HELP! Sanding/Finishing Newbie Here

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Forum topic by FunctionalFretwork posted 06-24-2016 02:06 PM 439 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View FunctionalFretwork's profile


1 post in 126 days

06-24-2016 02:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding help scroll saw pine orange spot

I am running into a dilema. I am a beginning scrollsawer and I continuously run into the same issue when I go to finish my projects. I use a Ryobi detail sander to sand the project down. I start with 60 grit then I go to 120 grit then to 220 grit.

I am cutting my projects on 1/4” pine plywood for all of my projects.

I keep getting orange spots on my projects after sanding.

Is there any way to fix/prevent these issues? I’m not exactly sure what I am doing wrong. There are pictures below.!

Full Project

Look at Cowboy Hat

Middle of Cowboy Chest


6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


15486 posts in 2430 days

#1 posted 06-24-2016 02:11 PM

Hmmm, you could be sanding through the top layer of the plywood and that’s the glue. Id suggest just using the 220 and eliminating the lower grits. 60 grit is pretty coarse for everything aside from stripping paint and such.

Nice scroll work!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View BurlyBob's profile


3494 posts in 1689 days

#2 posted 06-24-2016 02:35 PM

Chris is right on the money. The outside veneer layer is way to thin to sand much. Give a light wipe with a damp cloth, let dry and kiss it with 220 or even 320. that orange your seeing is most likely the glue between layers. I learned this, the hard way.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#3 posted 06-24-2016 02:48 PM

I agree 60 grit is way to course for ply I’d say to use nothing more course than 180 and to sand hard to get to areas by hand, not with a sander.

-- Custom furniture

View Redoak49's profile


1824 posts in 1412 days

#4 posted 06-24-2016 02:50 PM

IMHO that is way to rough of sandpaper. I only sand with 220.

You also need to look at what blade you are using. With 1/4” plywood, you can use a blade like the Flying Dutchman 3 or 5 ultra reverse which leaves a clean. In addition, the quality of the plywood may be an issue. Better quality plywood and the right blade will leave an edge which needs very little sanding.

View Lazyman's profile


618 posts in 811 days

#5 posted 06-24-2016 03:18 PM

I agree with everyone that you are using too rough a grade of sandpaper. Only time I ever use anything below 100 is when I am trying to remove a lot of material such as while shaping on a belt sander or removing a thick finish.

The other thing is that the plywood you are using has a paper thin veneer on the outside surfaces that is much thinner than the other plies so even using 180 or above it is easy to sand through it to expose the orange or pink glue layer beneath it, especially with a power sander. About the time that you sand off the primer on the surface you break through the veneer. It is so thin that it is hard to even see it in cross section without a magnifying lens. If you are going to paint it anyway, just lightly sand by hand and you are good to go.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 844 days

#6 posted 06-25-2016 03:51 AM

I wouldn’t even go that far, to be honest. If all you’re using to scroll w/is 1/4” plywood, were it me, I would use a palm sander w/220, run your sander over the plywood before you stick your pattern to it, just enough to get a smooth surface. As far as blades, for 1/4”, you could go down to a #1 or #2, if you wanted to. The ultra reverse blades are a good choice for plywood. Less tear out, & less finish sanding. By the looks of your work, you could graduate to wood, & get away from the plywood. You can start w/a number of wood species. Even pallet wood. And you can start trying different blade sizes & types. 1/2” is the ideal thickness to work with. #3 or #4 blades work perfect. The more you practice, & get to know your saw, the more you’ll learn. Read & research every chance you can. Listen to experience. Learn from your mistakes. I own 5 saws, & been scrolling 22 years. I keep over 20 different types & sizes of blades on hand. I’ve done fretwork all the way up to signs & beer mugs. If you’d care to take a look at some of my work, you can go to sawdust Haven on Facebook, & most of my projects are there. I cut my own feathers for our dream catchers. All my wood is rough sawn hardwood, & I plane it to the thickness I need, then do a light sand job. The scroll saw is an amazing machine once you figure it out. There is more to just drilling holes in wood & start cutting. Keep practicing, back off on the sandpaper, & you’ll do alright! Your work looks awesome to this point! Keep up the good work!!

-- Sawdust703

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