Preparation Key To Finishing
Just as a major component of any woodworking project is the choice and application of the finish, all too often the major problem with finishing is a lack of wood preparation before the finish is applied. If this preparation is not well done, the most professional type of finish will not appear attractive. On the other hand, proper preparation enables a good finish to be applied to any project
Most of the lack of preparation does not show up until the first coat of finish is applied. Only then do you see the machine marks that are left by mechanical planers or the next to invisible scratches left by poor sanding.
Sharp Bits Essential
When dealing with irregular surfaces such as those left by some router bits the problem is magnified. The best approach is to make sure the bits are sharp and are running at the proper speed. If this is done, most router cuts require only a minimum of sanding to prepare for finishing.
I am often asked how you sand those surfaces produced by a roman ogee bit, for example. If you can, find a bit that has the opposite cut and run a short piece of scrap wood to be used as a sanding block.
Get Rid Of The Glue
Make sure you remove any excess glue, which will resist a finish and become very visible when the finish is applied. This takes time and patience, but the rewards of a good finish make both worthwhile. It is often said that you should measure three times and cut once. It is just as true that you should spend much more time in preparation for finishing than on the finishing itself.