Sanding to what grit for painted project

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by paxorion posted 03-07-2014 05:55 PM 4055 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3106 days

03-07-2014 05:55 PM

Rather than hijack another thread, I wanted to know what grit I should sand a paint-grade poplar project to. I’m working on a step stool and I am at the point where I want to sand prior to assembly. What grit should I sand to? In the past I’ve always done 80 → 120 → 220.

-- paxorion

13 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4291 days

#1 posted 03-07-2014 06:00 PM

Along with that sanding routine, after sanding to 120, I wipe the boards down with a damp rag and let them dry. Then sand to 220. Smooth!

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30613 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 03-07-2014 06:26 PM

Paint is like any other finish. the smoother the surface that you put it on, the smoother your finish will be.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Wildwood's profile


2954 posts in 3195 days

#3 posted 03-07-2014 07:50 PM

Might want to start sanding Poplar with 120 or 150 grit sandpaper and finish with 180 grit before applying paint.

Would not think about sanding Poplar with 80 or 100 grit sandpaper unless surface really rough or lot of tool marks. Poplar is a hardwood, but very soft you can really create more work for yourself sanding with too coarse grit sandpaper.

-- Bill

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6932 posts in 3554 days

#4 posted 03-07-2014 08:29 PM

180 is about as high as I would go….

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3106 days

#5 posted 03-07-2014 08:51 PM

Thanks everyone, I just wanted to verify my routine. I’ll probably try starting with 120 and see if I need to step down to 80. I also have a lot of 220 paper so it will probably be my final grit.

-- paxorion

View rum's profile


148 posts in 3646 days

#6 posted 03-07-2014 10:31 PM

If you want it real smooth take it to somewhere around 150 and then slap a coat of primer on it and sand that back from 150, 200 through 320, and 400. Maybe repeat or at least put another coat of primer on (generally the paint still looks better imho if the primer is knocked back flat at least)

This looks nice for gloss paint, expecially on more porous wood.

For less shiny items I’d get less excited.

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3637 days

#7 posted 03-08-2014 12:52 AM

Painted projects? No higher than 100.
320 between primer coats. Using a good primer and paint is key.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 3133 days

#8 posted 03-08-2014 01:41 AM

+1 to recommendations to go light. Don’t sand too smooth on a prime paint job. With poplar especially you need a rough enough surface for the primer. You can sand poplar to a point it won’t take adhesion. I echo rum sand rough and then prime, sand your course after that.

-- Who is John Galt?

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3106 days

#9 posted 03-08-2014 07:19 PM

hmm, interesting thoughts. I should better clarify the project. This will be a child’s step stool assembled with glue and screws. The primer I will be using is Zinsser 123.

So it sounds like my game plan will be to…

  1. Sand with 120 grit until the surface is flat enough
  2. Pre-prime what I can (or choose to)
  3. Assemble with glue and screws
  4. Plug/fill holes and spot sand with 120
  5. Finish priming
  6. Scuff-sand if needed
  7. Put on the finish paint

-- paxorion

View bigblockyeti's profile


7205 posts in 2781 days

#10 posted 03-08-2014 07:21 PM

I usually used either four or five grits depending on the finish, painting goes to 180, stain, varnish, oil, poly, lacquer, etc. goes to 220.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3106 days

#11 posted 03-08-2014 10:34 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice. Seems like there are several schools of thought on the grit to sand to. With most saying sand to 180/220, others advocating for a smooth enough finish for primer to adhere to. I think I’m going to have to go with my gut and see how this works:
  1. Sand with 80? → 120 → 150? → 220 grit prior to assembly (any grit with ? will be subject to necessity)
  2. Pre-prime what I can (or choose to), tape off sections that will be glued and screwed
  3. Assemble with glue and screws
  4. Plug/fill holes and spot sand to 220
  5. Finish (spot) priming
  6. Put on the finish paint (2x)

The results will speak for itself once it’s in the projects gallery. Hope it will be soon since the stool is a birthday present to be delivered in mid-April.

-- paxorion

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2636 days

#12 posted 03-08-2014 10:46 PM

for paint….laquer, oil or latex? laquer 220 or 300+...oil 220. latex 120 or 220..latex is pretty thick

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3106 days

#13 posted 03-08-2014 11:41 PM

The primer I will be using is Zinsser 123, and I will be using General Finishes Milk Paint

-- paxorion

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics