Almost always there will be a few dust nibs sticking up from the surface, and a couple of places where the brush or applicator marks didn’t level out perfectly. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. You’ll find a few resources for learning the more advanced techniques at the end of this post. That depends on the look you’re after. Although it was completely cured and hard prior to my rubbing it out, I evidently had managed to soften up the finish with the Wool Lube and/or rottenstone. It gives him a better feel for how much finish he’s taking off and makes it easier to avoid sanding through the finish. The wax will “warm up” the look of the finish, increase the sheen, and help protect the surface from scratches. I have found that the simplicity and reliability of the various methods of applying shellac finishes consistently produce the best result. Again, it’s best to do the edges separately and with extra care not to cut through the finish. What I find remarkable about shellac finishes is that they can be rubbed out to a beautiful gloss by hand. After the rottenstone stage I just rub with a bare hand. Those of you who have heard of rubbing out a finish may associate it with hours and hours of painstaking work and difficult to master techniques known only to members of organizations with names like “The Absolutely Secret Society of Buffers and Polishers”. For international returns, please click here. Using lubricant slows down the cutting action of the steel wool, but it also makes it harder to judge how much finish you are taking off. Multiple coats fuse together into one layer, and they cure brittle and hard. Thanks to everyone who has  responded to my posting. Then, I put some soft cotton padding on the front half, folded the rear half down, and went to work on the back of that panel (which routinely faces the wall, but can be a "working" surface if desired). Alternatively, you can continue with finer grits of sandpaper and final rubbing with pumice and rotten stone to reach a high gloss surface (provided the finish you started with didn’t contain flattening agents, as anything labeled “satin” or “semi-gloss” does). Wipe away the rubbing slurry frequently to check your progress, and stop as soon as you have a consistent satin sheen. You have to wait until the finish is fully cured. I then waited a few more weeks for the finish to completely harden again, and started all over, this time replacing the rottenstone with a 3M automotive polishing compound called Finesse It II. It’s best to use the finest grit possible; in most cases, 600 grit will work well. I don't think it is economically feasible to conduct a final rubbing out in the shop with anything but a catalyzed finish. The Society of American Period Furniture Makers. By hand-rubbing your lacquer finish, you can take it one step further and give it a mirror-like shine. My only issue is that the use of shellac was employed widely in furniture after the pieces I wish to reproduce were originally made. Unfortunately not. With overlapping strokes make you way across the finished piece. Bob, I agree with previous posts. When I unfolded the top, I discovered to my horror that the cotton padding had left fabric marks on both of the tops. The process is called “rubbing out”, and serves the purpose of getting rid of minor imperfections in a surface film finish, such as varnish or lacquer, (sometimes) leveling the finished surface, and establishing a consistent sheen. Sand with the grain just enough to smooth out major imperfections. We proudly stand behind all of our products. You can rub out all types of film forming finishes, including shellac, lacquer, oil based varnish and polyurethane, waterbased coatings and catalyzed or conversion coatings. I applied two thin coats of Lacquer 3. My personal view is that, having created this conundrum, I am duty bound to bring it to it's resolution. Most of the time, you have to “finish the finish”. The wood has been sanded and stained (ebonized) 2. I am not in a position to invest in a spray booth and have become entirely disenchanted with brushed on lacquers. If you’re like most of us, the minute a newly finished project is dry enough to handle, you pick it up to proudly examine your accomplishment. The reactive finishes (varnish and polyurethane) and coalescing finishes (water based) are more difficult to rub out. There's also the possibility of rubbing through - - I certainly don't want to go there! Wool Lube is formulated specifically for use with steel wool, and helps make a smooth, even sheen easy to achieve. After a LOT of rubbing, I achieved a brilliant, glossy finish on the upper surface of both half-circle tops. But as we mentioned above, advanced rubbing out is more involved; if you’re new to it, we recommend further research. A couple of months ago I completed a Baltimore card table (Steve Latta's plan from FWW). At that point, I switched over to a rottenstone/water slurry and damp cotton pads. While I do lots of rubbing out techniques on lacquer, my approach to rubbing out General Finishes’ Arm R Seal is different. Festool sells a porous sponge which velcros to the sander. It is excellent because it about an inch thick with a rounded edge. Literally by hand. You may also return purchases to a Rockler store near you for store credit. Everything you are doing is pretty much on the money but you have encountered the ambiguous "cure time" or "dry time" of the finish. You also recognized something that I learned some time ago. 1. If I intend to finish the finish of a secondary surface, I do it first. Use this with the Finesse and you can't do better, unless you have time to hand rub. The final step to a great finish on your next woodworking project. These methods include using simple remedies for the vast majority of my work ( a brilliant sheen can be obtained from off the shelf varnish) to the more elaborate methods of working with shellac. Use medium to heavy pressure, and try to keep the pressure and the direction of your strokes as consistent as possible. You’ll need to use a type of sandpaper that won’t clog with hunks of dried finish. It is one thing to produce a good piece of furniture. That means waiting several days for an evaporative finish like shellac or lacquer, and at least a week for reactive finishes like varnish. To register, send your email address, your desired username, and your desired Forum password to [email protected]. I only used lacquer because I'm giving the table to my sister in Atlanta, where it will live in a front hallway. For those of us who have found ourselves immersed into the intricacies of finishing wood there should be felt among the cogniscenti a great pity. This produces a certain amount of heat and I have found that when the heat generated becomes uncomfortable it is time to back off. I am tempted to use my random orbit sander with a polishing pad to complete this job, but I'm leery of switching horses in mid stream. Please let me know if I am missing steps and if this is the simplest way to get good results! If I make another one of these (and I intend to do just that), I will plan to rub out the finish in stages, starting with the secondary "top" as Ken suggests. Master wood finisher Jeff Jewitt prefers the stearate coated variety for this type of rubout. To finish it properly is another thing. In a basic rub out, you just want to take off any dust nibs and smooth out any visible tracks left over from the application process.


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