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Cleaning up old dirty wood before jointing?

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Forum topic by mpo414 posted 02-22-2016 10:56 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mpo414

19 posts in 388 days


02-22-2016 10:56 PM

I came upon some old 2”x6”x12’ rough sawn solid oak boards which are hard to find out here in Wyoming. I started to square the boards up on my jointer and quickly learned (the hard way) that they must be covered in fine grain sand or something dirty. They look clean to the naked eye just gray and oxidized. After only a few passes on the jointer my knives are now covered in dings and gouges, junk. I am thinking about now hitting the boards with a belt sander (60-80 grit) BEFORE they see the jointer or planer to try and get rid of the grit that is eating up my knives. Another option that came to mind is a power washer to de-sand the wood? Any other ideas out there you guys have used to clean up dirty wood that has saved your knives? Also, the wood is nail free so that is not an issue. Thanks!

-- Matt, Wyoming


12 replies so far

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firefighterontheside

13518 posts in 1323 days


#1 posted 02-22-2016 10:59 PM

I have used a belt sander and an angle grinder with a fiber brush on it.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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summerfi

3320 posts in 1154 days


#2 posted 02-22-2016 11:01 PM

I’ve used a hand held wire brush. A pressure washer is not a bad idea.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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mpo414

19 posts in 388 days


#3 posted 02-23-2016 04:38 PM

Thanks guys. A grinder with a fiber brush would probably do the trick also!

-- Matt, Wyoming

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TheGreatJon

296 posts in 700 days


#4 posted 02-23-2016 04:44 PM

^Pressure washer works very well. That is how I cleaned up a bunch of old barn beams/lumber. They were covered and filled with 100+ years of dust, dirt, and crap (literally). I started with a grinder, but it was taking longer than I wanted and it was fumigating my woodshop with petrified poop dust.

On the driveway, the pressure washer made pretty short work of it, and all of the crud just ran off down the to the street rather than floating around my head. However, it also did a very good job of identifying any soft/rotted areas in the wood. Haha. They just caved in.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

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mpo414

19 posts in 388 days


#5 posted 02-23-2016 05:12 PM

Great news! I was hoping the pressure washer would make quicker work of the job as I have 26 boards at 12’ long to clean and was hoping to avoid spending the next 5 years wearing out my belt sander. Like you said I was a little worried about gouging the wood with the pressure washer, as I almost destroyed my deck once not paying attention to the wood chips flying when I was cleaning it. I figured I could experiment with the different pressure nozzles and how close I hold the wand to the wood to find the sweet spot for cleaning and not damaging the wood. Thanks for the tip!!!

-- Matt, Wyoming

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1187 days


#6 posted 02-23-2016 05:33 PM

I’ve used the pressure washer method before and like you said, you’ve got to be careful, especially with a powerful unit. Do you have any pictures, that sounds like nice wood?

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mpo414

19 posts in 388 days


#7 posted 02-23-2016 06:15 PM

Great thank you, sounds like a good option. I don’t have any photos but ill take a few and post them later today. Its great rough cut true 2×6x12 oak. Like I said before its weathered and gray but the little bit I have surfaced so far has some great character. Some of the boards have a good bit of bow to them but when cut into smaller lengths (40” or so) they are easy to work with. In Wyoming any hardwood is difficult to come buy so I snatched up the pile for $200. The local lumberyard is selling plain walnut S4S for $10.60/bf.

-- Matt, Wyoming

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Aidan1211

189 posts in 292 days


#8 posted 02-23-2016 06:16 PM

I second the grinder/ brush approach just make darn sure you keep your eyes closed! Sandblasted eyeballs wouldn’t be fun….

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#9 posted 02-23-2016 07:13 PM

I’ve heard roughsanding wood before planing can leave embedded sand grains that will ding your knives, but I can’t confirm. When I had to clean up some reclaimed deck boards (2×6 redwood) before planing, I ended up doing it on the table saw – raised the blade to 3”, set the fence to take about a 1/16 cut off the face, then set up featherboards and ran the face across the blade (flipping it end-for-end and running at again to get the full face).

But, I was working with 4’ to 6’ boards – not something 12’ long.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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mpo414

19 posts in 388 days


#10 posted 02-23-2016 08:11 PM

That is interesting, I remember reading somewhere someone else saying a similar thing, that by sanding you can push the sand grains deeper into the wood and not actually eliminating the problem. I like you idea about the table saw. Currently I am using the wood to make a few smaller table tops so I am actually cutting them into 40” long pieces so your table saw method would work.

-- Matt, Wyoming

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#11 posted 02-24-2016 01:17 AM

May not be an option for you, but a drum sander with some 50 grit paper works great to clean paint, dirt, bird crap, etc off reclaimed wood before jointing/planing. I have cleaned up miles of wood from my dad’s barn this way.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#12 posted 02-24-2016 08:29 PM


That is interesting, I remember reading somewhere someone else saying a similar thing, that by sanding you can push the sand grains deeper into the wood and not actually eliminating the problem. I like you idea about the table saw. Currently I am using the wood to make a few smaller table tops so I am actually cutting them into 40” long pieces so your table saw method would work.

- mpo414

It worked great for me – much faster than sanding, and a table saw blade can handle a lot more grit than planer knives. For the love of god wear goggles and a dust mask though, especially if you’re using a zero clearance insert.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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