Using naphtha for final wet sanding


Junior Member
I haven't used naphtha before. I'm finishing a headstock veneer with nitro. I have a few questions.

While using the 400 to 1000 grit should I use naphtha? If so, do I soak the paper for any length of time?

Will bare wood be safe? I'm lacquering just the veneer. My bare wood neck is bubinga.

Do I rinse the naphtha after application?
I would think the naptha would evaporate as soon as the sandpaper hit the air. need to ware gloves with that stuff as well cause it'll dry your hands out just as quick.

I wetsand nitro with plain water, but if you go that route be ready for a very aggressive cut.  Alternately you can use mineral spirits, and if you like a less aggressive cut add a bit of mineral oil.
When I took a guit-building seminar a few years ago, the teacher (David Freeman of Timeless Instruments---genius) used naphtha just to clean the wood before applying the finish. And it does evaporate very quickly, no need to rinse. Also, when you talk of 400 to 1000 grit, I assume you mean sanding the nitro? Because as far as I know, you want the wood to be at 220 or 320 max before shooting nitro, so that the finish has some ridges to sit in. Even between coats, 320 or 400 so that the coats will bind to each other. Then after all the coats are on, use the finer grit stuff to really make it shine. This is just how I understand it, don't take my word.

I used mineral spirits on my last two nitro wet sand projects and turned out really well.  The big plus is mineral spirits avoids exposed wood swelling issues of plain water like with screw holes.  Negative issues are vapors so I wet sanded in the garage with a respirator.   Soak the sand paper in mineral spirits before use for best results.  Naptha would evaporate too fast to be much use.   Like was stated previously Naptha is great for clean up though.
CB has said in quite a number of posts that he wet sands with Formby's lemon oil.  It is basically mineral oil with some naphtha and some nice smelling stuff in it.  You have to clean it off really well before shooting more nitro  Several wipes with naphtha and wait for it to dry, use clean towels each time to keep the mineral oil from causing problems.  You don't need to tape off anything, just be careful and do not use to much. I would make the sand paper on the block wetted and then add a couple of drops onto the surface I was sanding.  Also, use gloves.  In the end it avoids countless headaches, so just buy a box of disposables and use them around the mineral oil.  Good luck