My Thoughts on Sanding

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Forum topic by Wildwood posted 07-03-2016 07:03 PM 700 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2468 posts in 2331 days

07-03-2016 07:03 PM

Goal for every woodturner to aim for is off the tool finish! Most professional & non-professional woodworkers hate sanding! Only reasons to sand is remove imperfections and prepare surface for finish. In reality many of us woodturner sand to excess! We spend more time sanding than necessary! Once imperfections like tool marks, ridges, etc gone why sand any further? Over sanding just burnishes the wood and possibility of finish not adhering to the surface.

General rules to live by. You cannot sand away torn end grain! Those scratches at the bottom of a bowl impossible to sand away. Re-sharpen your gouge or scraper, improve your turning technique! Depending upon shape of the bowl need different bevel angle or gouge with double bevel.

My personal preferences is choose a sanding sequence based upon surface of the wood before me! Select the highest grit to get started if 100 grit or 150 grit will work don’t start with 80 grit. Yes, have been times wished had 60 grit on hand! Have spent days removing sanding scratches after using 80 grit! Sand thru higher grits until cannot see sanding scratches from previous sanding and then stop sanding! Be sure remove sanding dust as move thru each grit.

Every finishing manufacturer provides a sanding sequence for the products they sell won’t hurt to follow their advice! Most finishing wood books echo what the manufacturers say! Yes, your mileage will vary!

Buy good sandpapers! I start with aluminum oxide (friable) and finish sand with garnet paper (non-friable). Also use blue flex disc from Vince’s for power sanding.

At one time used higher grit stearated AO paper, Silicon Carbide wet/dry paper for finishing the finish. This where need higher grit papers! These days prefer to use micromesh wet sanding/polishing for that purpose! Some folks prefer rubbing compounds & buffing wheels.

Things have learned about sanding:

Use a light touch, turn my lathe down to lower speed to avoid burnish the wood.

Sandpapers can be a blessing or curse. You can add to imperfections or mask design details by improperly sanding or too much sanding.

All sandpapers get dull with use, throw dull sandpaper away the grit does not become suddenly finer! Pressing too hard will dull sandpaper faster and burnish the wood! If you are riding the bevel turning also burnish the wood but light sanding prepares surface for finish.

After think am done with sanding bare wood wipe off with MS or plain water and check for scratches didn’t see; take outside and check in sunlight before apply finish!

Everything want or not want to know about sand paper!

-- Bill

4 replies so far

View Mark's profile


971 posts in 2171 days

#1 posted 07-04-2016 05:12 PM

I live to sand. :)

-- Mark

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2959 days

#2 posted 07-04-2016 07:43 PM

80 grit gouge works pretty good. ;o)

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View BigTreeBC's profile


8 posts in 901 days

#3 posted 07-04-2016 09:12 PM

A belt sand with 80 grit has fixed many of my mistakes in the past.

View Wildwood's profile


2468 posts in 2331 days

#4 posted 07-04-2016 09:48 PM

Before got into pen turning can think of only one instance where sanded something to 2000 grit. Turn a Teak basin (sink) for a man with a sail boat.

Was at a craft fair and group of pen turners came to my tables and admiring my work. Guess pen turning guru took delight in telling the group what sanding to 600 or 800 grit does for a turned piece. Didn’t have the heart to tell them never sanded any of that stuff past 320 grit. Wasn’t turning pens at the time had an assortment of stuff, bowls, lamps, mirrors etc trying to sell. After getting into pen turning bout finer grit rolls and still have a lot of it.

I have no problem starting sanding with 320 or 400 grit paper due to experience with skews with pen barrels. Ended up sanding thru to 800 grit before applying a finish. Guess once found about micromesh and started wet sanding/polishing with the stuff went back to my old method of sanding and finishing the finish. Guess one day will use up those higher grit rolls.

Have gotten into more trouble with 80 grit sandpaper so used it sparingly. Less of a problem now that use disc & power sand. Before that would rather plow through bottom or sides of a bowl before using 80 grit sandpaper.

-- Bill

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