Polishing the Top
The table top is polished to a mirror gloss. The first step is to hand wet sand the table to level the surface and remove any blemishes. The first photo shows the “orange peel” bumps and blemishes of the sprayed clear coat. Wet sanding with water provides lubricant to ensure a smooth cut and prevent the very fine sandpaper from clogging with residue. I start with 320 grit sandpaper, and move through 400, 600, 800 and 1,000 grit. Once wet sanding is complete the finish should be dead flat with no visible dimples or flaws. If all looks good I move onto polishing with the power buffer.
During the initial wet sanding there were a few dimples in the finish (sunken finish on some of the birds eyes). I also accidentally sanded through the finish on one of the edges. For these reasons the table was resprayed with three more layers of clear coat. The wet sanding process will be repeated tomorrow, and if all goes well, final polishing.
The additional coats did the trick. The table was re-wet sanded and then polished. Three different grits of automotive buffing compound were used to get to the high gloss shine.