste if you used any, or even 0000 steel wool. Then you can use the spray lacquer for a final finish. You can seal with the spray lacquer but sanding sealer will probably be a lot faster. Some woods will soak up a lot of lacquer before you get enough to build up a finish.
 
I generally give 4-5 coats of Pettit 2056 Hi-Build marine varnish with UV filters.
Lightly sanding between coats.
More coats give a deeper look to the wood that is awesome and it's a tough finish.

I built a rowing shell and finished it with the same varnish - five coats on top of four coats of clear epoxy lightly sanding between coats. Took just under four months - gave three weeks between coats.


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I generally give 4-5 coats of Pettit 2056 Hi-Build marine varnish with UV filters.
Lightly sanding between coats.
More coats give a deeper look to the wood that is awesome and it's a tough finish.

I built a rowing shell and finished it with the same varnish - five coats on top of four coats of clear epoxy lightly sanding between coats. Took just under four months - gave three weeks between coats.


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Lovely work.


Greetings from Santa Rosa, CA
 
@CigarSmoka thanks for the response! I never heard of an abrasive last before this, but the concept seems sound to me. I’m looking forward to getting a few tubes from Amazon in the next few days. I’m a little scared of using CA - my understanding is that’s basically just krazy glue? It seems like it would be super difficult to evenly coat anything using that, and it would dry thicker when gravity took effect unless you somehow kept it spinning during the dry time... or am I missing something?

@sharktown now that’s a great looking boat! I’m genuinely impressed... I have a Jackson Kayaks Big Tuna that I use for fishing and spearfishing here in Louisiana, but I’d trade it in a heartbeat for yours! I like the idea of marine varnish - the luster it seems to give on the handle is really deep. How do you apply it? I tried using the lacquer whike spinning the handle while it was attached to a bit in my power drill - it costed evenly but I wish I had read this thread before using the lacquer so I could have saved myself the trouble of having to sand it down and use varnish instead. I’m guessing i could use a sponge or rag and spin for a few seconds, wait, sand, repeat?
 
CA works best on a lathe but I’ve seen people use it without. Truthfully I wouldn’t bother, the amount of sanding by hand would be more than I could bear, and it would be near impossible to build it thick and even enough for a deep high gloss. Wipe on/spray poly or spray lacquer would be far better without the piece spinning. I’ve got to remember that not everybody has a lathe!
 
@CigarSmoka thanks for the response! I never heard of an abrasive last before this, but the concept seems sound to me. I’m looking forward to getting a few tubes from Amazon in the next few days. I’m a little scared of using CA - my understanding is that’s basically just krazy glue? It seems like it would be super difficult to evenly coat anything using that, and it would dry thicker when gravity took effect unless you somehow kept it spinning during the dry time... or am I missing something?

@sharktown now that’s a great looking boat! I’m genuinely impressed... I have a Jackson Kayaks Big Tuna that I use for fishing and spearfishing here in Louisiana, but I’d trade it in a heartbeat for yours! I like the idea of marine varnish - the luster it seems to give on the handle is really deep. How do you apply it? I tried using the lacquer whike spinning the handle while it was attached to a bit in my power drill - it costed evenly but I wish I had read this thread before using the lacquer so I could have saved myself the trouble of having to sand it down and use varnish instead. I’m guessing i could use a sponge or rag and spin for a few seconds, wait, sand, repeat?
Well you wouldn't believe me unless I told you but I use a cheap 1" China bristle brush. You can use a 1" foam brush but I find it's hard to tip off on a small hande.
I used an epoxy roller on the boat then tipped off with a 4" foam brush as there was a lot of surface area to cover.
So, tug on the bristles and pull out any loose ones and make sure the brush is absolutely dry.
I apply a moderately thin coat evenly and tip off as soon as I have the handel completely coated. Just need to tip off to pop the initial bubbles. Then leave it for a couple of days.
Come back and the varnish should be completely dry then lightly sand with 400 grit. Clean off the varnish dust and wipe down with mineral spirits.
Apply the second coat, let dry, lightly sand again with 400 grit, clean with mineral spirits. Etc. Etc.
I go to 800 grit for a deep look that is tough but stopping at 600 or even 400 grit is ok too - just depends on how many coats you want to apply and how deep of a look your aiming for.


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