Polishing a Table Top

Advice on polishing a two-component poly finish to a high sheen. October 17, 2012

I have a 2k poly top I would like to polish. With the Festool, do I start at 320 grit and go up to 1200 grit and do I use 3M Finess? Are there any videos start to finish?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor F:
Get an assortment of Abralon pads. Depending on the sheen you want, start with the 500 grit for a low satin sheen or progress up to the 2000 grit if you want a high gloss sheen. I do this with my Festool 6" sander set at the medium setting. When using these pads, it is not necessary to drown the finish with a lot of water. I just use a spray bottle to mist on the water. This cuts down on water flying all over the place.

From the original questioner:
Thanks! That's great. If it's a 2 part acrylic and it has a 24 hour use time and 7 day full cure, when can I start to polish?

From contributor J:
Just curious, is it gloss poly you are starting with?

From the original questioner:
Yes, it's gloss. I can finish at semi to gloss. Should I wax at the end? It's an outdoor bar top. Does Festool have paper for this? Don't have time to order.

From contributor F:
I would wait at least 5 days before using the abralon pads. You want the finish to cure and be as hard as possible or the pads might sand right through the finish. I learned this the hard way a while back on catalyzed lacquer. I'm assuming the two part poly is no different.

From contributor M:
What gloss are you after?

The process involves removing whatever imperfections the gun left, then removing all the damage your abrasive left. I find it best no matter what gloss you are after to wet sand to 2000, then either compound and glazing compound to a high gloss or scuff it down to a satin. Drop a little dish soap into your spray bottle; it will help with lubrication. If it is an outside bar, you should use either 3M Fenessit or Meguiars 9 to glaze in all of the sanding scratches that are left from your sanding process. If not, you have essentially doubled the surface area of your film and will hasten the degradation of your coating. Meguiars makes a very good carnauba yellow wax to finish off the top.

From the original questioner:
I took everyone's advice and was surprised how nice it worked. Advice was excellent. I started with 600 on Festool wet. Then I had to switch to square palm since I did not have access to fine paper for Festool. Palm 800 wet, then 1000 wet. That was my highest grit on hand. It looked pretty good, dead flat satin/semi-gloss. Then I got the idea to remove fine dullness with Meguiars scratch removal, then a coat of Meguiars carnauba wax with wool pad.

It looks fantastic at most angles and in the sun, but there is random haze on it. Can I get some 1200 and 1500 and 2000 grit to continue to remove the haze? Will the wax I put on mess this process up now?

The auto supply has some 3M paper but recommends RPM of 1500-2000 rpm. The 150 FEQ Festool has a rotary rating of 660rpm and an eccentric motion of 3300-6800rpm. Can I use it in the eccentric mode to achieve my required speed or does it have to be on rotary? I'm going to get some platin papers for Festool if I didn't screw it up already. Thanks for the advice so far - it was huge.

From contributor M:
Yes, you need to take it up to at least 1500 unless you are going to drop the gloss to a satin with steel wool. The backside of your 1500 is about 1800 grit, so in a pinch flip it over. I picked up a 1/3 pad pneumatic from National Detroit for under $100 a few years ago. Not as good as the double pad, but it is also $1000 cheaper. Hazing could be caused by not enough time on your papers or a rubbing compound that is too sharp. Also you want to use a glaze like Meguiars #7 or 9. If the finish is not cured enough, it will cause hazing.