Sanding a rough enclosure

I’m sharing my experience here in hopes that it may be helpful to others.

I received my keyboardio with a slight roughness in the wood enclosure on the left hand side. Touching the right side was a pleasure, but the left side made me go “yuck!” It felt like a bunch of tiny grains of sand embedded on the surface. With a little guidance from Jesse I tentatively attempted to fix it myself.

I had previously purchased a headlight restoration kit that I had not yet used. I was surprised to discover that the sandpaper provided is fairly smooth, so with great trepidation I removed the enclosure and gently gave it a few swipes wherever I felt roughness. Sometimes a couple of swipes was enough to clear away the bumps, and in other places I had to give it quite a few passes, but eventually I was able to make all surfaces entirely smooth!

Was it a perfect solution? Sadly, no. Whether because of some other slight defect in the wood treatment or because of the sanding, I really can’t tell, but the left hand side, although as smooth as the other side, does not feel the same. It’s better than before, but it’s not perfect like the other side.

Let me know if this helps or if you have any questions, and please share your experience, too!

Let me preface by saying this is work, which is not what you expect from a new keyboard, and I’m NOT suggesting you NEED to do this, just explaining how to do it if you WANT to. :slight_smile:

The slight roughness you’re describing is normal when refinishing plastic surfaces (the poly finish on the keyboard is a thin plastic). It’s equivalent to the haze you sometimes see on car finishes when people did an incomplete job of buffing out a scratch. You need to go through a series of grits to get to a surface that’s as smooth as the original cured surface.

This is what I use for final polishing:

Depending on the grit of the sandpaper you used, you may also need to make another pass or two. This is the final grit I use prior to polishing:


I fee like I should mention that I suckered Ivan into trying this experiment and promised him a new enclosure if it went badly.


@Jennigma Thanks for the tip! I’ll give those things a shot and report back. How long would you say the application will take?

Actually, “work” is exactly what I expected from owning a Keyboardio, haha. Work in relearning the key positions, learning layers, using my thumbs, software hackery, hardware mounting, and transportation concerns. Minor woodworking is just the cherry on top :cherries:

@jesse I prefer to think of it as a bribe :smiley:

1 Like

It seems the sandpaper disk was P3000! It really does feel that smooth.

Here is a blog post of me using these to restore finishes on a 120 yr old sewing machine:

It’s being used on lacquer and shellac finishes, but the process is the same.

As to how long-- it depends? How large of an area? is it on the flat part, or the curves? What grit were you using?

You may need some intermediate grits before you get to the 1500/2000, so it’s whatever time it takes for you to sand once multiplied by however many passes you need to make. Note that the initial smoothing will have been by far the longest pass, but to do the whole front section of the enclosure might take me 15 minutes per pass. The polish is rub on/wipe off, so it’s not significantly longer a process than sanding. Less than double, I would think.

ETA: That sewing machine I linked above is the best engineered machine I’ve ever put my hands on. Here’s a video (not mine) of the main movement:


oh, excellent! Try the flitz, or another product designed for removing haze from paint and plastic finishes. It has an extremely fine abrasive and also a wax that sticks well to synthetic polymers, so will both smooth some more and fill in the micro scratches that you feel as “roughness” but can’t see.

Super! Filling in micro-scratches is exactly what I want. I was afraid that I might have gotten rid of the plastic coating altogether, but that’s probably impossible from my 3 minutes of lightly sanding with 3000-grit, haha.

Now to wait 2 weeks for that free shipping…

1 Like

Three minutes of 3000 grit would not have put much of a dent in a finish. Getting through the finish to the wood would produce an appreciable amount of dust-- more than enough to clog your sanding pad.

In that case, I really hope that those micro-scratches are what’s causing the difference between the two enclosures. If not… then there’s probably something wrong with the coating that I can’t fix (easily).

The next step would probably be either a light coat of clear poly or a solvent wipe that would allow the surface of the finish to soften and re-form. Which may or may not be an option depending on the chemistry of the poly. I would probably do a light re-coat.

1 Like

It’s worth noting that trying to get the two to feel the ‘same’ is going to be easiest if you’re making the same mods to both sides.

The poly does soak into the wood some, so you’re unlikely to have removed it.

1 Like