Waterborne Finishes and the Fuzz

Water-based finishes can cause wood fibers to stand up, complicating the finishing and sanding sequence. October 14, 2006

I am spraying up some test samples using waterbase stain and self sealing with Becker Akvaline 318. I have a lot of wood fibers sticking up due to the waterbase stain. This, of course, is giving me roughness and sanding problems down the line. I was hoping to find out how others deal with this or if there is anyone who uses Akvaline 318. Do you have some tips for me?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
I usually use oil base stains to avoid this problem and then topcoat with my waterbase finish. I often do some tinting of my clearcoats and effectively use them as an overall toner. If I have to use water base stains I will pre-wet the wood (with water - sometimes a dab of glue size added) and re-sand at least once, maybe twice, to eliminate the worst of the grain swelling. Then I will put at least one or two topcoats on before sanding again. This helps to keep from cutting through the stain.

From contributor B:
I use the 318, too. I recently tried a WB wiping from my Becker dealer and had a similar issue. I scuffed the stain lightly with 320, then put down two light coats of 318, sanded with 220 then put two more coats of 318 on and it came out pretty smooth. I can usually recoat the 318 within 30 minutes so it still went pretty quickly.

From contributor C:
I use the Beckers and I find that if it is maple or cherry and I sand it to 180 then one shot of the spray stain and one coat of 212/318 will only need a light sanding with 320 and one finish coat. Sometimes I even get away with no sanding.

From contributor D:
We've found that parts that have been widebelt sanded have far more problems with grain raise than those that have been orbit sanded only. Our standard practice is to use a very light wash coat, allowing it to dry completely before sanding lightly. This evens out the absorption of the stain and reduces the grain raise. Stain, dry, seal, dry, scuff sand, blow off, top coat or toner, sometimes a very light sanding, 2nd top coat. Almost all the WB sellers will say their top coat is self sealing - true but you will get a better finish using their sealer. Oak is probably the most difficult wood to finish in WB, and Maple is the easiest.