Working through the grits of sandpaper is important. I feel like I could utilize some advantage if I included a couple more “in between grits” from my typical strategy, but sandpaper costs a lot!!! I started this piece with my chainsaw, roughing out the size and shape, cutting a “flat” top and bottom….then moving to my angle grinder with my favorite shaping tool attached, the Holey Galahad carbide disk. After the shaping is mostly complete, I move on to the orbital sander with some 60grit and 80grit to take down all the high spots. Now the piece is ready to start paying attention to the grain. I compare it too painting in reverse…taking away a little bit at a time, watching the way the grain moves as I take layer by layer of “dust” away. It makes a huge difference in the way the final piece looks if you watch the grain rather than just trying to sand away aimlessly. I typically start with 120grit, and concentrate on blending in the scratches, nics, dings, and working the movement of the wood grain so it flows. Then bump to 220grit, watching as the scratches start to disappear and trying to avoid leaving the “swirly” marks that start to become very apparent when the wood starts to shine all by itself. For my final use of the obital sander, I finish with 320grit. I can see my blurry reflection in the wood at this point, and the “swirly” marks start to jump out everywhere so this step takes a while. I finish up with hand sanding 400grit before the first coat of oil. I am going to come back and do some turquoise inlays, and between coats of oil I’ll be hand sanding with 600grit and buffing with steel wool.
-- Juniper Canyon Design