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Need some sanding advice

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Forum topic by Tedster posted 798 days ago 1022 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedster

2270 posts in 835 days


798 days ago

I’m practicing sanding on a few scraps, some panga panga and some old growth douglas, sanding down to 600 and getting a nice shiny luster on the hard grain of the wood, but the soft grain doesn’t polish up at all. I would like to get that even luster across the whole piece. I would think filling the grain, but they are not open grain woods. How can I get the softer grain to shine up like the harder grain? Here’s a couple of photos of what I’ve got so far. The Panga Panga clearly shows what I’m talking about with the softer grain. I didn’t catch it quite as well with the douglas fir.

Note that I would like to do this without any finish or sealer, if possible. I know it won’t last without some kind of finish, but it’s just an exercise.

Thanks

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th


17 replies so far

View nomercadies's profile

nomercadies

498 posts in 963 days


#1 posted 798 days ago

I must follow this for information on the replies. I would use a scraper, but what do I know?

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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vonhagen

483 posts in 989 days


#2 posted 798 days ago

its kinda the nature of the beast, no matter how much or how you sand it wont change but depending on the finish is the key here, if you go beyond 220 grit lacquer has a hard time sticking and thats the finish i would use. for an oil finish the finer the better but doug fir is not a good choice for an oil finish imo. but no finish is what is desired here so why not exagerate that softer grain and give it some 3d depth by sand blasting it then block sanding the hard grain to 2000 grit in steps, i think that would look very cool. just a thought.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

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Tedster

2270 posts in 835 days


#3 posted 798 days ago

I used a scraper to get the chatter marks out, but I just can’t get the darn thing sharp enough for finishing… it just seems to tear out the soft grain. Maybe that’s what I should be practicing. I’m still learning this stuff.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

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nomercadies

498 posts in 963 days


#4 posted 798 days ago

How do you sharpen your scraper?

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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Tedster

2270 posts in 835 days


#5 posted 798 days ago

Thanks Vonhagen, It would look cool, but it’s just the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve.

I’m going to step back into the shop and see if I can get a card scraper sharp enough to do the job. I don’t have a honing tool, so that may be the problem there. But I’ll know is a little while. I’ll be back a little later.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

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vonhagen

483 posts in 989 days


#6 posted 798 days ago

try taking a brown paper bag and block with it it works like burnishing, a scraper is just going to tear and chatter. i use a brown paper bag a lot to polish dull spots, elbow grease.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

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nomercadies

498 posts in 963 days


#7 posted 798 days ago

I need to get some rest, so I will drop off this information then hit the rack. I put a fine mill file in my wooden jawed vise near the bottom of the jaws and in a position that is flat and parallel to the floor. I use one of the jaws of the vise like a rip fence. I take the scraper and rub it in one direction against the direction of the teeth on the file. The scraper blade is kept at a ninety degree angle to the file by making sure I have constant contact with that one jaw of the vise. I check to see if there is a bur on both sides of the square bottom edge of the scraper. If I have a bur on both sides, I use it either in my two handled scraper or just by hand. If the bur is not there or disappointing, I stroke it again until I get an effect I like. The bur is very sharp. I get a very interesting effect with oak, but don’t know about your selections of wood. Good luck.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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Kelby

133 posts in 1035 days


#8 posted 798 days ago

vonhagen is right – the best you can do is sand to a fine grit and then burnish the wood. It is unlikely that it will ever look like hardwood, but burnishing is the best you can do. Paper bag or paper towel will work, but shavings from your scraper will work even better.

-- Kelby

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Tedster

2270 posts in 835 days


#9 posted 798 days ago

Thanks for all this excellent advice everybody, I really do appreciate it.

nomercadies, is that to say you get the burr straight from the file, without honing? I do pretty much what you describe, but I don’t get a burr until I use a chrome vanadium screwdriver to hone it. Do you apply much pressure or just lightly pull it across the file?

I think I got a decent edge on the scraper this time, as I got small shavings (not dust) without using too much pressure. I still have to practice my scraping technique though – getting the angle right, longer sweeps, and not leaving stop/start marks.

I tried burnishing with 0000 steel wool and that turned out to be a mistake – left a dull gray hue and I had to re-sand and start over. Then I used a coarse rag and that worked out pretty well. I’ll try the paper bag, paper towel and shavings tomorrow.

I have concluded that the soft grain will never shine up like the hard grain, simply because it is too porous. Still, this is a good exercise for me. I’d really like to get the smoothest surface possible before applying any finish coats. I have some padouk, walnut, and a few others that I also want to experiment on. But that’s for another day, namely tomorrow. It’s time to call it a night.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

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Bobmedic

302 posts in 1426 days


#10 posted 798 days ago

I know you said no sealer but if you use a ½ pound cut of dewaxed shellac it will soak into the soft grain and then you can sand to an even sheen. Unfortunately it’s the nature of the wood that the softer grain can’t be polished as good as the hard grain. Thats exactly why you have to wait for a finish to harden and cure be for you can rub out a high gloss finish. If the topcoat of finish is uncured and soft it won’t polish. Like the old saying goes “You can’t polish a turd”. Some have used buffing wheels and compounds but I think with the light color of the wood the buffing compound would discolor the wood.

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

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jmos

681 posts in 993 days


#11 posted 798 days ago

Try this video on how to sharpen a card scraper http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/scraper-sharpening-w-william-ng/ It’s very good.

You do get your edge from burnishing, not off the file. And you don’t need a big honking burr, a big burr is weaker and will break or roll easier.

-- John

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tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1610 days


#12 posted 798 days ago

Yeah, I use shellac to get a sheen on things like this. Have never been able to make it work without…

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

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Dallas

2861 posts in 1111 days


#13 posted 798 days ago

Ted, I burnish/hone the edge on my scrapers with a round screw driver shaft. It makes the edges nice and flat and gives a prety good finish, although I’m not sure how good it would be on Doug Fir!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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bondogaposis

2478 posts in 975 days


#14 posted 798 days ago

There is always going to be a difference between the early wood and late wood, that is just how trees grow. The difference is cellular, the early wood cells have large cavities and thin walls, the late wood cells have small cavities and thick walls. Here is a picture.

I think the shellac sealer idea is best as that will help to even the densities between the early and late wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View nomercadies's profile

nomercadies

498 posts in 963 days


#15 posted 797 days ago

I’ve had a talk with me. After I watched William Ng do sharpening the right way I felt kind of silly. How could running a scraper at a 90 degree angle on a fine mill file firmly enough and often enough to give you a fine bur you are happy with give you anything close to what Mr. Ng is doing. He is fabulous. Then I looked over at the table next to the chair where I am typing this. I looked at and felt the top once more. The table is red oak. I am so happy with the feel and look of that piece, I am not sure I want to go to the time and expense of doing it right. I do strop the scraper on a large, wide, leather belt after exposing it to the file. I didn’t mention that, but that doesn’t make me righter than before. I don’t recommend my process to anyone after watching how to do it properly. I’m just not sure I want my opinion messed up by facts. I do lace my Kool-Aid with Cream Soda after all, so perhaps people shouldn’t read this. (off subject … Bondo Gaposis … what a hoot of a name!)

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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