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Forum topic by skippyland posted 03-23-2011 08:38 PM 1105 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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158 posts in 2661 days

03-23-2011 08:38 PM

Hey, all of you jocks out there, after recently viewing a posted project, a question came to mind. On most of my projects, whether a table, cradle or toy, I usually sand all surfaces to a solid 220 grit…maybe 320 on end grains. It seems like I learned along the way that you really do not want to close the pores up too tightly for the finish. Isn’t sanding to 1000 a bit of overkill? Your thoughts are appreciated.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

8 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 03-23-2011 08:52 PM

I can’t remember the last time I went past 220 on the bare wood. Even if the wood is as smooth as glass, the finishing process will make it rough(er) again. I usually go to 150 or 180, and do my finer grit work on the stained/finished surfaces. When it feels smooth to the touch, it’s done. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 11:24 PM

For furniture I use a cabinet scraper and then sand at 320 grit, but that’s typically the only sanding I do. For furniture going above that seem overkill to me, but for turning, particularly things like pens which are handled all the time, people sand to incredibly high grits, well into the 1000’s,

-- Glen

View DrDirt's profile


4423 posts in 3712 days

#3 posted 03-23-2011 11:45 PM

I have seen where some chair makers go to these high grits to burnish the wood and then use an oil finish – so not trying to use stains. From photos – it does give a nice lustre.

Canadian Woodworks here on LJ – goes to a Abralon pad for making Maloof style rockers
The link includes a side by side picture of 320 grit and a 320grit followed by abralon and burnishing – it really is a striking difference.

I do like Glen have always stopped at 320 but a rocker is on my bucket list

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2953 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 04:46 AM

As a rule I stop at 220 for sanding projects that I plan to stain. For me anything higher is to achieve a burnishing effect before a oil finish is applied.

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

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2806 days

#5 posted 03-24-2011 05:38 AM

Sawkerf… you’re on the money. Like many LJ members, I’m pretty much self taught and some of the books I’ve read suggested just up to 180. The only “formal” training I’ve had was for a couple of months, 2 days a week, with a master cabinet maker. This guy was on the front cover of the Jan.2007 Fine Woodworking magazine. Marty called me to help him finish a project he was working on and I had just retired. Money wasn’t an issue, so I took less $ then he offered with the understanding I wanted to learn. I asked him about this topic. Marty uses cabinet scrappers followed by a rigorous sanding. The cabinet scrappers get the saw marks out and levels the surface. This is followed by sanding with 100, 120, and 150 grit paper. For each grit stage, pencil mark the surface and sand out the marks. This is done twice for each grit. After the 150 step, dampen your surface with a wet rag (don;t soak it but dampen it so it takes about 20 minutes to dry). This pops out most dents and whiskers the rest of the surface. Hand sand the surface using 180 grit. It’s done! The only time he uses 220 paper is between finish coats, hand sanded… or when working with pine (soft wood).

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18250 posts in 3645 days

#6 posted 03-24-2011 07:49 AM

1000 grit is beyond sanding and into polishing.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2649 days

#7 posted 03-24-2011 11:48 AM

I never go past 220 on bare wood. But I’ll go to 600 grit or higher on my top coats if I’m going for a glass finish.

-- New Auburn,WI

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2661 days

#8 posted 03-24-2011 02:43 PM

Thanks, Gents. for all of your replies.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

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