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World's Finest Sandpaper

June 21, 2015

Matt Jackson demonstrates how to use a paper bag as a buffer after spraying catalyzed lacquer on coffered ceiling parts

UPDATE from Matt:

I realize now that I failed to highlight the most important point of the "sandpaper'"tip: For a comparative grit number, plain brown paper would probably be in the p6,000 to p10,000 range for "fine-ness."

Using p2,000 grit wet-dry paper, super fine steel wool, or anything else will make the surface smooth, but changes the sheen of the surface, making it appear uneven.

Even if the paper was very expensive, I'd still buy and use it for the way it performs.


I don't know about you, but the only time I make any money is when I ship a job.

This morning while wrapping up these parts, getting ready to ship, for a coffered ceiling project, it dawned on me that there's a trick I've been using for years to fine tune the sprayed finish—well, it works for any finish. Most of what I do is sprayed precatalyzed laquer but, when spraying a batch of parts like this, some of the parts tend to get a bit of overspray build-up.

When I start at one end of a row and spray to the end, there's some overspray that lands on the first ones and from one row to the next, there's overspray that builds up.

And its just enough that you can feel it and hear it and it makes the finish rough and it holds dirt.

So what I do is use the world's finest sandpaper. And the best part about it is it's free.

A brown paper bag, or some packing material—just a simple rub and you can tell that the finish has gone from slightly dusty to smooth as smooth can be.

If you look closely at the paper after rubbing the finish, you can actually see build up. After you wipe the parts down, you'll see that it loads up just like sandpaper.

And like sandpaper, you just have to turn the bag, just keep going around with it and take the pieces from really good to as good as they can be.

—Matt Jackson is a master carpenter, remodeler, SketchUp Wiz, YouTuber, and contributing editor to ProTradeCraft. He lives and works in Rapid City, South Dakota.

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