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Old 07-18-2009, 07:43 PM
mckenziedrums mckenziedrums is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 231
Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

Lesson learned... finishing small flat pieces is different than round things... Going to have to touch up the edges a bit on the lid after realizing the buffer I have is a bit much for such a small piece. Next time I'll use a small buffing bob or my benchtop buffer.

In any case... I'm going to do a future full tutorial based on what I know and I'm comfortable with. I just received 2 drum shells that I'm in charge of doing the finishing on so I'll document that as I go.

In the mean time.... here's what I did with the lid for the jewelry box quickly this morning.

If anyone is counting it's been a week since I sprayed the finish on. Truthfully I like to wait 2 weeks when I'm spraying Target coatings stuff just to make sure it's cured. Got a little impatient this time but it was hard enough to do the job. Plus I wasn't setting out to make this the absolute perfect finish.

Step one. Wet sanding. (We love sanding right?) I've tried orbital after orbital for wet sanding and I still can't get the results I get by hand. So I just go back to holding the paper and doing it the old fashioned way. For my high gloss finishes I typically start with 600 grit to make sure I've got everything flat.

I grabbed a glass of water... some wet sanding paper... and went to work:


Here you can see how the slurry is nice and smooth showing that the surface is good and flat:




A ha! Found a trouble spot here:


Dips in the finish will appear as glossy spots while sanding. In my case it's due to me not originally planning on going so glossy and I didn't fill the grain on the Wenge. A little planning ahead and busting out the grain filler would have solved this problem. I'm OK with some grain showing so I'm moving forward. After the 600 grit I'll typically move up with 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000... Since I'm playing shortcuts today I went from 600 to 1000 to 2000. Big jumps to be sure but I planned on using some heavy compound which would take out any of the scratches left behind by me being a bit lazy.

Typically I buff using 3M compunds and pads as seen here:



For drums my hand held buffer does the job nicely. I've discovered quickly this guy is probably not the best tool for the job when you're talking small delicate pieces. I won't be using it on the main body of the jewelry box that's for darn sure.



Since I'm a glutton for punishment and already had the buffer out I figured I'd use it for the lid since it's a nice flat surface and nothing fancy. It is however pretty small so I needed to secure it before taking a big old spinning disc to it. As you can tell by these poor beatup clamps they've seen a few buffing compounds in their days.



Over all it worked pretty well but I did manage to burn through a couple spots at the edges. Once the finish cures up a bit after being wet down and heated up I'll touch them up. For this particular project I used the heavy cut compound to knock out any scratches from the sandpaper and followed up with the fine cut to polish it up. After that it's time for the finishing touch.



A little cheesecloth full of finishing wax is just the ticket. I used to use automotive waxes on my drums but realized this is better since it's a hardening wax and offers just a little more protection for the finish. I buffed this off by hand rather than break out the buffer again. Though it would be easy enough to just buff in and you'd probably get a little better gloss that way.

After it's all said and done here's what the lid looks like:



Not a mirror finish by any means and a crappy photo but I figured I'd show that it's at least decently reflective. I'll put the drum shell in the photo tent when I do the tutorial to give a better idea of the finish that can be achieved by taking a little more time.

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