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I have used a similar system but start by stripping and wire brushing the surface. Next apply a generous coat of varnish or paint (oil based ) and leave it sit for an hour or two to get tacky. Then sprinkle very dry sharp sand on it. I dry the sand in an oven or kiln to ensure it is bone dry. Once the sanded coat is completely dry, I use a spray gun to recoat the sand with paint/ varnish... enough to bond it but not so much as to flood it