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I've stripped my steering column down to bare metal, washed it with de-greaser, hung it from the garage ceiling, and primed it with self-etching primer. When I run my finger over the primed surface, it feels faintly rough. I did the same procedure with the front of my ash tray, and didn't sand the primer at all, and it came out with a kind of non-shiny, velvety finish. Now, I'm wondering if I should have sanded the ash tray front before applying the lacquer, or if the velvety finish is correct. All in all, I'd like some one to tell me if I sand lightly after the etching primer or not, and if I sand lightly between coats of lacquer.
Thanks!
 

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You may have some dust or dirt on the primer.If it is not smooth you may want to sand it lightly with a wet 1600 paper.You can also use a primer filler and then the regular coat of paint.
 

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Hi Amy,

There's no stead-fast rule that applies every time. I'd say that it your steering column is rough to the touch, then by all means sand it. Perhaps with something as fine as 1000 grit. If it had come out smooth, there's no rule that says you have to sand it though.

Basically, you do whatever it takes to get a smooth finished product. A lot of factors come into play each time... It may be humid one day or dusty the next. A lot of things contribute to the outcome.

As for the "velvet" feel – no, that's not what you're after. The metal dash should have a sheen. Not a shine – but a luster. If the lacquer is applied too heavily, it'll come out way too glossy. Many thin coats (instead of a couple heavy ones) is the trick. But generally speaking, you don't want to wet sand the final coat of lacquer. Remember – wet sanding is the first step to achieve a high-gloss finish – which you don't want in this particular instance.
 
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