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7 min read

Should I wet sand with polyurethane instead of water?

  

Maybe you have gone all over the internet to find a good and helpful answer to your dilemma of wet sanding. I assume that perhaps you mess up by putting a coating of polyurethane to your current do-it-yourself idea. You might think it would give you a professionally made piece, but it is not.

 

Don't worry, I have also gone through that situation, and I can help you fix your sanding problems. With the method I am about to tell you, you can make your DIY projects look like pieces made by professional woodworkers. All you need to do is be patient when learning. And, of course, you have to experience sanding first-hand so you would know what to improve later on.

 

Now, let's fix your issue.

 

The wet sanding technique:

I will first give you the primary use of polyurethane. It is a product that you can use when you want to varnish or give your wood-painted surfaces a brand new look. I don't really know about polyurethane manufacturers. Still, they often sell their products without providing proper instructions on effectively and adequately using them. But based on my experience, polyurethane can also be used as wet sanding.

 

Just like you, I have also messed up my first project. That is why I'm here to show you the proper way to do wet sanding. Before I even knew this technique, I used to sand my project and let it sit, waiting for it to dry for at least four (4) hours. The finished product isn't that good, but that was the traditional sanding method.

 

I have also tried another way to get a more quality finish by putting some polyurethane to the sanded wood surface. Still, the result is almost the same as the previous method.

 

Not until I discovered this hidden technique. If you plan to sand your wood surface, try putting a polyurethane and sand it immediately while it is still wet. I guarantee that it will give your old wood surface a brand new finishing look.

 

Bonus Tips and Tricks:

For a perfect finish look, try to use a slow drying polyurethane

 

I recently found out that the traditional fast-drying polyurethane that many poly manufacturers developed can give your wood surfaces a poor quality finish. It may be time-saving because you can use your project right away, but it produces a bad finishing look. Why? Fast-drying polyurethane can be dried in seconds. Suppose that you are painting your wood surface using a brush. The stroke lines coming from the brush would be visible to your surface, leaving nasty brush strokes in your finish. Fast-drying polyurethane is also prone to building puddles, smudges, and bubbles, as they don't have enough time to settle because of the fast-drying feature.

 

Sanding Technique

To have a good finished look at your project, you need to exert a lot of time, effort, and energy. When doing this project, I have discovered the secret to an almost perfect look at my project. It is to do it in a complex way rather than an easy way but poor quality finish. I know that many of us, and even some of my woodworker friends, really hate the process of sanding. Sanding is the method of polishing and making a wood surface smoother with the help of sandpaper. One of the many factors that we hate in sanding is the messy process. But, sanding is the most essential process when doing a wood project, so don't you dare to skip this method.

 

Methods of wet sanding with polyurethane

To have a finish and smooth-looking wood surface, you may want to try the method I have been doing for many years. This process is slurry sanding. You can achieve this method by diluting 50 percent polyurethane with paint thinner or mineral solvents. But always remember that you must manually sand your wood, and using any sanding power tools would not be recommendable.

 

Instructions:

 

1. Cover your wood surface with a full coating of polyurethane satin finish

2. Don't wait for your polyurethane to dry. Do the wet-sand technique immediately after covering it with a polyurethane satin finish. The wet sanding process will make the dust of the wood from sanding merge with the finish to fill in the small holes of the wood.

3. Repeat and continue with the process until all of the small holes in the wood are filled appropriately

4. In case the wood surface is being dried, coat another layer of polyurethane and carry on with the process.

 

This is one of the techniques that I have learned throughout doing various DIY projects. I have found out that wet sanding is the most efficient way to cover those tiny pores that may be visible after you paint your wood surface. See? There are a lot of things that can actually improve if you use my sanding technique. You can follow my given instructions and voila! You have a perfect finish of your wood surface!

 

Note: If you want a perfectly smooth finish, try to do my go-to measurement of polyurethane and paint thinner mixture.

 

Measurement:

- Two proportions of paint mineral are equal to one part of polyurethane mix.

- Mixed it all up, you can add more mixture to help you when you are sanding the surface

 

You can use bottles to pour in your mixture for more accurate and clean measurements of the mixes. I preferably use water bottles because it is easy to find anywhere in the house.

 

Step-by-step Process:

 

1. Put a generous amount of your polyurethane clear coat on the wood surface. Continuously do this until you are satisfied with the coat that you put on. Don't worry if it is dripping or building up puddles as you will sand it.

2. Start sanding the surface in different motions, be it circular or any motion that you will feel comfortable doing. Until you have achieved the smoothness of the surface that you want, you may still continue sanding it.

3. Buff the surface until it is dried. This is why parting your mixture is essential. It dries out quickly, and you will be able to buff it already.

 

This step-by-step process, I think, would be very much helpful, especially if you are a newbie in this kind of project. As you will experience later on, the whole process might not be as easy as one, two, three. If you've got no experience at all, you need to work harder for better results at the end.

 

This article was written for all the newbies and even professionals who want to try different sanding methods. It's great to personally explore a lot of various techniques or methods that will help make your wood have a smooth and almost perfect finish.

 

Woodworking is not easy as it may seem. You may cut the perfect woods and build perfect projects, but sanding is the most challenging part. A lot of people have gone through this struggle. And as early as now, let me tell you one thing-even if I give you the complete process of sanding, you will still find it hard at first. That's pretty normal. But don't worry, practice makes perfect. You will eventually learn how to do sanding easily.

 

How to have a smooth glass finish surface:

Do you know that you can achieve a smooth glass finish without using any spray types of equipment? You just need one thing, what is it? You will only need an ordinary brush. Gasp! Really? How?

 

Things you will need:

- Any ordinary but working brush

- Urethane Finish Picture

- Sandpaper with 320 grit

- Styrofoam

 

Process:

 

1. Coat your surface with a urethane finish using your ordinary brush. Don't worry about those little bumps. The sandpaper will take care of it later.

2. Wrap your sandpaper 320 grit in styrofoam and start sanding the surface

3. The dust that comes from the wood will cover your surface's tiny bumps and pores.

4. Make sure that you manually sand your wood surface to have a smoother finish.

5. Put another clear urethane coat on your surface for a smooth like glass finish.

 

If you opt to have a shiny and glossy look on your surface, this smooth-like glass sanding method is definitely for you. If you have done this correctly, you will be able to mirror yourself in the finished look of your surface as it has a glass effect. It will also look more sheer shiny, and you can see your reflection through it. But if you want to go for a slightly glossy and matte surface finish, you can try adding this step:

 

- Use a fine pad to slightly smooth the surface giving you a sheen finish look. Not so glossy and not so matte.

 

Finishing your project

To finish your first do-it-yourself project, you must have a smooth to almost perfect look of your surface. If you can observe, there might be a tiny spec of woods on your surface that you may have overlooked during your entire sanding process. Or maybe, the type of sandpaper that you've used is not appropriate for the wood. To get rid of those small woods that make your surface rough, get a piece of sandpaper in 220 medium grit and lightly sand the uneven spaces of your surface.

 

You can still use your excess polyurethane mixture for your surface scratches dilemma. It would help you cover the nasty scratches and make your surface look brand new again.

 

Note: In painting the scratches on your surface with polyurethane, make sure to use a brush with natural bristles. It will help avoid your surface producing and leaving tiny air bubbles in the area where you brushed the polyurethane mixture. You can continuously coat your surface until you achieve your desired smoothness. Remember to let the polyurethane mixture dry first before applying the second coating to avoid the building up of puddled mixture.

 

Sanding is the most crucial part of any woodwork. I have many friends who do woodworking for a profit, and sanding is laborious. But sanding can be learned by continuously doing and practicing it. It is still essential that to achieve a smooth and almost perfect finish of your surface, you must first know the essentials and types of sandpapers.

 

You can follow the tips in this article to make your project look better. Although sanding is a bit challenging, especially for newbies, practice will make your work perfect over time. You just need patience and hard work. Remember that sanding takes effort and time. There is no shortcut. What you can do is to look for resources that you will find helpful in your learning journey.

 

That's it. I hope that this article helps you do your project. Have fun exploring different sanding methods and share your experience with others.

 

Good luck with your first do-it-yourself project!


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