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The Last Sand

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When you sand a piece of wood you'll notice that the tiny particles of saw dust are embbeded in the grain of the wood. you can see the grain filled in with the light colored dust. How do you get the dust out of the grain before you stain (or paint) the wood?

I am refering to the body of my guitar which I have sanded to 2000 grit sandpaper


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I've had good results with compressed air in aerosol form. Fine steel wool (000+) also works well. I've heard some people say that it leaves steel fibres embedded in the wood, but that hasn't happened to me. Sanding bare wood to 2000 isn't really necessary, btw. I go to 600 tops, even 400 is good enough. This gives enough "tooth" for finish coat adherance.

Edited by Southpa
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Putting finish on wood which is too finely sanded will cause it not to adhere well. If you're doing an oil finish then you're okay.

As for the particles, as mentioned, compressed air. Steel wool always leaves particles embedded in the wood, and a small amount of oil on the surface, so be careful with that one. This is especially true if you use a water based finish as the steel in the wool will rust.


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A tack cloth will leave a residue (sometiems silicone) that might interfer with finishing. I always use compressed air but I find that it takes alot, around 80 psi through one of those little blower thingys.

Very true, not all tack cloths are the same, and some leave residue behind, like your mentioning. The first guitar I ever did a finish on, I made the mistake of using a tack cloth, when I painted it, there was some areas where it wouldn't dry. I later found out that the tack cloth I was using wasn't exactly good for wiping off wood before painting. There are tack cloths that don't leave behind anything, and if you still want to use a cloth, test different ones out until you find one that works for you. Practice on scrap first!!!

I always have a air compressor hose with blower attachment handy, that I use to blow off the body, the key here is that you need something to remove the moisture from the air and you can buy an air filter/regulator that will do that. You don't want to get the wood wet, then the dust particles will stick, which isn't exactly helping the problem..

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