Sanding Plywood

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Forum topic by dakotawood posted 11-25-2010 04:51 PM 12279 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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211 posts in 2808 days

11-25-2010 04:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding plywood sanding plywood

Alright, silly straight forward question here:

What’s the best technique for sanding plywood?

I’m thinking it’s already a relatively smooth surface, so would you start with a higher grit? Hand sand or random orbit? I’m afraid of getting carried away with a random orbit and going too deep. Any and all thoughts appreciated.

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving all!

-- Travis, South Dakota

5 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 11-25-2010 04:57 PM

The last sheet of birch plywood that I purchased from Lowes had a veneer thickness of 10 thousandths of an inch. (I measured a small chip) Obviously, only very light sanding can be tolerated.

I trimmed the edge banding with a Stanley knife and it was all too easy to cut clear thru the veneer. To “fix” this problem I bought an edge bander from Woodcraft. It worked like a dream.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#2 posted 11-25-2010 05:01 PM

It depends on the type of plywood and what you are trying to do. Generally, if I’m using a cabinet-grade plywood, I don’t sand at all. If you are dealing with a sanded pine construction-grade plywood, I suppose you could give it a light go with 150 or finer. It’s very easy to sand through the first layer. You can use a ROS if you want…. just keep it moving and don’t apply pressure.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3505 days

#3 posted 11-25-2010 05:04 PM

I usually sand it very carefully using 220 grit or higher and do it by hand. Some ply veneers are very thin like 8iowa said. Especially if you buy it at the big box stores. The best ply is sold at hardwood lumber companies that deal in hardwood lumbers for furniture. You will find the veneer is thicker but you still have to be very careful when sanding.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1073 posts in 3198 days

#4 posted 11-25-2010 05:09 PM

I have dealt with sanding birch plywood and it hasn’t turned out good. When I have stained the wood and it turns out two different colors. Where I sanded over plugs it was exceptionally smooth and did not take stain very well (used 150 grit). Where I did not sand very well it took the stain and made it dark, but the surface was rougher. You can tell it my two table projects. Good luck with it and let us know how it turns out.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2855 days

#5 posted 11-25-2010 05:11 PM

I’ll agree with Charlie and Wayne. !50 or finer for sure. with any big box ply your better off hand sanding. The veneers are incredibly thin (imports). Better grade plys, such as Columbia etc., as Wayne said can tolerate a little more. I’ll sometimes use a cabinet scraper with a light touch if I need to even up an edge glue up. Less chance of going through on a random interior veneer “bump”.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

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