Removing burn marks

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 06-13-2011 02:31 AM 7091 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2499 days

06-13-2011 02:31 AM

I vaguely recall hearing a tip once about removing burn marks caused by a router without just sanding them off.

Of course, I can’t remember what the tip was.

Does anyone know a quick and easy way to remove burn marks caused by a router without sanding them off?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

14 replies so far

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3180 days

#1 posted 06-13-2011 02:44 AM

When possible, I use a scraper.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2408 days

#2 posted 06-13-2011 03:37 AM

I just run another pass to clean up burn marks. I have heard of people using 0000 steel wool and lemon or mineral oil, but then you might as well sand in my opinion. I thought I’d google router burn marks and see what came up the choices were pretty common, second pass, scraper, sandpaper. There were a lot about what the causes were. Such as hogging off to much at once, and to fast or to slow of bit speed and feed rate.

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

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8111 posts in 2853 days

#3 posted 06-13-2011 03:14 PM

I’ve tried rubbing alcohol. It worked for the lighter burns. Greg has the right idea, I think. I still end up sanding, though.
This thing is worth it’s weight in gold for quickly and almost effortlessly sanding and smoothing edges. Burn sanding
So is this one. Rigid

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2079 days

#4 posted 06-13-2011 04:55 PM

My last pass thru the router takes only 1/32” or 1/64” off. The result is a very clean cut with no burning.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View MrWoodworker's profile


65 posts in 2019 days

#5 posted 06-13-2011 06:37 PM

I second doing a junk pass to remove the bulk of the wood and then finishing with a fine cut like DLCW mentioned. Unless I’m doing a load of routing, the two or more passes almost always take less time than if I burned the wood and had to sand or scrap, plus you don’t end up with a flaw in your line if you accidentally get to aggressive removing the burns.

I’ve heard of using mineral oil, but haven’t done it. I wonder how it would affect the finish.. I may do a test and post back here if I remember to.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2499 days

#6 posted 06-13-2011 06:49 PM

The idea of using 2 passes is a good one.

I’m doing a round over cut with a guide bearing. If I change the bearing to something that is just a little too big I will be ready for the first pass.

As an FYI – We have already routed, with the round over bit, about 400 linear feet and we have about 500 feet to go. I got way too many burn marks in the first installment primarily because I had a guy doing the job that didn’t exactly know what he was doing. He was letting material stop in place too often. Note that we are doing this on a router table which, in my opinion, is a safer way to do this. The guy doing this operation has strict orders not to put his fingers within 6 inches of the bit.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2117 days

#7 posted 06-13-2011 07:39 PM

Has anyone commented on router speed and bit sharpness? I’d look there first.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2408 days

#8 posted 06-13-2011 09:25 PM

Yes Al, I did briefly. As Rich did point out the other guy didn’t keep a consistent feed rate. I think this was the guy he might have been talking about in another post working with others.

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

View grizzman's profile


7783 posts in 2728 days

#9 posted 06-14-2011 12:06 AM

i think rich needs to get them folks moving in a different direction…like outta his shop…… still got them folks in there rich???...i like the idea of one shop…one worker….let the folks who volunteer work outside..cant they help with dust collection rich….or broom detail…lol…....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2499 days

#10 posted 06-14-2011 12:22 AM

This is the final week of construction. I’d do it all myself, except the sanding and finishing, if I thought I could meet the deadline. I don’t think I could.

The first batch of 32 panels is in the staining/finishing stage. Stain was applied this morning. That seemed to go well. I gave some instructions and left them on their own so I could get back to work on completing the second batch. We set up racks to hold the panels in the church basement so those people are not in my shop. I went back when they were done and it looks like they did a good job.

The schedule calls for staining and finishing the second batch of 32 on Thursday and a third mini-batch of 8 more panels should be ready by Monday

Installation will be in the middle of next week and the dedication ceremony is a week from Sunday.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3430 days

#11 posted 06-14-2011 12:41 AM

Paint is the best fix i know of. Lol

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3100 days

#12 posted 06-14-2011 01:09 AM

Yeah, and you don’t need to sand, it is already burniushed smooth as it can ever be :-))

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

View bigike's profile


4048 posts in 2713 days

#13 posted 06-14-2011 01:57 AM

Mineral spirits and scrape.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2483 days

#14 posted 06-15-2011 05:16 AM


I have heard that burn marks can be removed with Acetone. However, I haven’t ever tried it. Whenever possible, I try to control bit speed and feed rate so that I don’t have burn marks, but they cannot always be helpled.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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