Before applying stain, all raw wood projects require preparation sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.
Preparation for Raw Wood Projects
See our video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood
- Sand open-grain wood (e.g., oak, ash, mahogany, parawood) with 180-grit sandpaper followed by 220-grit sandpaper.
- Sand closed-grain wood (e.g., cherry, pine, maple, birch, alder) with 150-grit sandpaper followed by 180-grit sandpaper.
- Remove dust with a water-dampened rag or oil-free tack cloth.
- Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption.
- Do NOT use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.
Reducing Grain Raise on Raw Wood
To reduce grain raise, dampen the wood with water after prep sanding. Let dry completely, then lightly sand with fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper.