Steel wool is a workshop staple for removing old finishes and rubbing out new ones. But there’s a problem. You can’t use steel wool with water-borne finishes. Here’s an answer: a new synthetic abrasive wool that’s compatible with all finishes.
Fibral abrasive wool costs more than steel wool (a $16 box contains about the same amount of abrasive wool as two to three $3 sleeves of steel wool), but it’s cleaner, easier on your hands, lasts longer and works just as well, if not better. It’s great for scuffing water-borne finishes between coats, or for the final rub-out. Color-coded fine, medium and coarse grits are available.
The abrasive is bonded to nylon fibers that are spun into a wool-like material. Tear off what you need, form a pad and have at it. It’s flexible and conformable, just like steel wool, but it doesn’t contain oil, and it doesn’t shed nearly as much, so it won’t make your hands dirty or contaminate the surface, like steel wool does.
Abrasive wool can also be used wet; its steel-free content means it won’t cause rust. It’s great for stripping furniture, because a wet pad won’t disintegrate or leave rust-causing residue on the surface. I’ll bet that once you try Fibral, you won’t go back to steel wool.
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