Light sanding after final coat? I'm using GF Enduro Var

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Forum topic by shawnSK posted 04-14-2020 05:47 PM 738 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 372 days

04-14-2020 05:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: enduro var sanding

I’m new to finishing in general. I’ve stained a few things before but never really paid attention to the process.
So, right now I’ve put two coats on a tool box I’m making. General Finishes Enduro Var. I sanded to 220 and wiped clean before the first coat. I sanded lightly with 220 before the second coat. I’m just about to put on a third and final coat and sanded lightly with 600 grit as was suggested by a Google search. Any rough areas got an extra light swipe with 600. All the wood feels fantastic, really smooth, definitely smooth enough for a tool box.
My question… if any areas feel a little rough after the third coat, do people generally sand it down once more? I’m sanding by hand and by sanding I mean tiny little swipes. It’s mostly pretty smooth. I have some paste wax on hand I’ll probably wipe over the whole thing once it dries too.


-- Shawn, Saskatchewan

12 replies so far

View Andre's profile


4307 posts in 2819 days

#1 posted 04-14-2020 06:03 PM

Depends on how rough and purpose of the project? Shop project, good enough most times, Box for a gift perhaps some extra attention? I usually use a foam applicator for finally coat after a soft rub with a cotton cloth or nylon scouring pad. tack cloth is handy to remove any dust.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View controlfreak's profile


1796 posts in 615 days

#2 posted 04-14-2020 06:17 PM

I call sanding after a finish is applied “knocking the hair off”. As long as you are removing all the “hair” by blowing off and wiping with a clean tack cloth you can stop when is silky smooth and looks good. What sucks is when you get to that point on what should be the last coat a fan or wind stirs up some dust. There is always the dreaded fly or bug too. When I was a house painter a fly or bee would always land in the middle of a fresh painted door and start spinning in circles. I found that if I shot about a two second spray of pesticides into a gallon of paint they would avoid it.

View bilyo's profile (online now)


1311 posts in 2116 days

#3 posted 04-14-2020 06:46 PM

With proper prep, as you have done, most finishes will level nicely and require little or no follow-up sanding and/or rubbing. If you want to give it some special attention (“knock the hair off” as controlfreak says) you can rub it with 1000 and 2000 grit wet/dry paper and then even use rubbing compound if you want to go further. Then follow up with some paste wax.

View splintergroup's profile


4712 posts in 2235 days

#4 posted 04-14-2020 07:05 PM

Even though it’s a shop item, it’s always nice to at least see what you can do if you are not experienced with a procedure or brand of finish.

I’d hit the surfaces with a fine grit paper (220 is good) with a corked faced flat sanding block. Just give them a good swiping to knock down any dust bumps.

Follow with a complete rubbing with #0000 steel wool to kill any glossy areas (this way you know you have covered all the surface). You can then follow with a rubdown with an old cotton t-shirt (I like using the blue shop towels) to buff it out and get any gloss back.

It’s good training for your future non-shop projects!

View BroncoBrian's profile


896 posts in 2972 days

#5 posted 04-15-2020 12:56 AM

Any chance you know about wood lube? You rub it using steel wool and it will smoothen out the finish and give you a uniform satin sheen. Great stuff.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View bc4393's profile


104 posts in 2156 days

#6 posted 04-15-2020 01:27 AM

I use paint thinner to do that with poly. Comes out smooth as butter.

Any chance you know about wood lube? You rub it using steel wool and it will smoothen out the finish and give you a uniform satin sheen. Great stuff.

- BroncoBrian

View Aj2's profile


3685 posts in 2811 days

#7 posted 04-15-2020 04:31 AM

Shawn if you didn’t use sanding sealer try it next time. The sanding sealer drys fast and sand very easily.
The top coats will level out and build up much faster.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View pintodeluxe's profile


6319 posts in 3826 days

#8 posted 04-15-2020 05:03 AM

For furniture grade finishes, I wet sand the final coat with a 1200-1500 grit soft sanding sponge. They’re available at places like Woodcraft. Use warm water with a little dish soap. The soap lubricates the finish.
Work only with the grain, and use a light touch. Work flats and edges, but avoid corners.

I’ve been very happy with this process over the years. I can wet sand a chair or small table in about 15 minutes. It’s a lot nicer than waxing.

A tool box would be a great place to experiment with this technique.

In my opinion you should be using 800 grit or finer soft sanding sponges for scuff sanding between coats. When wet sanding the last coat, use the 1200-1500 sponges.

Good luck with it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View John_'s profile


251 posts in 2719 days

#9 posted 04-15-2020 03:55 PM

General Finishes makes great products AND they have great instructions. IMO 800 grit in between coats is way over kill. GF specs ”Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad to improve smoothness and adhesion

I have been using these sanding sponges from Amazon recently. $15 for 24 and the work well. Grit is listed as fine but the seller indicates 220 which is right in line with what GF recommends

GF Instructions:

View shawnSK's profile


39 posts in 372 days

#10 posted 04-15-2020 11:14 PM

Thanks for so many great responses. “Knocking the hair off” is exactly what I was hoping for. As some say, for a shop item, it was fine as is, but as my first project (and one that I’ll be handling often) I wanted something that’s a pleasure to carry about. I have some 1500 on hand, so I gave it a once over with that. Light pressure and with the grain. Then buffed it out with a t-shirt. It feels so good now. My hand glides along the surface and doesn’t catch on the finish at all. (Well, except in a couple spots with drips. Haha.)

You guys are great. Thanks for taking the time to share your techniques.


-- Shawn, Saskatchewan

View TechTeacher04's profile


459 posts in 2545 days

#11 posted 04-16-2020 02:28 PM

I have had great luck for years on my own and in my classroom using a paper bag or butcher block paper to burnish the surface to remove the dust nibs after the final coat. If the paper does not remove them I use fine sandpaper and then wax it.

Based on your process the paper bag should take care of it for you. Hope it works

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4169 posts in 2507 days

#12 posted 04-16-2020 11:44 PM

I do not use sand paper between coats, especially on clear wood finishes; unless I am fixing a MAJOR mistake or in early ‘sealer’ stages of making a glass smooth table top?

Like to use non-woven sanding pads to ‘knock the hair off’.
White pad is like 0000 steel wool, and behaves a lot like brown paper bag, is perfect on final coat. :-)

For inter-layer scuffing, tend use 3m Grey pads. They act like 600-1000 grit paper. Does good job of removing the shine on gloss coats and giving next layer excellent adhesion.

If need to remove a drip, run, or bug; I use painter’s nib file. Steck are fairly common, and found at some auto stores, and most every automotive paint supply. Once you learn how to use a nib file to remove defects on freshly coated surface, can use just about any single cut mill file to do the job. :-)

Have to use caution mixing brands of non-woven pads? There are major differences between different brands for grit sizes and colors. 3M tends to have finer grit than Norton in same color. Klingspor colors and grits are completely different.
Best to buy one brand and stick with it, or supply cabinet looks like kids jumbo crayon box?
Worse, Norton makes a black pad that is 40-80grit and will ruin clear coat instantly. :-(

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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