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How to polish and finish a sandpapered violin back?


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Hi, I have used up to a sandpaper with 600 grit to polish the wood surface of a maple back of a violin before shellac is applied, however, I noticed that inversely to lacque surface, increase grit value (towards 2000) does not give a clear and shiny view of the flames on the untreated wood surface. What can I use to magnify and enhance the flame on the wood , before I apply  the shellac?



Edited by Baroque
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1. if you do not have scrapers available,sandpaper will have to do 

2. the preferred method is to use fine scrapers,one can scrape over fine sanding to achieve the same look and yet allow the paper to do most of the work.

3.the largest variable in chatoyance {flamepop} is the wood itself, if the wood has weak flame,it will show that way when finish is applied, you can not put lipstick on a pig and expect it to look good, unless you are into farm animals

4. assuming you have deep flamed raw wood...uv light exposure {tanning} after the piece is done,done finished along with fine cloth burnishing  {rubbing the wood with various types of cloth rapidly} as the final"done,done"procedure generally work the best as far as "pop" goes

5. the other most important factor is the type of varnish you use as both as base/ground/sealer coat and then the types of top coats you put on top


good luck

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Counterintuitively, using finer sandpaper makes the wood more opaque and tends to "extinguish" the flame.

Using a coarser grit (no more than 220) in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving scratches, has a better effect.

However, scrapers leave a much better and more shining surface (expecially on spruce they are really hard to beat).

If you still want to polish the surface you can try horsetail, which has a unidirectional cutting action different from normal sandpaper and polish the surface without opacifying it.
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