Fuzzy wood

edited May 2011 in Working with Wood
Hello all,
I am curious about how you guys get rid of the "fuzzies" after distressing the wood.
I am modeling in O scale.



  • a quick swipe with some fine steel wool works great... ususally after distressing.
  • A pencil eraser is also an idea. Learnt that from karl osolinski.
  • Ah yes. Two new technics to try.
    Thanks guys
  • On the pencil eraser,

    use the grey type that is for ink. the ones that come half white and half grey, use the grey side.

    I havent tried the eraser personally, but that is the advice I have read.

    Generally I use the steel wool as mentioned by Brett, and it works.

  • I have used both the eraser and steel wool (size 0000) and find that both create about the same mess in my experiences. The steel wool tends to shave a bit more of the distressing off of the strip wood a bit more than the eraser, but the eraser tends to leave a few fine pieces in some of the deeper grooves in the wood. Any eraser bits are easily removed with a pass of a stiffer paint brush.
  • Funny thing... I went to prep some O-scale 2x8's this morning, and in the process of removing the "fuzzies" it dawned on me that I did not note in my prior response what I'm currently using.

    I have started using a sanding sponge, the 3M fine which can be located in the paint section of your local home builder and supply or a hardware store. It only takes a very light pass to remove the "fuzzies". With just a bit of practice, you will quickly learn how to brace the wood on edge to even lightly sand the edge of the wood. Again, almost no pressure on the sanding sponge is the trick.

    This does leave a very fine sanding dust on the strip wood which I have been removing with a quick pass of the wood through a tack cloth.
  • Not creating (or minimalizing) the fuzzies in the first place is also a good way to go for a nice finish.

  • I am a fine woodworker for nearly forty years. You could try a dilute shellac coating to help rid the fuzzy s when sanding. Once dry the fuzzy`s will quickly sand away. Shellac is safe to use, drys quickly and on a molecular level has great bonding links to any other finishes you choose to put over the top. Shellac is spirit based so you could experiment with adding some spirit stains to it. It will also harden the timber that you are using as I presume that you are working with a low density wood. I have chosen to work with high density timbers somewhat like your American oak for my modeling work. John, from Australia
  • A couple of questions John....

    Doesn't shellac seal the wood pores John? which would make any further staining/washes 'difficult'.

    Also, as shellac is spirit based doesnt this impare the adhession of any water based finish/colouring afterwards?

    For me sanding away the fuzzies results in sanding away the finer grain/distressing I have just done. Necessitating the finer details to be re-added.

    Ideally a technique to pick up the fuzzies without effecting the distressed surface is what I am looking for.

    Kris's damp cloth works quite well, as does the steel wool, the tack cloth also for larger wood pieces.

    I see the benfits of shellac for achieving a smooth fuzzy free finish, but am uncertain of its merits for this particular situation. I guess I will need to try it to find out.


  • Yes Karl, I have jumped in without checking the water.
    I am not used scale building being relatively new to the hobby so can see my errors in your questioning.
    In true to life wood finishing, wetting timber can make the grain stand up, as you know.
    Still, and I need to try this myself, a very very dilute blond shellac or sanding sealer, I expect may make the fuzzies more bristly therefor easier to rub back. But I must confess with the products that you are working with I DO NOT KNOW!

    With my current project, a scratch built trestle bridge made from high tannin content hardwoods I am going to experiment with accelerated aging techniques that I use in antique reproduction work. Because of the safety hazards involved I can not discuss this in a forum but it will bring about a natural bleaching effect that is identical to timber left in the elements over time.

    Pardon me for crashing in!
    Any questions about timber working techniques, please ask and I will try again.
  • Jump in with ideas anytime John, I look forward to seeing the results of your aging techniques.
  • I've found that adding a drop or two of brown acrylic paint to the alcohol India ink mix will help "bind" the fuzz, plus gives a little less ink sheen to the stain. Also works great over Floquil Foundation on castings to bring out the detail without being too black.
  • Has anyone tried to use heat to burn them off? I use a little butane tourch to burn off fuzzy's on an overhead crane I built. With the fine fibers of the fuzzy's they burn off with no damage to the wooden structure. Ed
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