Wood Finishing

Belt Sanders in Woodworking

 Belt sanders are not considered to be "instruments of fine woodworking" ... but maybe this is a mistake. There are plenty of times that an aggressive tool is required to make light work of otherwise tedious jobs. I discovered the real trick to using any tool, particularly a belt sander is to KNOW THE TOOL. When you realize this, you begin to understand it's capabilities, limits and drawbacks.

What I discovered is that a heavy grit on a belt sander is probably best avoided, unless you are actually planning to dig the garden with it or fell trees. 40, 60 and sometimes even 80 grit sanding belts will make mincemeat of wood very quickly. The can also leave  scratches and heavy gouges in the wood that are very difficult to remove. Lesson #1 - when using a belt sander, start off with a finer grade belt that what you think you will need. If you do this you will get a much better "feel" for what the sander and the type of grit will do for you. If you are removing a finish, this rule is particularly useful.

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Buying Finishing Brushes

 finishing paint brushI am one of those people who hate to admit that they don't know how to do something as simple as purchase a paintbrush. I can't tell you how many paint brushes I have purchased over the past 30 years. That is because when I buy paintbrushes, I either never seem to get around to cleaning them properly, in which case after about 2 weeks the bristles have about the same hardness as my ballpeen hammer or, they look so terrible when I am finished with them I just throw them out, which us not usually to hard to do as I didn't pay that much for them in the first place. Then I began to realize that the crappy brushes I was buying were not helping me in getting a nice finish on my woodworking projects.

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Wood Preparation Before Finishing

 You have just spent weeks, maybe months creating a beautiful woodworking piece, now its time finish it. If you are anything like me, you HATE finishing, which is not necessarily a problem but if you rush through the finishing you can destroy all the hard work you have already invested into your project. The very first thing you need to decide before you begin any finishing is ...... what do you want the project to look like, and what is the purpose of the project. Is it a dining room table, plant stand, a pen or guitar. Once you know the questions to ask, determining how, and what you use in the finishing process will be much easier. Does it need to be water proof, do you want a glossy, satin or matte finish, what about the color, natural or do you want to color the wood? All good questions.

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Finishing and Wood Conditioning

 Many woodworkers love creating things with wood, but when it comes to finishing they lose patience AND technique. The results of these projects are beautiful and innovative woodworking pieces, poorly finished, which then tends to spoil the overall look of the piece. Some woodworkers have found the solution, passing their work along to someone else to apply the finishing of the piece. This is a perfect solution, but not always available to all of us. So .... what are some solutions??

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