Burned maple with small Forstner bit... how to clean it up?

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Forum topic by nwbusa posted 09-23-2012 08:19 PM 1383 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1021 posts in 2484 days

09-23-2012 08:19 PM

I drilled a series of holes into some 4/4 hard maple with a 3/4” Forstner bit, and a few of the holes ended up burned pretty good on the inside walls. I’ve tried using some 80 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to remove the burns, but its slow going. I was thinking of using a small sanding drum on my Dremel, but I’m concerned that might lead to more problems. Any suggestions on the most effective / fastest way to clean up the burns (aside from not burning it to begin with…)?

-- John, BC, Canada

5 replies so far

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3358 days

#1 posted 09-23-2012 08:29 PM

Spindle sander. But keep it cool by sanding just a little bit on each hole, then moving on to the next. Then come back around and repeat. Also keep the sandpaper cleaned off with a rubber stick or tennis shoe.

No heat = no burn marks.

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

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1021 posts in 2484 days

#2 posted 09-23-2012 08:56 PM

Unfortunately, the piece won’t fit on my spindle sander. I think I may have to try careful application of the Dremel.

-- John, BC, Canada

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2695 days

#3 posted 09-23-2012 09:37 PM

If you glue on or use PSA sandpaper on cheap imported dowels, which are always undersize, and put a hanger bolt on one end (combination wood thread, machine thread) you can run it in with a cordless drill. I’m assuming you don’t need an accurate 3/4” hole here. In the future, use only a very sharp bit and do it like guys going shopping at the mall, get in and get out quick. Bostik cutting tool lubricant works wonders too.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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1122 posts in 3323 days

#4 posted 09-23-2012 10:27 PM

I use a little bit of naptha.. the burn in maple is actually a kind of caramelized sugar which heats up really fast and to higher temperatures than the wood cells themselves can handle.. (your forstner bit is dull) but the burn actually is the carbonized wood cells that have hardened (and shrunk) and since maple cells are so small any friction heat is captured really fast.. so maybe try naptha to clean the burn areas and open the wood cells.. the sanding will go a little easier but you still have to remove all the browned maple wood. I have used this on a few woods: yellow heart, black cherry, pecan.. etc. it does NOT remove the burn only lightens it and opens wood cells. Good luck. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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1021 posts in 2484 days

#5 posted 09-24-2012 01:11 AM

Thanks guys. Dremel did the trick. I probably do need to sharpen the bit, too.

-- John, BC, Canada

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