Sometimes when a house interior needs repainting, the woodwork is too rough to take a new coat of paint, but not bad enough to warrant stripping. Under these circumstances, I prepare the woodwork by using a sponge, a bucket of water, a scrub brush, and some wet/dry sandpaper. I keep the sandpaper and work surface wet throughout the process, and I use my hands or the sponge as a sanding pad. I find that the paper will last up to an hour if I periodically use the brush to scrub the paper in the bucket.
Using this wet process keeps the dust suspended in the water rather than in the air. The resulting surface is quite smooth to the touch, but it still has the necessary roughness for good paint adhesion. I’ve used this technique with old oil-base and water-base paints with equally good results.
John Glenn, Brookline, MA