When we went to Florida early this summer, we first stopped to spend a few days with our good friends that moved there. If you look closely at any wood type, you will notice that it may be made up of many colors, tints and shades, so try and choose a color that best represents the piece overall, otherwise, you will go crazy trying to match” a wax color to the wood color. Stained wood furniture has an appealing look and is easier to maintain than painted wood. It is partially for the same reason that steel wool should never be used to smooth raw wood.
When you are working with furniture that you dont want to change the color of, then you are best advised to use a clear paste wax or a clear finishing wax. I quit using steel wool on wood years ago after I saw dark spots that turned out to be tiny steel particles that had rusted. Fortunately, many water-based products will adhere to just about any existing finish (except a wax finish of some kind), so they’re the best choice if you’re unsure of what your old finish is. You can see the wood is starting to look more brown and polished as the wax is applied.
Be careful, though——the rosewood is probably a veneer, which is thin and you don’t want to sand through it. Woods and wood veneers are, overall, very resilient——I really doubt that your table is ruined forever. With water-based finishes you shouldn’t use mineral spirits, which can soften the finish. OK finally you have a ten layered finish and since it had pimples you light sanded and tacked it and now it needs to be shiny.
Steel wool has been highly touted, but I’ve never much cared for it. My experience hasn’t been as great as some of the others who will respond but I, personally, prefer sandpaper. It’s a fallacy that lemon oil or other polishes feed the wood by returning oil to it. Most wood does not contain oil and never needs to be fed. Others have suggested steel wool but I’ll say it’s unnecessary for oil based stains. You can use a lubricant (soapy water, mineral spirits, mineral oil, or wax) with your steel wool, or you can rub without a lubricant.
But get it warm enough and the water is driven out, and the finish once again becomes lacquer rather than a water & oil suspension, so the discoloration is pretty much gone. I’m not sure if the wood really looks like barn wood, but it definitely has a weathered rustic look, yet is still very polished and clean (hopefully kind of Pottery-Barnish). It also is an excellent choice for knocking down the sheen on any finish that is too bright, especially around edges and on corners.
Stain the bare wood with a very small amount of stain on a rag, brush or cotton swab. Once the finish has cured, sand the surface with 600- or 800-grit sandpaper to shear off any dust pimples and to level brush marks and drips. Lightly sand the wood surface with a 220-grit sanding sponge to remove any splinters. I recommend letting it dry for a few hours before finishing it off with the tea rinse. Then in automotive wet/dry, I would pick up 320 and 600 for sanding between coats of finish.
Main disadvantage using steel wool is that you can’t level a finish with steel wool, so I usually Level it with 600 grit and mineral spirits, followed by 000 and 0000 steel wool to polish it up depending on how I want to control the sheen. Steel wool has a tendency to scratch or dull softer metal hardware, especially brass. Oil, on the other hand, is considered a penetrating finish because it reaches much deeper into the wood and leaves only a microscopic layer of finish on the surface. Lightly rub the sanded clay with the steel wool, then hand-buff briefly, to bring out a bit of subtle shine.
I’m no expert and I’ll admit that I usually cut corners when finishing something, but I recommend applying several coats, block sanding after each and running a tack rag over the surface. I love some nice rosewood, for sure, but decades of smoke and tinted furniture polish and wax and crap probably weren’t doing the wood a lot of favors at this point.
Someone gave me this tip when I built my wife a bookcase: instead of using fine steel wool or sandpaper, I used brown paper (from a brown paper bag) on my sanding block, after each coat of varnish. Established over 20 years our background in timber technology, fine furniture & polishing ensures you get the very best advice. Color the scratch, or larger blemish, with a felt-tipped pen containing a stain of the appropriate wood color. Staining wood with tea, vinegar, and steel wood really couldn’t be much easier.
Sanding the wood to that high of a grit results in a surface that doesn’t take up stain quite as well. A ROS is going to be a little bit aggressive and its all too easy to burn right through the finish. There’s no better way to revive an old finish without stripping it than to use steel wool to clean and then wax it. The gentle action of 0000 steel wool removes grime without cutting through thin finishes. This method will leave a glossier surface than one produced using 0000 steel wool.
Using lubricant slows down the cutting action of the steel wool, but it also makes it harder to judge how much finish you are taking off. Applying a tinted wax, such as, Pate Dugay , or Harrell’s Wax Polish, is also beneficial if you are wanting to disguise scratches and defects (try Wax Filler Sticks) , even out wood tones or shades, or improve the appearance of faded wood or wood finishes.
The best tool for putting the finish on the floor is a 10-in.-wide floor trim pad (about $6 at ). The pad we used is threaded to accept an extension pole, but we got better control holding it by hand. I’ve rubbed finishes out with 0000 steel wool and never had a problem with rust. Secondly, i wonder if there’s a disadvantage to using steel wool as opposed to brass wool.
If you want a satin finish take a pad of 0000 steel-wool, unravel it and fold it back into quarters. Because I didn’t want to do anything to permanent I just cut pieces of wood and put them on the (in)sides of the drawers. If you have areas that require filling and are using a filler that will accept a stain you will apply it after rough sanding and blend it with finish sanding. This level of finishing is appealing to some and you can stop applying shellac – simply skip to the rubbing out stage at the end and you’re done.