question about sanding

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DEFELDUS, Aug 5, 2003.



    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    what courseness or grade or whatever its called of sand paper would you guys recommend sanding a bass i stripped the original finish off with before applying a new finish? i used a 40 and a 60 grade to strip it, and i used a 16 just to see how smooth it would be in one spot, and it was pretty smooth, but ive seen some with grades of like 800 and 1400! what do you guys think would be a good one to use before applying a finish? (i will be doing a tung oil finish on it btw.)
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    you should probably work your way up to at least 220. I usually go 120, 220, followed by 320.


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    ok thanks man. im going to the local hardware store in a little bit and ill be sure to get some 220, maybe some 320 as well (its only 88 cents for 3 big sheets :) )
  4. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I don't know if it makes much difference but I've done this a few times and it didn't feel like I wanted 'til I went down to 400, and I went down to 600 last time since I don't do this for a living, not a lot of extra work at that point.

    BTW, what kind of wood is the body? If it's a softer wood (alder, poplar are my experience) try this trick (from Norm on PBS' New Yankee Workshop). After you're done with the sanding, take a barely damp (not very wet) paper towel and rub the wood down. The moisture will make the little 'hairs' (wood fibers) stand up as they dry. Then sand over once more with last grade of sandpaper you used before, makes it real nice and smooth, makes even staining easier (and btw, that pre-stain conditioner is useful, if you're staining before the tung oil).

    The damp paper towel trick did nothing when I was finishing a mahogany body, I suppose since its a harder wood. Those are the only three body woods I've tried so far (I'll be doing a black limba body soon), it worked alright (iirc) on a maple headstock, and I've done this on pine for my non-bass-related household projects.

    One last thing, before doing the finish, check out luthier David King's website (I think it's in the "How I Build Basses" section) for how he does a hand-rubbed tung oil finish, may give you a few ideas/pointers.