First, after removing the dust, look at the wood in a low-angle reflected light – for example, from a window or a light fixture on a stand. A small random orbital sander, such as the Festool RO 125 Rotex, is usually used around the edges to clean up any sander marks left by the edger. A brush kicks the dust up in the air to dirty your shop and possibly land back on your work during finishing. We all sand with different pressures, number of passes over any given spot and lengths of time. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. Don’t get too aggressive. But there are two methods you can use as an aid. Sanding finer than #180 or #220 is wasted effort in most cases, as explained in the text. Sandpaper Abrasive Selection In terms of sandpaper abrasives, a common approach is to start sanding with aluminum oxide sandpaper using a power sander and then switch to garnet paper for final sanding by hand. If you start out with a coarse grit, which creates deeper scratches, and jump to a fine grit you will only sand off the peaks of the coarse grit and not effectively remove the deeper scratch marks, resulting in a rough surface which will cause premature finish wear as the finish sitting on the peaks of the wood is worn off sooner. At this time typically most of the finish has worn off in the walk ways and dirt has begun to be ground into the soft grain of the wood. Second, it’s always the best policy to sand out the squigglies by hand after you have progressed to your final sanding grit (for example, #180 or #220), especially if you are applying a stain. Sand all main field areas with the drum sander on the first grit of your determined sequence. “Fine” is 80 and 100. Skip 80 grit and finish sanding with a 100 grit. You’ll have to learn by experience what works best for you. It’s a lot easier doing this than sanding the wood through all the grits to #400 or #600. The “big machine”, which is basically a big belt sander, is used to sand the field of the floor. For both of these sanders, however, there are two critical rules to follow. “Medium” paper comes in 50 and 60 grit, this is what we typically start sanding most jobs with. Then open the sandpaper and wrap it around the block to use the middle. Sanding is very personal. We would start with a 40 grit, skip 50 grit and sand with a 60 grit. Most woodworkers use random-orbit sanders because they are very efficient, easy to use, and they leave a less-visible scratch pattern than vibrator sanders due to the randomness of their movement. We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. Cross-grain. Then a stain was applied and the excess wiped off. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Sand with the folded sandpaper until it dulls, flip the folded sandpaper over to use the second third, then refold to use the third third. Scratches are more visible on fine-grain wood like birch or maple, so go to 100-grit. The appearance and feel of the finish is all its own and has nothing any longer to do with how fine you sand the wood. Just get the wood clean enough so you can’t feel or pick up any dust when wiping your hand over the surface. The 13 steps to sanding your floors: Determine your grit sequence. “Coarse” paper comes in 30, 36, and 40 grit, these grits are mainly used for flattening of poorly milled flooring or flooring that has experienced a lot of movement, also good for floors that have a lot of scratches or UV damage. Pressing leaves deeper and more obvious squigglies that then have to be sanded out. As you can see in the video I sand the floor diagonally with the 60 grit. So you don’t want to begin with too coarse a grit because it will cause you more work than necessary sanding out the scratches. Try the floor with a 60g, if it becomes slow and difficult quickly then you may need to drop to 36.
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