Preparing Wood for Staining
Jul 8, 2013 10:27:24 AM
In preparing the wood grain for sanding, first wipe the furniture using a sticky piece cheese cloth, tack cloth or soak a piece of cheese cloth in tung oil in order to get all the dust lifted that is specifically made to attract dirt and dust. Position the piece in a horizontal position so that you can sand in the same direction of the grain. Even though sanding tools make the job go faster, if the piece is an antique it is best to sand by hand. Scratching that is made against the grain will look terrible when stain is applied. Medium and fine grades of sandpaper are used in refinishing furniture and antiques. Use medium grits like # 120 and # 150 to remove old finish or scratches. Use fine grits such as # 220 for finishing the wood just before application of your stain. Sand the entire piece of furniture with each grade of sandpaper before moving on to the next grade. As you sand and change to a finer grit, brush off or vacuum up all sanding debris, and then wipe the wood clean with a tack cloth. Dust or grit caught under the paper can scratch the wood. If there are tight corners you can't get at with sandpaper, use a very sharp scraper to very carefully smooth the wood in these areas. Scrapers can leave gouges or scratches, so use them only when sanding isn't possible.
To sand round parts, cut narrow strips of fine-grit -- grades 5/0 and 6/0 -- sandpaper; don't use coarser grades at all. Wrap a strip of sandpaper around the part, crosswise, and pull the ends back and forth to buff-sand the wood. Move up and down each round, changing your angle of sanding as you work to smooth the wood evenly. Be careful not to leave horizontal grooves in the wood at the edges of the sandpaper strips.
Veneers and Fine Patinas
Smooth sturdy whole-surface veneers with fine-grit sandpaper, grades 5/0 and 6/0 only. On very thin veneers and wood with a patina, smoothing is best done with steel wool. The technique is essentially the same as for sanding; all you really need is patience. Start working with No. 0 steel wool if the surface is rough, and work up to Nos. 00 and 000 for the final smoothing. If the surface is smooth, use only the finer grades of steel wool. When switching to finer grades of steel wool, brush off or vacuum up all dust and steel wool debris, and then wipe the wood clean with a tack cloth or cheese cloth dipped and wrung out in tung oil.
After you have finished your fine sanding apply a Pre-stain wood conditioner or a wipe on poly that will seal the wood. Using one of these two products will seal the wood and prevent the stain from going on unevenly or blotchy.
Posted in Furniture Care