Polyurethane wood finish is a popular choice for coating wood surfaces, protecting against scratches and water damage.
An orbital sander can be used between coats of polyurethane to achieve a smoother, more consistent finish. It’s recommended to use fine-grit sandpaper and take safety precautions. Using an orbital sander creates less dust and is user-friendly, making it a great tool for DIY enthusiasts and professionals.
How to Use an Orbital Sander Between Coats of Polyurethane
When using an orbital sander between coats of polyurethane, it’s important to follow the proper steps to ensure a smooth and even finish.
Here’s how to use an orbital sander between coats of polyurethane:
Step 1: Wait for the Polyurethane to Dry Completely
Before using an orbital sander between coats of polyurethane, it’s important to wait for the previous coat to dry completely. Oil-based polyurethane usually takes around 24 hours. It’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times. For water-based polyurethane, allow up to 6 hours to dry before sanding the surface slightly and applying polyurethane as the next layer.
Step 2: Choose the Right Grit of Sandpaper
For sanding between coats of polyurethane, it’s best to use fine-grit sandpaper, such as 220-grit. This will help smooth out any imperfections without removing too much polyurethane.
Step 3: Sand the Surface Lightly
Move the sander in a circular motion, applying light pressure. Be careful not to sand too hard or too long in one spot, as this can remove too much polyurethane.
Step 4: Wipe Away the Dust
After sanding, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any dust or debris. Wipe the surface with a clean, lint-free rag moistened with a mineral spirit, then wipe with a tack cloth to ensure it is dust-free.
Step 5: Apply the Next Coat of Polyurethane
Once the surface is clean and dust-free, you can apply the next coat of polyurethane. Repeat waiting for the coat to dry completely, sanding it with fine grit sandpaper, and wiping away the dust before applying the next coat.
Choosing the Right Sandpaper Grit for Orbital Sander Between Polyurethane Coats
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to use fine-grit sandpaper, such as 220-grit, for sanding between coats of polyurethane. This will help smooth out any imperfections without removing too much polyurethane. Using a coarser grit sandpaper can remove too much of the polyurethane, while using a finer grit sandpaper may not be effective in smoothing out imperfections.
Prashun Patel, a moderator on sawmillcreek.org, recommends using 400 or 600-grit sandpaper.
Safety Tips While Using Orbital Sander on Polyurethane
While using an orbital sander on polyurethane can be a great way to speed up the drying process and achieve a smoother finish. It’s important to take safety precautions to avoid injury or damage to the wood surface. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Wear protective gear: Wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and earplugs.
Use the sander properly: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the sander. Make sure to keep your hands and fingers away from the sanding pad.
Work in a well-ventilated area: Sanding can create a lot of dust, so it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the dust.
Keep the sander clean: After each use, clean the sander to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated.
Benefits of Using Orbital Sander on Polyurethane
More consistent results: Sanding between polyurethane coats can help achieve a smoother, more consistent finish.
Creates less dust: Using an orbital sander can create less dust than sanding by hand, making it cleaner and more efficient.
User-friendly: Orbital sanders are easy to use and require minimal effort, making them a great tool for DIY enthusiasts and professionals.
Using an orbital sander between coats of polyurethane can be a great way to speed up the drying process and achieve a smoother finish.
By following the tips and safety precautions outlined in this article, you can use an orbital sander on polyurethane safely and effectively.