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Sanding


Ed Twilbeck

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Sanding. I have read the thread on sanding that was posted a while back. Well I thought that my 2cents worth might help some one. I use to build custom boxes and one of the main things I worked on was the finish. I would sand the box till it shined without any finish on it, just the wood. To accomplish this I went to 400 grit and higher. For sanding other than flat surface I used several things to help. Most of the time I used only Norton 3X paper, and wet dry paper. For wood sanding, Norton 3X paper cuts faster and last longer. I also found that some firm felt pads helped. I also used cardboard, the protective sleeve that the sandpaper came in. I would take spray adhesive and spray the back of the paper than attach the paper cut to size to cardboard, wood sticks, dowels sharpened in a pencil sharpener or shaped with a knife as needed. I had a set of rubber Contour sanding grips from Lee valley. There are also Norton sanding pads that work well in a lot of situations. They can be washed and used again. For wet and dry papers on metal I have used WD40. And I have used mineral sprits on wood. With the very fine grit on 400 you can get a shine and remove a lot of the scratches. There is also Tripoli brown buffing compound that you can use on wood. I have taken a Dremel tool on small carvings or on larger objects with larger buffing wheels and polished the wood to a nice shine and removed the scratches. Any comments will be welcomed. :)

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I too have found myself gluing sandpaper to various objects to help in sanding small places. I recently found that gluing cloth-backed sandpaper to 2mm foam (purchased from an art & craft store) using a flexible glue makes a very cheap alternative to the store-bought sanding pads.

 

Kelly

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Hi Janel, I have used mineral sprits to clean the carving after using the brown tripoli compound with a clean white cloth and never seen any thing on the cloth. Now there may be something there but i did not see any thing to harm the final finish. Most of the time the final finish was oil and wax.

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Hello, I have been reading on the topic of sanding & wanted to add to it also. My finishing techniques stem from experience in autobody refinishing & are a little different than I normally see with normal wood finishing techniques. I do both fine sculpture & chainsaw carving & with the fine sculpture the finish is "Glass Like". I normally fine sand down to a minimum of 220 Grit dry then I apply 2 - 3 coats of epoxy, wet sand down to 400 - 600 grit & then apply (spray) 2 - 3 coats of automotive polyurethane enamel for the gloss & UV protection if the piece is to be exposed to the elements. For examples of my work/finish please visit my website at http://www.robbinsamazingart.com

Thanks & I love to share ideas & techniques! Always learning! Robbin

post-113-1139651944.jpgpost-113-1139651976.jpg

I don't know if you know who this character is?

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  • 8 months later...

Hello.

Just the topic I was looking for. I work with juniper burl wood, creating small and medium sized organic sculptures. I also do a lot of sanding, from grit 60 to 80 to 150 to 220 to 400, gradations sometimes varying. I have to do it that way because the wood is very hard and dense and I can't use any electrical tools like dremel or whatever, causes more damage than it helps. Like firewoodstudio described it, after grit 400 the wood almost shines without any finish. But to intensify the colour and grain of the wood, I apply some oil after sanding. I've tried several edible oils with little taste and smell of their own. The point is that I want to preserve the beautiful smell of the Juniper but also have a lasting finish that doesnt get rancid. My favorite at the moment is walnut oil, but I have no experience with that for more than 1 1/2 years. I'd be very glad if anyone could give me a good piece of advice.

Thx in advance,

 

post-511-1163012157.jpg

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Dino- in oil painting especially, walnut oil is classified as a drying oil and will form a durable film. The other two chief naturally-sourced drying oils are linseed and poppy oil. If you do not want an odor, I would suggest poppy oil. It is also clearer than the other two. That said, poppy oil is rarely used on it's own as it doesn't dry to as good of a film as linseed oil.

I think you may be wanting to have your cake and eat it too (English expression smiley) by desiring a durable film to seal the wood and bring out the grain but still allowing the juniper oils to come through.

Think of a cedar chest- they are never sealed on the inside, in order to let the aroma come out.

 

I think there was a previous discussion of nut and seed-based drying oils on this list...

 

Is there enough oil naturally in the juniper that further fine polishing and buffing will bring out a depth of color on it's own?

 

-Doug

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Hi Doug.

 

Thx for the quick answer. For the cake: In Germany we say sth like "to dance at two weddings at the same time", which actually somewhat meets the point. I've heard of the poppy oil before but never tried it. I will do now. I have the feeling that linseed oil gets smeary after a while so I don't use that anymore. A good thing is that these Juniper Burls are so unctuous on their own that they don't need much from the outside and don't get soaked. When carving every chip shows a little drop of oil on the surface!

I also heard that fat from the nose is very durable but I don't produce enough for my purposes ;) Will get the poppy and make a search for other oil topics!

 

Thx,

Dino

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That's exactly where I saw it! Just received the catalogue a few weeks ago, but didn't remember. So they're even known in the US...

btw, not to be confused with the German rasp and file manufacturer Friedrich Dick, who produces very fine tools. People often think they're the same. Don't want to be a clever Dick (haha pun) but I really recommend their riffler rasps and others!

 

Thx again, Dino

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Like all former professional luthiers, I detest sanding. If I never had to sand again I'd be very happy. But I still have to do it on my carvings anyway.

 

On wood I follow the usual finishing schedule, up to 400. I much prefer SIA cloth-backed rolls for general hand sanding and sanding with a rotary handpiece, and free cut Stik-it rolls when making various shaped tools for hand sanding. I don't like using wet or dry on wood. It clogs too quicky.

 

Poppy oil is an even slower drier than walnut oil. Blockx oil paints, a very high end brand most of which are ground in poppy oil, are notoriously slow drying. The paints I use, made by Robert Doak, are ground in a mix of walnut and linseed and are slower drying than brands ground in linseed only.

 

True, poppy oil yellows a little less over time, but for this purpose any yellowing is likely to be unnoticeable. I've never heard of cold-pressed or alkali-refined artists' quality linseed oil getting smeary and it does form the strongest film once completely polymerized, though I doubt that matters much in this case.

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  • 2 months later...
Sanding. I have read the thread on sanding that was posted a while back. Well I thought that my 2cents worth might help some one. I use to build custom boxes and one of the main things I worked on was the finish. I would sand the box till it shined without any finish on it, just the wood. To accomplish this I went to 400 grit and higher. For sanding other than flat surface I used several things to help. Most of the time I used only Norton 3X paper, and wet dry paper. For wood sanding, Norton 3X paper cuts faster and last longer. I also found that some firm felt pads helped. I also used cardboard, the protective sleeve that the sandpaper came in. I would take spray adhesive and spray the back of the paper than attach the paper cut to size to cardboard, wood sticks, dowels sharpened in a pencil sharpener or shaped with a knife as needed. I had a set of rubber Contour sanding grips from Lee valley. There are also Norton sanding pads that work well in a lot of situations. They can be washed and used again. For wet and dry papers on metal I have used WD40. And I have used mineral sprits on wood. With the very fine grit on 400 you can get a shine and remove a lot of the scratches. There is also Tripoli brown buffing compound that you can use on wood. I have taken a Dremel tool on small carvings or on larger objects with larger buffing wheels and polished the wood to a nice shine and removed the scratches. Any comments will be welcomed. :lol:

 

I have also been able to sand wood until it shined without any finish, even curved or rounded surfaces. My favorite tools for detail sanding are purchased from Sally Beauty Supply. I use materials designed for use on natural and artificial nails. The nail files come in convenient sizes, shapes, construction, and grits. If I need narrower files or particular angles, I'll use a utility knife and cut them into the shapes I need. Because most of the flat, double-sided files have a core of plastic, several successive cuts must be made until the plastic is scored all the way through. Accurate, safe cutting can't be done in one pass. All of the nail finishing supplies I use can be washed repeatedly with soap and water and reused lots of times before wearing out. Because I've had such great success with nail polishing files and mini danding blocks, I hardly ever use traditional sandpaper.

My father is a luthier of sorts -- actually he does far more repair and restoration than creation of violins -- and after seeing the finish that's possible using materials designed for manicuring nails, he followed suit and how he's tickled "poopless" about the results he's getting, particularly on older violins.

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Hello.

Just the topic I was looking for. I work with juniper burl wood, creating small and medium sized organic sculptures. I also do a lot of sanding, from grit 60 to 80 to 150 to 220 to 400, gradations sometimes varying. I have to do it that way because the wood is very hard and dense and I can't use any electrical tools like dremel or whatever, causes more damage than it helps. Like firewoodstudio described it, after grit 400 the wood almost shines without any finish. But to intensify the colour and grain of the wood, I apply some oil after sanding. I've tried several edible oils with little taste and smell of their own. The point is that I want to preserve the beautiful smell of the Juniper but also have a lasting finish that doesnt get rancid. My favorite at the moment is walnut oil, but I have no experience with that for more than 1 1/2 years. I'd be very glad if anyone could give me a good piece of advice.

Thx in advance,

 

post-511-1163012157.jpg

 

This may be an oddball suggestion... considering you want to preserve the scent of juniper without having the finish get rancid -- but I would use cedar oil. Juniper oil and cedar oil are probably chemically related so it may be that use of cedar oil on juniper would help protect the wood, give a nice finish, and compliment the scent of juniper. Eventually, juniper scent would dominate and you would still have the benefit of cedar's protective oil

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Hi Cathy! Thanks for the tips! I did not know about washing the files to extend their usefulness, though I have started to use them in the past year or two. I'll give it a try! I also like the part of being "tickled poopless"! It sure is fun to share knowledge and witness other's pleasure of discovery.

 

Is your father still doing restoration and repair? Does he carve parts for the instruments? Does he have some wonderful old tools? I am curious about what he uses to finish the repairs, oh so many curious question more that I won't ask.

 

Is cedar oil one that soaks in, or does it also harden the surface and make the surface protected from moisture?

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This has been a really useful topic with great info!

 

I shall look out for some 'nail salon' tools as they sound like they could be really very useful....

 

although I am new to this forum I feel inspired to make a few obsevations, in no particular order;

 

When working on metals, particularly non-ferrous, you can get an excellent finish by usiing the finer grit 'wet-an-dry' paper or 'Emery' cloths and then use one of the kitchen scouring sheets/pads such as 'Scotch Cloth'.

 

In new, straight from the packet condition, Scotch cloth will leave fine scratches,...However, the effect can be modified by using a hand soap with a little water. Moreover, as the scotch cloth becomes 'fatigued' it gives a finer finish. This allows a range of finishing textures to be easlily obtainable. Scotch cloth type scourers can be artificially aged by placing on a hard surface and lightly/hard hammering all over. If one judges the amount of 'age' to a nicety then it's quite possible to duplicate a 'bead blast' or 'satin' finish on brass, if you use the scotch cloth in tiny, regular movements.

 

A mirror finish on non-ferrous metals is easily obtained, even by hand, if you use an automotive 'body cutting compound' such as 'T-cut' paste. This is a super fine abrasive in cream suspension.....put on a small amount, work with a paper towel or cloth, then wipe off residue,...repeat until you can see your face in the metal! I have personally had much more success with 'T-Cut' than with 'Triple E' when finishing brass musical instruments. 'T-Cut' like 'Scotch Cloth' is easily obtainable in any high street or street market etc.

 

There is no reason why all of the above should not be useable on the harder carving materials.

 

Turning to small detailed carvings,....I have found that it is all too easy to overfinish and give a 'glassy' look which in my eye looks cheap and tasteless. This poses the question of how both European and oriental carvers finished their wares in the eras before modern abrasive sheet was available.

 

In the case of those who made netsuke, they presumably finished by burnishing with metal burnishing tools. Burnished finishes are interesting to me in that they are not subtractive in the way of abrasives, but act by minute crushing of the surface structure of the material,..there is no dusty residue produced and it is possible to work in very small, fine areas. Finding out how netsuke, and more importantly to me, medieval european ivory carvings were made seems to be very difficult as there is little information to find easily.

 

Most of the traditional carving techniques are more or less lost to us now,...replaced by modern tools and products which give different results. At the Grinling Gibbons exhibition at the V&A in London a few years ago, I overheard the person 'demonstrating' the mostly modern carving tools, tell his spectators that it was usual for archaic carvers to use bull rush stems as abrasives, and that these were somehow flatened by an "unkown prosess" to facilitate use. He seemed extremely surprised to learn that the bull-rush stems are 'twirled' around the details of a carving so that they leave no fettling marks,..and that the most used abrasive in that era was shark skin followed by pumice powder mixed with chalk.

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Thanks for the very interesting and useful information, Bob. I received a sanding tool made by a western artist who makes the sword cases for Japanese swords. Fine work (failing to remember his name, but Jim knows him), special woods. The tool he sent was the "Indian Grass" reed that grows in sections and is very high in abrasive abilities. This plant looks as though it has very ancient origins. I used to use those segments to work on my saxophone reeds, much like sand paper. The tool was a small, flat surfaced, block of wood, with the reed sections cut into lengthwise strips, glued flat onto the block of wood. Thus, a sanding block of natural materials.

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Nail files. What a splendid idea! Have to try that!

About the cedar oil. There are two kinds of cedar oil on the market, one is made of sorts Juniper, Thuja and other conifers. This is the most common you can buy. The other one is usually made of Atlas (Cedrus Atlantica) or Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus Deodara) which are two of the four only existing cedar types. There are also Cedar of Lebanon and another one on Cyprus (Cedrus previfolia), I think. The point is, they are both used as essential oils, BUT only the real cedar oil is of no harm and quite rare and expensive, the first one is toxic. It contains large amounts of Thujone which is abortifacient and convulciant and well known for almost all Juniper trees. Hence the name Juniper from the latin compound of iuveni-parus "(too) young (early) bearing". But people use it believing they have "Cedar Oil" which is quite relaxing and harmless.

I also made some "handcaressers" of cedar wood and I really love the smell. But I don't think a crossing over with the Juniper would be good or wanted.

Thanks for reading Mr Wisenheimer

aka

Dino

 

 

post-511-1170879489.jpg Cedar of Lebanon

 

 

post-511-1170879548.jpg Atlas Cedar

 

 

But I went a bit off-topic, I think. Forgive me :lol:

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We met Mr. Wisenheimer on road trips when my family was on long driving vacations! I have not heard much from him in decades!

 

Thanks for the images of the pieces which do look wonderful to hold. The large grain features are also relaxing.

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We met Mr. Wisenheimer on road trips when my family was on long driving vacations! I have not heard much from him in decades!

 

:lol: Yes, he's helpful sometimes but he also gets on my nerves here and then. Wonder how you avoided him so long, I've got the feeling he's everywhere I go... :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

What about steel wool? I use 400 steel wool at the very end to remove the wood fuzz left after traditional sanding. It leaves walnut beautifully smooth and shiny. I then either use polyurethane for a glossier finish or teak oil for a more matte finish.

 

R.

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