Secrets Of The Experts – Denibbing Explained – How to Finish Like a Pro.


Denibbing is a really important step in applying any finish, it helps either the adhesion or absorption of further coats and can make a real difference to your projects.

Denibbing Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Ben O’Reilly From Wood Finishes Direct and Welcome to the Product Test and How to Video Guide, in this video I am going to be discussing Manns Flexible Sanding Pads, Manns Finishing Pads and the act of Denibbing. Denibbing is the removal of “nibs” and imperfections from your finish, and it should be performed between each coat of any finish applied.

Denibbing Varnishes, Paints and Surface Finishes

A few weeks ago I put Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish on these boards, in this video here. When you do apply a surface finish, such as a varnish or a paint it’s only natural you are going to get imperfections such as brush strokes and bumps or areas that have slightly more finish than others

To remove these areas what you need to use is a Manns Flexible Sanding Pads, I’ll be using one in p180. Just work across your project working with the grain, applying just enough pressure to smooth it out the finish. Because you are roughing up the surface as well it’ll improve the adhesion of any further coats too. Also once you’ve finished denibbing, give the area a wipe over with a Manns Microfibre Cloth as well.

Denibbing Oil’s

I treated this piece of Beech with Manns Top Oil in this video here, and I’m going to use it to show you how to denib oils. Wood is a naturally porous material, and when you put oils on wood, they soak in, giving excellent liquid repellency and protection while still maintaining a natural look and feel. When you apply an oil on you want to remove all excess as soon as you can, and then you want to help open some of those pores again by denibbing, use a Manns Finishing Pads to do this. Denib just like I did with the varnish, follow the grain work across the
project, try not to apply too much pressure.

Denibbing is all about the feel. Your project should feel smooth. If it doesn’t that means that more denibbing is required, and after that if it still isnt smooth then it probably hasn’t been as sanded as well as it should of. I know of course if you’ve been watching my video’s that won’t be the case.

A full list of products featured and used in this video is available in the description on YouTube, also if you have any questions or would like some advice feel free to get in touch by phoning the phone number or emailing the email address on screen now. Also if you liked this video and would like to see more unique content then simply subscribe, like and comment on any video you like and of course, always do a test area.


  1. I take it that you denibb after each coat dries? I’m wanting to install pine tongue and groove on the walls of my ” man cave “. Should I use danish oil, polyurethane, varnish or a laquer? I’m leaning towards the danish oil , your thoughts?

    • Hi Kip,

      Oils are generally much easier to patch repair if they are damaged. Localised damage can be patch sanded and more oil applied. You will need to denib between each coat but not after the final coat.
      Please come back to me if required – Alison

  2. Hi,
    I saw that denibbing is recommended with fiddes hardwax oil, how do you do this for a large area such as a floor? I assume you don’t use handheld finishing pads? Can a Floor Sander Drum be used with a fine grain or would this be too heavy handed and strip the finish?

    • Good Afternoon Nicole,

      The denibbing is a quick and easy process, its not as intense as sanding and many people do just use a hand pads to go over the floor, or you can put it under a flat base mop to do also. Its really just a light going over the surface to remove any lose nibs or particles that managed to get in or under the first coat of oil. We have a video on our You Tube Channel about it >>> with some hints and tips.

      It can be done with any oil finish and will just improve and smooth the surface for a slight more superior finish, if you don’t do it is not the end of the world, but it is something that we recommend.

      If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  3. Hi I applied Danish oil to my oak doors One door looked great but two of them the bottom panel was a lot lighter than the rest of the door. Will it help if I denib the lighter panel and reapply ?

    • Good Afternoon Fiona,

      Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. There is a chance that it will help but its difficult to say for sure with out seeing the doors and the variance that you have experienced. I would be happy to take a look at some photos if you would like to send some in to

      Kind Regards Samantha.

    • Hello Chris,

      We have a great video on our You Tube Channel all about Denibbing >>> you only need to denib between coats to reduce the grain and give a smoother finish. You also need to wipe over the surface with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust.

      The video will give you some great hints and tips and if you need any further advice please feel free to call in and speak to one of our advisers on 01303 213838.

      Many Thanks Samantha.

    • Hello Priscilla,

      Worry not, it is not the end of the world, if you have not denibbed. The purpose of doing this between coats is to smooth down any raised grain or imperfections that have occurred from the first application. There may be some benefit to adhesion, when you denib, but it will be limited and the second coat should be fine.

      I hope that reassures you and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.


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