Staining wood can bring out the natural color, feel and grain of the wood. Staining can enhance the beauty of old furniture in the house and give the entire room a new lease of life. Staining is the last stage that gives the furniture its new look. Before this is done the furniture has to be prepared to receive the stain and this process is called sanding. Though time consuming it is an essential step in staining. Here are a few pointers to help you through the sanding process.
Sandpaper is graded depending on the number of sand granules per square
inch of paper. The greater the number the finder the grade of paper.
Smaller grade number, coarser the sandpaper. This number is usually
printed behind the paper. Medium grade paper is used to remove the
existing finish from furniture and antiques. Fine graded paper is for
the last sanding of furniture just before staining the wood.
For delicate furniture and a fine finish it is best to use hand
sanding. Make sandpaper pieces that are large enough to hold with three
fingers. If you find it more comfortable wrap a piece of sandpaper
around a block of wood that you can hold with ease. Or you could use a
contoured sanding block that is easily available in the hardware store.
This block has grooves at the ends of the block into which you can inset
the sandpaper. Inspect the surface of the wood to be worked on, you will
see pores that form a pattern, this is the grain of the wood. Sand in
the direction of the grain never against it. Sanding against the grain
will cause scratches that will show up on finished wood especially after
Place the sanding block horizontally on the surface with the grain of
wood. Hold the block firmly and apply pressure equally as you move the
block too and froe. If you apply more pressure than needed the block it
will cause depressions on the surface. Even while using the mechanical
palm sander, a lightweight-rotating sander, hold it flat against the
surface and evenly apply pressure.
Before staining the wood dust must be taken off the surface. Use tack
cloth or cheesecloth made for removing dust. Once one side of the cloth
gets dusty, refold and use fresh side of cloth. To prevent tack cloths
from drying store them in plastic bags that can be sealed. As you will
be working with wood dust use a sanding particle mask to prevent
inhalation of dust.