Sanding Equals Smoothing

Adjust your thinking now, and consider sanding as a smoothing and polishing operation. In furniture restoration, you usually don't want to remove very much of anything. You just want to make the surface as smooth as possible before any finishing material is applied. Between coats of finishing materials, you want to remove any little bumps or imperfections. Finally, after all finishing coats have been put on. you want to give your masterpiece that rich hand-rubbed look. Thus, you want to learn to sand with a delicate touch, to achieve a smooth feel and rich appearance.

Most furniture surfaces are already relatively smooth. When you run your fingers over a newly stripped furniture surface, you feel only a slight roughness and, depending on the type of wood, some raised grain. More importantly, you don't want to remove much of the surface in furniture. Old well-aged wood has acquired a patina that doesn't go very deep, and which you want to preserve. And if you are working on veneered wood, you must remember that the veneer itself is only about '/32-inch thick. It doesn't take much sanding with a coarse paper to cut through it and expose the wood underneath.

There are three important aspects to sanding: selecting the right abrasive paper: performing the correct sequence of sanding operations; and, using the right sanding techniques and tools.

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