How Much Sanding Is Enough

As long as you don't use a very fine paper you can sand forever. You want all surfaces to be smooth, with all sawmarks and sanding scratches removed. You want the natural roughness of the end and cross-grains eliminated.

You will be able to sec whether you have sanded enough when you apply your first coat of stain. If an area has not been sanded enough, it will appear a little rough and the stain will be darker here than on the rest of the wood. You will notice this particularly in Shaped areas that run across the grain such as carved table edges.

As you stain, if you find an area that was not sanded enough, you can fix it. Wait until the stain has dried completely; then sand the rough area with a 180 to 220-grit paper. When the area is smooth, re-stain the spot. Apply the stain carefully to match the color of the wood around the area. You can use a cotton swab to apply the stain, which you then wipe off after a minute or so. You may need several coats to match the color of the rest of the surface.

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