Tips & Tricks: Getting the Wood Smoo-oo-ooth

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 08-26-2011 11:19 PM 3166 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18615 posts in 4124 days

08-26-2011 11:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding planers scrapers planes smooth gateway tips tricks

What are your “tips and tricks” (and challenges) re: getting the wood smooth? (sanding, scraping, planing, ...)


Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

16 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3014 days

#1 posted 08-27-2011 05:44 AM

I have scrapers, and they ARE useful, but I use them only in emergencies. I have a couple hand planes (my go-to is a cheap HF block plane) that I use only grudgingly. I confess to using sandpaper or sanding sponges for everything. I discovered Abranet and love it for its’ dust collection characteristics, and its’ longevity. On most woods I stop at 220 or maybe 320, and apply a oil finish with 400 thru 600 wet-or-dry then wax. On my favorite wood, yellowheart, I sand through 2000 then wax and buff. Ever see a yellow mirror?


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

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3124 days

#2 posted 08-27-2011 06:51 AM

Power tools all the way. Scrapers are for younger folks who like to sweat. So are handplanes, for that matter.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Grumpy's profile


23838 posts in 3814 days

#3 posted 08-29-2011 02:35 AM

For turning I use the usual grits down the line then 000 steel wool & finish off with a handfull of sawdust. The sawdust really does give a polished finish.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 08-29-2011 02:38 AM

For turning, go to the grinder often and keep the tool sharp, then you can start sanding at 220.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2800 days

#5 posted 08-29-2011 04:29 AM

I’m not exactly a younger guy, but I love my cabinet scrapers. They save a lot of sanding and leave no gulleys. But I do finish sanding, only to 180. I’ve seen lots of talk about sanding and lots of folks agree with me that anything more the 180 is closing the wood grain.

Then again, about as many folks would disagree and sand all the way up to big numbers.

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

View twiceisnice's profile


95 posts in 2790 days

#6 posted 08-29-2011 07:48 AM


View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3490 days

#7 posted 08-29-2011 04:13 PM

Wet and raise the grain before sanding then see “twiceisnice”

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View woodjewelry's profile


49 posts in 2872 days

#8 posted 09-03-2011 10:06 PM

Plane, scrape, 120 grit, seal end grain and difficult grain with sanding sealer, and or grain filler, 240 grit, 400 grit, 600 grit, first finish coat, de nib with 600 grit, second finish coat, de nib with 1000 grit. third finish coat, denib 1000 grit. leave 2 weeks to dry, Burnish with burnishing cream to 10,000 grit.

Make sure you brush off any traces of grit from the previous sanding, one lump of grit from 120 paper turning up on your 1000 grit sanding will ruin your day.

It may sound like a lot of steps, but I have used this technique in my short run production shop for years, by going down through the grits you only need to sand for a short while at each grit. If your going to stain the wood very dark avoid orbital sanders, as they often leave swirl marks from trapped grit.

-- Mark, Lithuania,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#9 posted 10-01-2011 04:34 PM

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2526 days

#10 posted 10-01-2011 06:48 PM

cr1 recommended a “light saber.” I would advise against this…

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Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3401 days

#11 posted 10-26-2011 05:47 AM

Broken glass scraps from glass stores. Used as scrapers.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View tblrxdave's profile


47 posts in 3257 days

#12 posted 10-26-2011 03:22 PM

I use broken glass also. I find that it works really well on knots and end grain. Sandpaper has a tendency to leave scratches in the wood. Infinite shapes for an edge. For a new edge score a line with a glass cutter and snap off the old edge.

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 2610 days

#13 posted 10-26-2011 07:28 PM

never heard of the broken glass trick. Is there a type of glass that works better than others?

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View tblrxdave's profile


47 posts in 3257 days

#14 posted 11-02-2011 04:24 PM

I use 1/8” or 1/4” standard plate. Window glass, picture frames, mirrors. I don’t think that I’ve ever used tempered glass. Sanding wild grain patterns can be exasperating when trying to eliminate blotching. This is where I’ve found glass the easiest way to smooth out changes in grain patterns. Straight or curved, big or little pieces they all work until they get dull. I’ve had glass shatter in my hand while scrapping but haven’t cut myself yet. Ware gloves and experiment.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2915 days

#15 posted 11-04-2011 02:18 AM

Smooth plane. Ready to finish surface with a properly tuned smoother. Card scraper or cabinet scraper for gnarly wood.

-- Mike

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