Episode 43 – Steel Wool or a Substitute

43_SteelWoolIn this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, the guys talk about using steel wool in the shop. The topic is: Steel Wool or Steel Wool Substitute? One thing that they agree on is that no woodworker should use steel wool between coats of finish – adhesion problems are then amplified. Plus, who’s correct as they talk about whether steel wool cuts the wood fibers or just pushes them down? Also in this episode, you find out who is the better finisher. And it’ not one of the guys!

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

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7 thoughts on “Episode 43 – Steel Wool or a Substitute

  1. I personally don’t like steel wool for most things, but I keep some around, just in case, for end-stage shellac. Isn’t Liberon steel wool supposed to be oil-free and, as a result, not the problem that you mentioned?

    1. Liberon says it’s “virtually oil-free.” While I’m sure it wouldn’t be a major problem, I probably wouldn’t take a chance that my definition of “virtually oil-free” isn’t the same as theirs. I’m just a skeptic, I guess.

      1. Why not do a controlled experiment and actually try it to see if your skepticism is justified? If nothing else, Liberon would get a come-uppance. Kind of like tung oil finishes that have no tung oil.

        1. Actually, I’ve watched people use Big Box steel wool between coats of shellac without problems (probably more a testament to the stickiness of shellac than the oil in steel wool) so, Liberon would probably be okay. My philosophy is, there’s already so much that can go wrong, why risk something that increases that chance? That said, now that I do stuff like this for a living rather than make furniture, I’ll put the controlled test on the list of things to do…

  2. Hey guys, just saw this Q& A and love it .In high school shop( the year before Sherman burned our town)
    My shop teacher would only let us use Pumice and rotton stone with a little oil to finish our projects, especially
    Mahogany or oak. Not seeing those products for centuries I used 1200 wet or dry between coats and 1500 final on my
    Step back Tiger maple Hutch. It did beautifully. I got a little tired of the gray fibers and like Charles said cut fingers throughout the years so it works for me. Thank you for this wonderful service.Cheers!

  3. Great talk, guys.
    I like the synthetic to finish off turnings on the lathe. Instead of a handful of shavings in the end, I use gray and then white synthetic to burnish. I also like the white for applying wax.


    1. Frank,

      I had never thought about trying it for turning. Thanks for the suggestion.

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