How To Prepare Wood And Doors For A New Finish – Sanding Guide

Makita Mesin Belt Sander

The most important part of repainting, re-varnishing, or renovating wood items is the preparation work to get it ready. If that stage is not completed correctly, then you can forget to get an excellent finish at the end because it just never works that way.

When you need to prepare your doors, windows, furniture, or any wooden household items to prepare them for a fresh coat of paint, varnish or to just take them back down to the bare wood, then there are some ways to do the work, and you’re living a bit easier.

A good quality electric sander will help you reduce the time and effort it takes to remove those unwanted layers of paint or varnish and give you the platform to renew whatever it is you are working on.

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For large surfaced areas that are nice and flat, then belt sanders are the best option to go with to get started on thick to medium paint layers.

By using the correct low grit sandpaper, a good quality belt sander will make short work of thick and stubborn paint surfaces that would normally take an age to sand through by hand and leave your arm feeling like you have received a dead arm from Thanos.

If you have only light layers of paint to remove, then go with higher grit sandpaper that will allow a finer sanding that won’t take too much off and mark the wood.

Keep a close eye on how much paint or varnish is left on the wood, so you don’t have any mishaps and go to far down into the wood.

Always try to go with the grain when sanding with a belt sander unless you are trying to take some of the wood off then go against the grain to sand it off quicker.

You can go for a cordless belt sander or a corded belt sander, depending on how mobile you want to be. The cordless models are slightly more expensive because of the cost of producing lithium batteries, but you can still find a good one for around $200 is you look around and do some research on the buyers’ reviews or through a power tool review site.

It is important if you are using an electric sander to try to get one with a dust extraction system with it. This will prevent you from sucking in all the fine paint and wood particles that the belt sander throws into the air when you are sanding.

Paint and wood dust can be extremely detrimental for your health and, in particular, for your lungs because the dust particles created are so fine they can enter your lungs very easily, but they don’t come out, making it a long term health risk.

Also, wear a dust mask and safety goggles to ensure your health remains the same as it did when you first started sanding.

Belt sanders with dust extraction systems are very commonly found these days, and you can get them even a low budget. They also reduce the time spent cleaning up afterward, so in a way, they pay for themselves.

Detail Sander

If you are working on wooden furniture, doors, or anything with intricately patterned details, then a belt sander will not be able to get in the small gaps and may end up damaging the shape or pattern of the wood so a detail sander should be used.

The detail sander has a smaller surface area for sanding and comes to a point at the end, enabling you to get in small areas and sand them down without misshaping occurring to the wood.

It is wise to use fine high grade 300 grit sandpaper to remove unwanted layers of paint from curved or patterned workpieces. This will take off the paint at a slower rate allowing you to keep an eye on it without going too far and into the wood.

Disk Sander

For huge surface areas like wooden flooring, then a disk sander will be the best choice because of there ability to sand large areas relatively quickly.

Large disk sanders are more expensive than belt sanders or detail sanders because they are bigger, more powerful sanding power tools, so they cost more to produce.

Always hook up the dust bag and wear a mask with this one as they produce fine wood dust at a fast rate.

Sanding By Hand

Unfortunately, this is avoidable with some wooden features and furniture because of the shapes and patterns of some wood; the only way to sand away the paint or varnish for a recoat is to sand by hand.

The same rules apply when it comes to sandpaper choice.

Thick layers should be sanded with a 60-80 grit sandpaper should be used to remove the majority of the layers before switching to a higher grit paper when you get you close to the wood so as not to damage the woods shaped or patterned elements.

You can use a soft foam sanding block to help you get into those small or tight parts of the workpiece.

Saving Time

If you are repainting a door or any wooden feature in your home, then you don’t need to take the wood right back to the bare bone.

You can sand it nice and smooth with high grit sandpaper around 260-300 grit and simply recoat it with your newly chosen paint.

Scratches Or Unwanted Marks In The Wood

If the item has scratches or marks that you want to remove, then you will need to make sure the scratch or dent is clean before adding a wood filler to it and sanding it smooth and level once the filler has dried and hardened.

Once you repaint it, you shouldn’t be able to see any indents or marks, and only you will know it was previously damaged.

Always read the instructions before you start using the wood filler for best results and approximate drying time so you know roughly when you should be able to start sanding the filler level.