Under the Sun Sanding

Finally now waiting for the second hot coat to gel and very excited indeed! After work last night I some how managed to get some thin light brown fabric to lap around a 10mm thick rail…

I like to trim my fabric to size and spend a bit of time working out how to make a single cut at each board rail change. Cut to many times and the ends fray out and can really spoil the finish or pattern.

Its important to time this right as you want to only give it a few hours between laying down the fabric but keeping so that the fabric is touching the core and not floating in resin

you may notice that the fabric is darker so wetted out but still has 70-50% of its texture. To fill in the rests without getting sanding dust specs in your finish you can try this cheeky trick…. Time a second epoxy fill coat after the fabric layer has gone only just stiff.

I like a cooler slower cure for my fill coats so I find it best in summer to lay the fabric down around midnight with a slow hardener and a clear setting epoxy. Then by around 4-5am it has fully tacked off (easily marked by finger nail) and I will brush on an other fill that will fill out around 98% of the remaining lows.

By not leaving it to much past the tack point you make sure the resin that is boning the board, fabric and fill coat will be chemically bonded and save any sanding bits getting trapped in a pocket and ending up in your finish. The above photo is one 13-14 hours after laying the first fabric down with the last few hours under hot sun to make sure its able to be sanded. I like to then hit things by hand with rasps and blocks make sure things come down quickly and evenly with a feel to if your hitting any air pockets or other trouble areas.

Mid way in and most of the taller highs and you can make note of the areas that you should be careful around so I will blast it for a while with a wide disk soft backed power sander to with a med grit. This is were it gets tricky. Most of highs are resin and knock down well and wont cause a blemis, go too deep, hit the fabric and your likely to always look at the board and notice that one small bright, ugly sander burn.

I like to slow the sander down as this lets me removed a more even overall thickness. I also always start any orbital type sander with it lightly held against the work the work, started with out the resistance of the sandpaper on the board they get up to a high rpm and then bite into the board as it first touches down! Try to take it easy, brush the work often as this will help you see the moment you start cutting into the fabric (and often causing  a colour change)

Keep sanding until your happy with your ratio of lows to high spots before going onto your next fill coat. Once your ready to stop sanding it fair if there are ANY shiny spots then hit all of them with a plastic scour pad and some warm water. Dry the board till 100% dry ( Girlfriend’s and flatmate’s hair dryer is often the best tool for this task!) and then lay the next fill coat. Repeat untill you get no shiny patches after then sand and let it cure a day or two before hitting with 1000+ grit and water.

This is where I ended up some time late this afternoon. Stoked I am!!! To get it to a full gloss I expect to lay maybe an other filler coat, spend more time sanding than I did building the structure of the board and also put in some hard yards behind a buffing pad.

I can’t say I was sure this board would be done in time but got the feeling this board is going to be something very special.

February 22nd, 2011

Posted in Custom Builds, how too | No Comments »

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