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Help! Sanding/scraping/planing problem (anyone around Minneapolis that can help?)

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Forum topic by bues0022 posted 1218 days ago 1711 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bues0022

215 posts in 1661 days


1218 days ago

I’m really struggling with getting this wood to look nice. Picture is below. Sorry no close-ups of my problem, only pic I have is from my phone. Slab is Ash (not sure exact species). It was rough cut, then I planed it down with my router sled, hence the tool marks. Last night I took a belt sander and knocked down the cross-grain marks. Most of the wood looks pretty good, but the knots look terrible. No matter what I do I can’t seem to get rid of the marks left by the belt sander. I sat on the knot for almost 20 minutes with a DOS using 40 grit, and the belt sander marks are still there. One very bad side effect was the softer parts of the grain were removed near the margins of the knot, creating a terrible wavy finish – with the hard parts retaining the belt sander marks. There is some really nice curl around the knot I want to bring out, but don’t know how.

How can I get a very nice, clean, smooth finish on the entire board? Hand plane? If so, I actually 1) don’t own one, and 2) don’t know how to use one (but am more than willing to purchase and learn if that’s what it takes, but purchase must stay reasonably priced) Card scraper? Same two problems as above. Is there anyone in the Northern Minneapolis area that might be able to give me a hand and teach me a thing or two? This is for a Christmas gift and I’m up against the wall on time, and completely stumped on what to do.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN


20 replies so far

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bues0022

215 posts in 1661 days


#1 posted 1218 days ago

Any thoughts? I can’t be the first person to run into this issue.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1616 days


#2 posted 1218 days ago

you can use a cabinetscraper or there scraber plane like stanleys or the haevyer Veritas to do the job fast enoff for you

Dennis

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dbray45

2468 posts in 1277 days


#3 posted 1218 days ago

If it is just the knots and around the knots, you can use colored or dyed epoxy to fill the knot holes. Sand and finish. Someone on LJs used river rocks as an accent, which you could use to replace the knots. You could use clear acrylic to fill the holes and then the top. Great thing about this kind of work, but you have to figure out what you want it to look like first. If you have photoshop, take a good picture of the wood and fiddle with the picture to make the piece look the way you want it, then figure out how to do it for real.

If the piece is chipping out through the planer and you don’t have a bevel up hand plane, find someone that has a planer with helix heads or a drum sander that you can rent time on. These will mill without the chip outs.

Good luck.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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bues0022

215 posts in 1661 days


#4 posted 1218 days ago

The problem isn’t so much chipping, it’s just really deep scratches in and around the knots – from heavy grit sandpaper on the belt sander. I don’t really want to just use lighter grit sandpaper on the belt sander because I don’t think that tool gives a very nice flat surface. Since the picture shown above, I have since glued the boards together, so total width is approximately 22”.

I don’t have funds to drop $$ on a fancy plane either, so the Veritas is likely out. I thought I saw a post or blog the other day comparing some really expensive planes to some much cheaper planes (~$30 if I remember) and seeing not a whole lot of a difference. I’m trying to find what I can do without draining the bank. Perhaps finding a drum sander would work – just need to source one somewhere around here.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

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Hoakie

303 posts in 2537 days


#5 posted 1218 days ago

If the boards are relatively flat and you are just trying to get the machine marks out, I recommend finding the woodcraft store up there and get a card scraper and burnishing tool. Ask the guys there how to flatten and roll a bur (may even do it for you the first time). If they can’t help you, search here or on Google, there are plenty of How-To/step-by step instructions and videos out there. It may seem like it would be a big job, however it really is a pretty easy and cost effective way to take machine marks out boards. You shouldn’t even have t sand much more afterwards.

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

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pvwoodcrafts

221 posts in 2422 days


#6 posted 1218 days ago

get yourself a card scraper. Should be able to smooth it over with that. Just don’t be too aggressive with it around the knots

-- mike & judy western md. www. pvwoodcrafts.com pvwccf1@verizon.net

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bues0022

215 posts in 1661 days


#7 posted 1218 days ago

The boards are definitely quite flat, and am just trying to eliminate the machine marks. I’m not sure about woodcraft, but I know of a Rockler store up here. I’ll do some digging and see what I can figure out.

Do you think the scraper will be as effective as a plane would be? I started looking up planes today and coming from knowing nothing besides their general purpose, it’s making my head spin. A scraper seems like a simpler (and much cheaper) solution.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

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bues0022

215 posts in 1661 days


#8 posted 1218 days ago

Speaking of card scrapers, I thought I had an email a few weeks ago about a “how-to” on scrapers, but now I can’t find it. It might have been some kind of woodworkers email, or something like that. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

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Hoakie

303 posts in 2537 days


#9 posted 1218 days ago

I will start by stating that I am no expert with hand tools, however I have learned to effectively use a card scraper in short period of time. Once you figure out how to sharpen it, the scraper will serve you much better for what you are trying to accomplish in the short term. IMO a hand plane can be a bit more difficult to get then hang of for just smoothing machine marks out of your wide boards.

my 2 cents

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

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pintodeluxe

3032 posts in 1314 days


#10 posted 1218 days ago

My small town has a local cabinet shop that will do hourly shop work. Before I got my planer and bandsaw, I would run down there and have it done. I’m sure a planer wouldn’t have any trouble with that piece. It would probably take 5 minutes worth of planing.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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dbray45

2468 posts in 1277 days


#11 posted 1218 days ago

Scraper—after the plane

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1484 days


#12 posted 1218 days ago

Not sure of your method of sanding, but this is what I would do if your unable to find someone with a planer or drum sander. First put a 100 grit belt on your belt sander. Then take a spray bottle and spray down the face with water and let it set to absorb moisture. After it has set a bit it should start raising the grain. Then take your belt sander and sand lightly diagonally in one direction the length of the board. Mist again and then come back again the other direction diagonally the length of the board. Repeat this until you have removed most of the marks. Once your satisfied with that mist again and with a Random Orbital Sander sand with the grain until completely smooth. The key here is to sand lightly and keep the sander moving and from sitting in one spot. Also when misting be sure to let set to raise the grain.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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spunwood

1193 posts in 1337 days


#13 posted 1217 days ago

Just be sure that the marks you are trying to move are really from a machine and nut some strange part of the knots! best of luck.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View fussy's profile

fussy

979 posts in 1551 days


#14 posted 1217 days ago

Ryan,

First, 40 grit is awfully rough, and if you want to remove the scratches from this, you MUST go to a higher grade. You are correct in that a belt sander doesn’t give a fine finish, but hogs off material in a hurry. When you have it flat, as you say you have, switch to a random orbit sander and come up through the grades, forcing yourself to stay even, in a pattern covering the whole piece spending no morre time on one area than necessary. This just digs more holes. Do not skip a grade, wet the piece with paint thinner or water to reveal the scratches, and when they are about equal, go to the next higher grit. A good ros can be had for $70 to $100, and can give such a good finish that hand sandind will be minimal. The key is to cover the piece as evenly as possible, don’t skip a grade, and go on tto the next when the scratchews are about equal. The knots can be filled with 5-minute 2-part epoxy and then sanded down with the rest of the piece. If you’ve dug pits or groves in this area, fill here too. It won’t show under a finish.

Just take a breath, relax, and approach the problem in a calm, measured way. Panic and time preassure lead to bungled projects, jangled nerves, and possible injury. You can do this, but you HAVE TO MOVE AWAY FROM 40 GRIT!

Good ros choices would be rigid, bosch, or porter cable. If you or any LJ are looking for GOOD USED HAND TOOLS, look at www.sydnassloop.com. I just bought 2 pieces and they’re a pleasure to work with.

Merry Christmas all

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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dbray45

2468 posts in 1277 days


#15 posted 1215 days ago

I would not want to tell you what or how to do your project. The wonderful thing about woodworking is that there are thousands of ways to do something and get pretty close to the same results. I can tell you what I would do—

If you have a piece of scrap from the same material that you are having a problem with, it will probably do the same thing as the piece that you are having issues with. Oh, as a note, there are two things that I would use 60 grit for – 1.) I have a fence post that was cemented into the ground and I wanted it flush
2.) to replace a piece of driveway that I wanted traction—you get the idea

I do not have a drum sander so I improvize – the steps that I do are the hard way of doing things, but that is my choice.

I use the planer to get me within an 1/8” of desired thickness and clean off the rough. This will flatten the boards 85%-90%. My planer will, even with minimal pressure, force the board flat, only to resume a slight cup. It needs to do this to move the board through the blades.

I run through the electric jointer for effect – clean the rough stuff off.

Before I get the glue, I put the edge board in a vise and set the next layer on top with a light behind it. Hear I mark the high spots and with a jointer hand plane, I clean up the edges. When I am done, my goal is that there are no light gaps and the boards rest vertically. Without glue, clamp them and see if the two boards bow or make a cup oat the joint. It not, ready to pin the boards so they don’t slide when glue is applied. Then I glue this row and when dry, start the next row. Like I said, I do this the hard way.

After all are glued up and dry, the top is still 1/8 proud – if everything glued exactly flat – but wood does its own thing and is always full of surprises. I am not good enough to anticipate or know what the glue up result will be.

Now I set the top of its new frame or structure and see where it is out of level and where the rocking points are. I have two goals at this point, stop the rocking and have all visible edges rest cleanly. I mark the “high spots on the bottom, turn the top over and plane the “high” spots down. I remove very little at a time and use this as practice because when I flatten the top, it will do the same things as the bottom.

When the top is sitting solid, it is time to mork on the top surface. I screw the top down tight to the frame using 8 – 10 screws (I remove all but 4 when I am done and 2 of them allow for movement). For the top I flatten with the jointer plane, and when pretty close to flat, I get out the 220 grit sand paper and make 2 or 3 passes with the paper. The idea is not to remove anything but to show edges, which I use a card scraper to remove. When these edges are smooth, I use the sandpaper for 2 or more passes to see what I have missed. The scraper will leave a much smoother surface that the sand paper.

Once flat, the 220 grit is done and I use 400 grit to make the top ready for the finish. I apply the first coat of finish and replace the 400 grit with 1000 wet dry paper for the finishing.

It is a lot of work but this is my exercise and my entertainment.

Sorry for being long winded but if you want a really nice finish, this has worked repeatedly for me.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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