smoothing/levelling wipe on poly


Junior Member

i have put a couple of thin coats of wipe on poly on a mahogany body that i had previously grain filled, stained and sealed with shellac.
i`m not really sure on how to sand/level the poly to make it really smooth and continue applying more coats of it.
i read in a lot of other forums and here that i could either use 0000 grade steel wool or 1000 and over grit sand paper.
i`m worried that the sand paper might be a bit too aggressive on the 2 thin layers of poly and that i might touch the shellac and the stain under it.
if i use the steel wool i don`t think it`s going to level the body that well and just take the shine off the poly.

do you think the sand paper (1000-2000) is safe enough?

and should it do this after every single application of wipe on poly?

thanks in advance

I believe Mahogony needs a Grain Filler. Did you do this?? If you use a grain filler and start with a level surface you should be able to apply the coats heavy and sand between every 2 or 3 coats. I do the backs of my necks with wipe on poly. I love the stuff because after I sand it with 800 grit when I'm done, it makes the neck feel like natural wood.  It does however take out the brightness of the finish. We're you looking at buffing and polishing or leaving it as it is??  Sand with a block of wood wherever you can to make sure you get it level.  Not sure if this helps or not. I'm by no means a expert like some of the other guys on the board, but I have used the stuff before.
the problem with aplying thick coats of whipe on poly is that it will run and bead up and then you got problems. On my PRS build I used the same method of whiping on the poly as you would tung oil. I wetted a rag a bit with the poly and whiped it on very thin. No runs at all..I had problems with grain filler on this build so you can see a bit of grain through the poly.

i did use grain filler,
2 applications on the koa top and 3 on the mahogany back and sides.

i sanded the poly after 5 coats, starting from 1000 to 1500 and it levelled out quite well.
i have put another 2 coats of wipe on poly and will put the 8th before sanding again.
then i`ll stop.

bpmorton777: does the wipe on poly feel soft to you even when fully cured?
i have this feeling on mine, it doesn`t really seem to get as tough and hard as the manufacturer says, also i think it`s going to be easy to scratch.
i should maybe use some carnauba wax as another layer of protection and for the shine it will give me.

on my neck, i`m using the satin one, l`ll sand it smooth as soon as the 5th coat is dry (i`m on #4 now).
i hope it will come as smoot and silky as people say.
i have noticed that it takes quite a bit longer to dry on the ebony sides of the fretboars than on the maple back.

has anyone experienced the same?

it does seem a bit soft to me after almost 2 weeks of curing but that might also be that it's over mahogany which is fairly soft and easily scratched.