Originally Posted by Steve Neul
Maybe burnishing was the wrong word but it was the closest thing I could think of that fit. The steel wool is not cutting like sandpaper. It is rubbing and polishing the surface of the wood crushing the open pores of the walnut in spots. I think probably he got one side of the gun stock rubbed more than the other is most of reason for the color difference. Then if you've ever rubbed a piece of finished furniture with a piece of 0000 steel wool it isn't long before the pad is a great deal smaller and your bench is covered in black dust. It would stand to reason that this dust would get into the pores of an open grain wood like walnut. I would not recommend sanding wood with 2000 grit sandpaper either. Sandpaper that fine is intended for automotive finishes where a person can rub out a nibs or minor orange peal in the paint and buff without having to recoat. I've never sanded wood with sandpaper finer than 400.
I hope we're not losing track od dondi's gunstock.
How has it turned out?. No one asked if you like the colour differences. Sometime that's one of the attractive thing about real wood. ( One of my young cousins from the city once remarked that my walnut gunstock was almost as nice as real plastic).
Undesired colours can be changed a bit. It's easier to stain the bare wood but a glaze will subtly change a hue. Adding a bit of the right pigment to the finishing oil can darken or change the hue a bit.
Steve- Sharp steel wool is probably more like a lot of small cabinet scrapers. It will cut the wood. A lot of the new "wool" products that have abrasives bonded to plastics are more like sandpaper. Sharp sandpaper is also cutting with a lot of micro scrapers. Dull abrasive can risk burnishing or crushing the surface and changing its absorption of finishing products. Dulling abrasives of whatever type should be refreshed.
The wool/pad products have their place especially for complex curves like a gun stock.
How far to sand keeps coming up in various threads. For film finishes sanding to 180 or so is enough. Objects of hard woods that are going to be touched do get a more tactile surface if sanded to higher grits. This is often done in the laters stages of finishing but the surface prep can make a big difference to oiled hardwoods. The pen turners are sanding well up into the car finish range with attractive results. Sharp 2000 grit papers etc still cut.
You are right I just completed some small tables. The legs and apron parts got sanded to 180. The walnut tops got sanded to 330 bare then to 600 in the finish with a final buff with a car polish. Makes a beautiful finish for a small table that will be felt. It's like a guitar or piano surface.
Hope dondi's stock will turn out well.