Paloma’s Sanding Tips

sander-in-use

  • First and foremost, safety is key. Wear eye protection and a breathing mask. Read the manufacturers instructions. Every machine is different!
  •  Apply pressure but not too much.
  • Do not stay on the same spot. You should be moving, slowly but surely. If you stay in the same spot you can make indentations.
  • I only use the sander on flat surfaces. For rounded or geometric details I do it by hand. Bummer, I know. It is time consuming but you do not want to flatten the features. I have damaged furniture details with a sander before. It sucks.
  • If you see that your sander is making marks there is something wrong. Check the sanding paper (maybe over used), the sander setting and your technique. It could be that the sander is full and needs to be emptied (yes, sanders have a box that needs to be cleaned, just like your cat). Or, maybe there is dust between the sander and the paper.
  • It is always a good idea to practice somewhere else. In fact, I would start to sand in the inner parts or the back. Not where people will see it first.
  • Have a plan. Don’t go “loco” with the sander. If you start jumping through sections you will have an uneven finish. Learned that one on jewelry class!
  • Stop once in a while to see your progress, examine the completed sections and drink some water. And yes, your arm is going to feel weird and tired.
  • How do you know when you are done? You should see that the surface is smooth; in fact, you should be able to feel it too. Depending on the wood, it should feel very smooth. The color should tell you as well. You may not have to take all the paint away, but you need to sand enough that the new one will adhere; unless you are doing a stain. If you are doing a stain, all the paint or old dye must go.
  • If you can still see the marks, scratches and dings, you will see them even more after they are painted. Especially if you are using metallic colors. Go back and sand some more. Or you may have to fill some cracks.
  • Why sanding before filling the cracks. Well, it really depends on how you want your end product to look like. If your chair was painted, I suggest you take the paint out first, so that the filler will adhere. Even if you just want to remove old stain to recover the natural wood. It’s like putting new frosting on a cake that is already frosted.
  • There are several filler products in the market. For me, the best options are the ones that will take stains or even better, the products that you can mix with the actual sanding residual (the wood powder on your sander’s box).
  • Before you apply anything. Wipe your chair, use a vacuum or mineral spirits.
  • Always read the products manufacturers instructions first as every product is different.
  • Less is more. Unless its diamonds of course. With a spatula, fill the cracks and remove the excess. Try to make the filler as flushed (even) to the main surface as possible. You will have to sand the excess away. Too little material and you will have to re-apply. Too much and you will have to sand a lot plus it will take longer to cure. Wait for the filler to dry, depending on the manufacturer, it could change colors to let you know its ready.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly with mineral spirits before and after.
  • Sanding paper comes in a variety of grits. The higher the number the less material it will sand, the higher the grit number the more it will take. Ex. use an 800  grit for minimal surface removal or 150 for jobs that requires more. Always work your way up with the paper grades, ex. 180, 220 ext.  If you have no clue what to use, the friendly store expert will help you pick the one you need.

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