Before you apply a finish coat, you want to be certain that the surfaces of the piece are smooth and ready for it.
Sanding If you have not stained the piece, you can sand as much as you want. If the piece is stained, sand with great care, because if you sand through the stain and expose the wood beneath it, you will be faced with some problems. Patching stain to an even color isn't easy, and you might end up rcstaining the whole thing. The best way is to sand the stained surfaces lightly to knock off any tiny bumps. Apply the first coat and sand again.
Tack Rag The very last step, before you begin application of the final finish, is to go over the sanded piece with a tack rag to remove all vestiges of sawdust. Do this immediately before beginning the final coat. If you let the piece stand several days between staining and finishing, be sure to do another wipedown on the day of the final coat. Dust will have settled on the surface during the interim.
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