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Thread: Steel Wool or Not?

  1. #1

    Steel Wool or Not?

    Just curious as to under what conditions would one use steel wool over very fine sand paper? Is leftover residue better or worse over either one? Which is easier to remove after sanding? What is the best way to detect residue after sanding? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritz eng View Post
    Just curious as to under what conditions would one use steel wool over very fine sand paper? Is leftover residue better or worse over either one? Which is easier to remove after sanding? What is the best way to detect residue after sanding? Thanks
    Steel wool clogs way less than sand paper. I prefer abrasive pads though, because they seem to be more consistent. Steel wool seems to leave the odd deep scratches more so than the pads. And the smallest traces of steel can cause staining in subsequent coats of waterborne finishes

  3. #3
    Steel wool conforms to irregularities on the surface, and can be useful on porous woods or curved surfaces; sandpaper might leave shiny spots it cannot reach.

    In general I believe there are superior options if you are willing to spend. Foam abrasive pads like Abralon or Indasa Rhynosoft, nonwoven grey, gold or red pads or polishing compounds like Menzerna or 3m do a better, more consistent job, IMHO without any of the concerns of using Steel wool under a waterbased finish.

    Vaccuuming and brushing is the best way to get rid of either residue on porous woods, IMHO.

  4. #4
    i use steel wool to sand and smooth the profiles on cope and stick doors. it's fast and easy, and breaks the sharp edges just enough, smooths the wood, and removes any glue residue. i've not found a better approach for these small profiles, nothing that conforms as well. red abrasive pads aren't bad, but steel wool seems to work really well.

    as already mentioned, if i'm going to use a waterborne topcoat, i'm very careful to blow off the profiles thoroughly. and, i tend to seal the wood with some form of polymerizing oil before going water based, so i'm yet to see a staining issue... but it's a real concern.

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