sanding out a gloss coat

well, ive searched the archives and can find some info, but not exactly anything that answers my particular problem…

ok, ive done the DA thing, that works great but takes too long…(dont know what a DA is? dont worry about it…)

ive tried the hand sanding, wet and dry, and that produces good results but takes way too long, and is way too much work…

but what gets me is i know i should be using my regular power sander to do the job… but when i try to use it WET with fine grits the paper sticks like a suction cup if i let the pad lay flat for a second… if i keep it at an angle it still leaves markes where it spins…

should i be using fine grits dry? 600-800? ive probably tried it but dont rememember, i suppose if it worked well i wouldnt be asking this…seems like fine grits clog up reeeeeal fast when used dry…

mabe i should try again?

any adea…

Not sure if you’ve considered spraying on some acrylic gloss. I’ve never tried it myself but I’m thinking about it. Panelbeaters use acrylic and look how shiny some of their work comes out. And I’m pretty sure that they don’t use gloss resin either.

thanks for the thought , but i threw away about half a gallon of spray on/ whipe on whipe off stuff years ago… just so i would stop using it…

guess i should have let you have it…oh well, nice idea for some folks…


Everyones got the technique. Heres how i do it… Work all the shinies off with your sander and 320 grit. Next go get an old bottle of windex clean it out and fill it with water and start handsanding 400 grit keeping the board wet. I work up to 600grit, 800grit, 1000grit, 1200grit. I know for production thats overkill, but for a home built board its about pride. You ve gone all this way to build a board, now finish it properly. It really doesnt take a long time. When you go up to a higher grit, it will feel sticky at first. Jusy keep laying down the water and sanding. You ll reach a point where the stickiness goes away and it starts to feel silky slick. Time to move up to the next grit!!! Hope this helps.


Put a bit of dish soap in water , paper wont stick .

You guys make my elbow hurt with all this hand sanding / polishing.

Use you variable speed sander with a big thick soft pad 2". Spray adhesive the wet sand paper to the soft pad…Super 77 3M stuff. By the time the paper starts to come free, you should be done with the sanding. Make sure you have a few of these pads. Once wet they need to dry to get the paper to restick. Also take the old paper off before they dry, or it will pull foam.

Use a GFI extension cord. Put the GFI outlet in a 5 gallon bucket, with a towel over it so it won’t get wet. The GFI is your friend, this way you won’t get electrocuted. (but your mileage may vary, depending upon common sense, Resinhead not responsible for operator error, and subsequent death)

Take a spray bottle with a mixture of really soapy water and spray on to the board. The key is to keep the board wet and let it make a slurry of resin powder…yes, it slings shit everywhere. Wettness is your friend, it keeps the paper from clogging up and making those little buggers that stick to the paper. If the board starts to dry out, you get buggers, then you get scratches.

Go through the grits, take your time. The higher the grits the more time you have to take to get rid of the previous scratches…that’s just the way it is.

But even when the board is polished out from 320 to 1000 grit it will still appear matted, you still need to apply a liquid buff out. Put on something that has a very light abrasive and a polish, then the board will glow. if you’re a real freak, put car wax on for the final finish

The only hand finish should be the last wipe down.


(but your mileage may vary, depending upon common sense, Resinhead not responsible for operator error, and subsequent death)


yeah i hear ya with the hand sanding thing…

like i say, yeah it works great… but its a pain in more ways than one…

ill try the soapy water idea with the variable sander…(but i think ive done that)“think”… i just remember when wet sanding with with my large variable speed sander the paper wants to suction to the board when its wet…even if im using soapy water…even if going real slow like 1000rpm

so theres nobody using fine grits on a power sander without water? id like to avoid spraying water all over the walls… but dont want to use a new sheet of paper every 10 seconds either…600-800 dry? anybody?

I’ve done the dry grit thing too. I works great, but you have to find a rythum on each grit. It’s hard to explain, but there is a presure/speed thing that you have to find on each grit. The optimum speed gives you purchase on the finish and removed the optimum amount of material…too fast, gum up to paper. Too slow, … swirls.



so theres nobody using fine grits on a power sander without water? id like to avoid spraying water all over the walls…

I been using ($3 for two) 9x12 plastic sheeting stapled to the walls. keeps the wet splatter off the walls and the dry dust confined (mostly)

I just made another investment toward better (I hope) board building - picked up a brand new Milwaukee 5540 and a new med 8" power pad …


You guys make my elbow hurt with all this hand sanding / polishing.


The only hand finish should be the last wipe down.

Thanks man, that was very informative!

I have never done wet when sanding a gloss coat. I use the Milwaukee sander as do most people, 400, then 600grt then hose off and dry the spray on your Sur luster and buff it off, nice and shiney! It is all about knowing your equipment and being in a rythem and knowing the paper and all of that. It will all come with time.


File or razor blade the gloss bead down on the rails.

400 then 600 wetsand done by hand on the rails.

600 drysand done with a Milwaukee sander and a soft Power Pad on the flats.

Bondo compound, then SurLuster, then Liquid Ebony with a Makita sander and a wool buff pad.

Thats pretty much the way production rubout guys do it here in So Cal.

And thats only if the glosser does a good job with the gloss.

If the gloss isn’t that good, you’ll probably are going to start with 320.

This is with Polyester glosses.

…yeah, the only important thing is the brush strokes, the flatten agent in the resin and no air draught…but normally the gloss sand start with 320

if you have a 4´´ SUPER soft pad, you can eliminate the gloss bead with 280 grit or 320 grit fast and without damage dee rail

if you have a 4´´ SUPER soft pad, you can eliminate the gloss bead with 280 grit or 320 grit fast and without damage dee rail

There are quite few guys I know that do it that way. Its definitely faster than using a file or razor blade. But, if they’re not careful, they can easily rub thru the gloss bead and then the weave will show. Or if there is any color work under the gloss bead they might burn into it.

ugg i cant scroll through the posts while i reply, so i have to rely on my memory of what i just read…memory isnt as good as it once was…

anyway, yeah “ive never done wet sanding when sanding a gloss coat” is what i like to hear… as im trying to get away from the whole wet sanding thing…

because when wet sanding with a power sander, and i get the suction thing, i could literally lift the board in the air by the sander … and thats no good…

ill give it all a shot till i find what i like but would like to keep it dry… sure wet sanding the rails is no problem but would love to get the rest done dry…

so whats the deal with surluster? i hear that alot here… right now im using 3M imperial compound/finishing material, great stuff…BUT that shit costs about 50 bucks a quart, so im pretty tired of that…

the 3M compound is something i started using when building boats, like i say works good… but damn 50 bucks?

so id like to get away from that too, the companies i deal with dont seem to carry sureluster… but some have something like #2 compound, supposedly made just for surfboard resin, and its about 1/4 the cost of the 3M… so id love to switch…

ive used the 3M brown crap, its cheap but then i need something else to finish off the scratches that the baby crap left… so then more money /time wasted…

is sure luster a surfboard specific sort of polish? or could i pick it up at the local quality boat/automotive store?

thanks alot, seems like im getting somewhere…

by the way im not exactly new, just been away for so long that i cant remember my old name or password, so had to make a new one… i remember some of your names from years ago, you might or might not remember me… but since i cant remember my old name…haha forget it…im new now…again.

so whats the deal with surluster?

Another product you may try is Meguiars Mirror Glaze.

I guess a better description of the steps without using brand names would be:

1 Rubbing Compound.

2 Polishing Compound.

3 Wax Sealer.

Essentially you are going from coarse to fine with the compounds.

thanks man… i know you know what your talking about…

but i can get a mirror shine with my 3M - $50 a quart stuff… seems like by the time i go through 3 different brands/bottles i might as well stick to the one pass expensive stuff…

DOnt quote me on it but I used to work at Fiberglass Florida and I believe a gallon on Sur-Luster is like $20 something bucks and it will last awhile. I use a squirt bottle to dispense and it’s not pure sur-luster, but a 50-50 mix with water. Just squirt on the board and do a quick brush over with a 4" brush and get to buffing. I even use it on sand finish boards for our wholesale distribution after I 320 and scoth brite the board. I do a quick buff with the sur-luster, really makes it shine while it’s sitting on the showroom floor of the surf shops. Be careful though because if your not a good sander and you sue sur-luster ALL your screw-ups and imperfections will show. So just make sure your $hit is tight. On another note… I also am one of the unfortunate that take a razor blade to the bead lines on the hot and gloss coats when sanding. Takes extra time but man if you burn through on a gloss polish resin tint, run like hell before you tell the glasser what you just did to his work! also after you hand sand the rails from 320 on up it goes really quick. Its the initial 150 that sucks afterthe hot coat.

The factory I worked for used to have an old buffing pad mounted to the wall to clean the paper instead of using water. When rubbing out, I’d take an old pair of scissors and knock down the bead edge, then use a little wet 320 to remove the line by hand, on the grinder (Milwaukee 2800) I’d knock the bumps down with 320 (skip this on a really smooth gloss job) on the top and bottom, then do one pass each way on the top and bottom with 400 (cleaning the paper on the wall mounted buffing pad after each pass), next do a few back and forth passes with 600 to finish it off and to hunt out any shiny spots I might have missed, I’d finish the rails using wet 400 and 600 by hand with a sponge block. To polish, I’d paint the board (one side at a time) with some sure luster and a brush then hit it with the polisher (Milwaukee 5000), to finish I’d switch buffing pads, squirt on some liquid ebony and make it shine.