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Rub Throughs

John Bishop  Member


It seems like no matter how careful I am I will still break through the first sealer coat and kiss the stain or dye coat.

I am a sander thatís for sure. Have allways believed the first and second coats being flat and clean are critical to the success of the project.

Especially on tops we sand the first coat very aggressively to get it flat and no matter how careful allways seem to break through in a few spots. I am wanting to try to spray my first coat than not touch it at all between coats. Let it dry than second coat in hopes of getting enough build to avoid my breaking through. Has anyone tried this or do you have any other suggestions on this??

Sealer for tops is ML level sealer. It goes on heavy and wet. My first sand is with mirca gold #400 grit. If itís a top I use a DA with a 3M soft interface pad. Being very careful at edges. I get the same break through when hand sanding that first sealer coat by hand because I want it perfectly flat. I think itís a curse.

Since I sand so much I put on 3-4 coats of level sealer to get a nice filled look always mindful of maximum total finish thickness of compleated system to avoid an excessive film build and a failure.

Top coat with CV. Allow try and buff. Do you level sealer folks thin that product ML says not too and we do not but when itís chilly in here the results are frisky since the level sealer is so heavy. I understand itís made to be sprayed like that and it will not shear and atomized properly if thinned. Iím just curious if anyone has tried.

Thanks for help


3/26/18       #2: Rub Throughs ...

How about sanding not so aggressively?

3/26/18       #3: Rub Throughs ...
rich c.

I'd suggest you play with thinner and nozzle size so you don't have to sand so aggressively. I get real gentle near the edge on the first sanding. Maybe even leave it a little short of perfect to prevent the burn through.

3/27/18       #4: Rub Throughs ...

I suggest not "sanding" between coats as just thinking that your sanding has you in the wrong place. What you want to do is "scuff" between coats. Just applying an even scratch pattern to the full surface and removing any little nibs. Your not, (or shouldn't be), trying to flatten the surface between coats, it's already as flat as its going to be at that point, your just removing any defects and giving the second coat something to "bite" into. If you approach it like that you'll have few if any burn throughs.
Trying to flatten each successive coat is not only a waste of time and material, it's also reducing your overall build thickness. I learned this years ago the hard way sanding polyester finish on boat parts. It did not go over well when I had to go to the boss with parts that I had rubbed through the finish!

Only once you have all the coats on do you want to sand the surface thoroughly if your going for that rubbed out finish.

good luck,

3/30/18       #5: Rub Throughs ...
DanShaf Member

Sand with 320 grit, random orbital sander. Don't use the soft interface pad for sanding. You need a stiff backing pad.

There are two reasons to sand between coats, each of them different. You sand because you (1) as a corrective measure, to subtract from what you've sprayed, or (2) you only need to create a tooth for purposes of intercoat adhesion.

To use a soft interface interface pad for corrective sanding is like shoveling wet sand at the tidewater mark on the beach. Using a grit that is finer than 320 for corrective sanding only burnishes your finish, it doesn't have enough grit to be subtractive enough, (the corollary is that 220 or 240 is way too course and it will etch in too deep of a scratch pattern). Go with 320 for corrective sealer/primer sanding.

We also scuff to a smooth surface when sanding between coats. Start smooth to have your best shot at staying smooth.

The soft or mefium interface pads are great for Abralon and for scuff sanding but not for level/corrective sanding.

4/2/18       #6: Rub Throughs ...
Bill  Member


Are you putting a good break on your edges
before finishing? Also the sandthrough to the base is what would be there if it had worn naturaly. Maybe trying too hard as sandthrough is an attempt at replicate natural where.

View higher quality, full size image (4300 X 3088)

4/3/18       #7: Rub Throughs ...
John Bishop  Member


Thank u much to all. I am a recovering sand aholic 😁. The first step is admitting u have a problem. I believe I sand too much between as many mentioned. Going to try scuffing more between to maintain film build. Then I can get it on after a good film build and level that. Much happiness getting to sand flat.

Plan on trying abralon also. In past had problems sometimes when rubbing to a dull sheen it will burnish a bit from hard objects. Cuff buttons, finger nails and such. I have never succeed in finding a work around for this. Has anyone had luck in this area? In my part of country Ohio we donít seem to do much shinny work.

4/5/18       #9: Rub Throughs ...

a lot of it is how you hold the sandpaper. also try using the square sanding sponges. (the thin ones not the big thick ones) and just kind of wrap it around your hand so that as you sand the edge isnt dragging on the corners

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