I’ve recently sanded down an old wooden table I’m rather fond of and finished it off with a high lustre polyurethane seal. I wish I could claim all the credit for the final effect – just don’t tell anybody I used ideas I gleaned from a retired London Painter living in the village not far from me.
• Work in the best light – That does not mean under blazing overhead light that shines back in your eyes. What is does mean is natural illumination streaming softly through doors and windows at a low angle. This emphasises the grain that you must accommodate, and turns imperfections into shadows that you can easily see. If you don’t have natural light available, set a desk lamp at one end of the bench.
• Choose the right sandpaper – Sandpaper comes in different colours, although there are no industry rules. Some suppliers use colour to highlight different grit size. Others use it to indicate different types. Choose three strengths of paper designed for the job in hand, so you can work progressively from coarse to fine.
• Use sanding tools – The chances of achieving a level finish using bare hands are low, because fingers are creative things, not mechanised machines. Use a sanding block for a smaller piece of work, and a power sander for a larger job. Bear in mind that power tools are more productive. Use finer grit paper to counteract the effect.
• Use a jig – Wrap sandpaper around a reverse shape to sand right into a tricky corner, and move your work gently up and down against it. Work carefully – the results can be quite dramatic.
• Check progress as you go along – Put a used nylon stocking over your hand and run it gently across the surface of your work to find rough spots. If you’re a guy though, perhaps you shouldn’t admit to wearing pantyhose in the workshop?
You won’t need to Find a Painter to do a hobbyist job like this. But you will need to get Painting Quotes on Mr-Skill for wooden doors and window frames. Trust me. I tried that. You don’t want to go down that road alone.