After the finish has cured for a week or so, I typically use 0000 steel wool and paste wax to "finish the finish", as Marc says. I did this with the crib I built my son 12 years ago. The finer grades are particularly useful for the delicate work of sanding between finishes (cutting back). When I have rubbed out oil based poly in SG sheen, I've had good luck using 0000 steel wool and Johnson's paste wax. If you want you can use water, oil or wool lube as a lubricant to make the rubbing easier. Using steel wool or sand paper allows you to create a uniform surface for the next coat of polyurethane, which generally looks nicer, more professionally, etc. The steel wool is very fine and will actually scrape off a very fine layer, leaving a silky smooth finish often referred to as a hand rubbed finish. In my experience, assuming the finish is dry, there isn't a difference other than the coarseness of the sand paper or steel wool. EDIT: I see where you have used a brown bag. If you wish to "rub out" a final coat at the end of the finishing process, the finest steel wool is good for this … For a satin finish I stop at 600.3--Rub the entire surface with 0000 steel wool. I have recently switched over to spraying water Bourne finishes. The coarsest grades can be used to remove paint, varnish or finish from wood to prepare the article for further work. Some people have posted that steel wool should never be used with a water Bourne finish … Any tips on rubbing out a water based finish? The paste wax can be bought at most big box stores. The steel wool will give you a soft, satiny shine.Just be careful when you start the sanding process that you don't cut through the top coat. Give that a try. That should smooth the finish out pretty good. The brown bag acts like 4000+ grit sand paper and will remove alot of roughness without scratching the finish. Finishing sources are conflicted about whether you should use steel wool for the final dressing of a dried clear finish*. The wax helps in creating a constant surface. Regarding the comments about rubbing out with various methods including steel wool: I've used every combination listed and what is left is a mirror-smooth (and therefore light reflecting) finish that has micro-swirls rather than a matt/satin finish as in an off the gun finish that DCS describes. Rubbing out a finish means working it with a mild abrasive such as pumice or steel wool. A rubbed finish in this gloss range can be achieved by a process known in production work as “cutting and rubbing” or “wooling out.” The how-to The basic procedure is to apply the coating in sufficient film thickness to allow abrading the coating with sandpaper and steel wool, allowing it to dry thoroughly, … Questions about rubbing out with #0000 steel wool Hi Everyone - I’m wrapping up my first woodworking project in my new house, a desk for my home office/gaming station and have a couple questions on how to rub out the finish. Customers then need to rub the wax loaded steel wool over the entire surface. Using steel wood to polish wood might seem out of place and actually harmful to the surface of the wood, but it isn't if done properly. The SG sheen was nicely knocked down to a wonderful satin and baby butt smooth when I finished. 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