Finishing with Arm-R-Seal
Finishing, It can be the most rewarding, yet daunting task of an entire build. If you are like me, I love leaving hardwood as natural as possible. My finish of choice for hardwood is General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. It’s perfect to have your wood pop with character… That’s what she said (in my best Michael Scott impression)…
The steps are easy, so here we go.
1. Sand the the wood.
I always start with a low grit. Either 60 grit or 80 grit. I use an orbital sander but at this point you can use a belt sander as well. The low grit can help smooth out any unevenness between boards. The lower the grit the more material you will be taking off. So don’t get over zealous with it!
Next I move up to 120 grit. I use a pencil to scribble all over the top. I do this to ensure I am sanding every inch of the table top. This also helps to make sure I am sanding with even pressure. Then move to 220 grit and repeat the process.
At this point, the wood should start to feel real smooth! (Also, don’t forget to do both sides!)
2. Raise the Grain.
What do I mean by Raising the grain? Raising the grain means raising up all the loose fibers in the wood. This will let you sand off any remaining fibers.
When using a oil based finish, I use mineral spirits (or water) to clean the surface and raise the grain. Pour mineral spirits on a clean rag or old t-shirt. Wipe down the surface of the surface thoroughly. You should be able to feel the grain rise within 10 minutes.
I then sand the surface again with 220 grit sand paper.
3. Clean the surface.
After all the sanding you want to make sure your surface is clean of dust. I use an air compressor to blow off any dust. Then I finish by wiping down any left overs with a paper towel.
4. The Fun Part.
Applying the Arm-R-Seal is pretty easy, but first thing is first. I always start on the bottom of the table top first. This allows you to apply the first coat of finish and decide if you want to proceed with that finish on the top.
Now I apply Arm-R-Seal with an old t-shirt or clean rag. Apply liberally across the entire top. Once finished, wipe down with opposite side of rag to make sure there are no puddled areas of finish. I let this dry for 6-12 hours.
After it is dry, take steel wool (0000) and sand the top. This will get any tackiness and fibers left completely off.
I repeat this process 3-5 times.
I absolutely love Arm-R-Seal and the finish speaks for itself. It is seriously an easy process that heeds great results! If your like me, you try Arm-R-Seal once, you will be hooked.