Reply by Rich

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Posted on scratches in finish

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4685 posts in 1039 days

#1 posted 09-17-2018 11:03 PM

I am finishing a Maple table with Waterlox Sealer /Finish. I have sanded down to 0000 steel wool between coats but the sanding scratches continue to show through. I am applying the finish with a lambs wool applicator. To say the least it is very frustrating. Has anyone else experienced this and how can I fix it without sanding it back to bare wood?

- swimbill

I assume your scratches are from the initial sanding. If you skipped grits and left deeper scratches from coarser paper, then you’ll have difficulty getting them filled with Waterlox Original alone. It just doesn’t build enough of a film to cover those very quickly. You’ll get there eventually, but, depending on the wood and how bad the scratches are, while you might get a smooth surface on your finish, in the right light those scratches can still telegraph through because of the way the light shows through the finish. For table tops I like to do my final passes with a block in the direction of the grain. That way, the scratches are less visible due to the grain. Maybe less so in maple however.

If you switch to their urethane, you’ll get a faster build. Like I said though, while you might get a finish that looks perfect in raked light, in real world lighting you might still perceive some irregularities.

BTW, using Waterlox Original topped with 3 or 4 coats of their urethane is a good combination since you get the depth from the oil in the original and the durability of the urethane.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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