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Sanding ash wood - please advice

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Forum topic by Skiedra posted 06-09-2013 06:31 PM 1738 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


06-09-2013 06:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood sanding cutting board

Hello, fellow lumberjocks,

Please advice a novice.

I am experimenting at making cutting boards from ash wood.

I rough sand using 40 grit sandpaper and then 180 grit paper using orbital sander.

There is a problem: after sanding wood does not seem completely finished. It is very smooth to touch and stroke, yet I can see tiny gaps left in the board. Fiber tear-out??

Once I rub in olive oil, it looks and feels OK. Yet after a week of using the cutting board, it became rough to touch like some 80 grit sand paper. It looks to me as if some fibers “stood up”


23 replies so far

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1581 days


#1 posted 06-09-2013 06:40 PM

I think your problem is going from 40 to 180 if I understand correctly. 40 is too coarse to start with (try 80) then 100/120/150/180 and maybe even 220.

-- Life is good.

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#2 posted 06-09-2013 06:53 PM

Howie, thanks for answering.

The boards are cut with a lumbermill bandsaw and has stripes left. It takes a lot of sanding with 80-100 to make it smooth.

View ondrej77's profile

ondrej77

21 posts in 472 days


#3 posted 06-09-2013 07:34 PM

trick i learned from my father is to start with 80 grit and after you are done take wet rag and wipe your board, then sand 100 and wet rag again, 150, 220, 320, 400 and wipe it with that wet rag between, after that mineral oil and wet 600 paper , wipe it down and oil it and you are done :) works for me so i hope it will for you too

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1508 days


#4 posted 06-09-2013 10:16 PM

Not skipping grits is a very good rule of thumb, as noted. Each grit removes the sanding scratches of the one before, in a controlled way. You’ll use less paper using this system.

FWIW, olive oil will go rancid. Superior choice, also as noted, is mineral oil, available in the laxative section at your larger grocery stores.

Warm it, but not in the microwave, for better penetration.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 06-10-2013 09:59 AM

Some great advice here, thank you. ondrej77, do you sand them again while they are still wet or do you wait for the boards to dry??

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ondrej77

21 posts in 472 days


#6 posted 06-10-2013 08:08 PM

Just wait until board looks dry and then start with higher grit, only 600 i sand with mineral oil

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5472 posts in 2033 days


#7 posted 06-10-2013 09:10 PM

It’d save a lot of sanding if you could hit the boards with a jointer, planer, or even a handplane to remove the bandsaw marks prior to sanding.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#8 posted 06-11-2013 05:25 AM

knotscott, I do have a planer, yet it sometimes leave grooves at the end of the boards. Too little pressure when feeding the board?

View unbob's profile

unbob

408 posts in 561 days


#9 posted 06-11-2013 06:28 AM

I have never worked with Ash.
But know a few things about it from owning Fender electric guitars.
Fender used Ash on very early guitars, and guitars with see through finish such as what was called the Mary Kaye Stratocaster, with see through blonde finish.
Fender used a clear fill coat called Fullerplast, before the final nitro finish, to help solve the problem you are having with micro voids.
Sanding alone will probably not work, as the more you sand just exposes more voids.
After time, even with thickly laid finish, the grain raises, and can be seen looking across the surface at an angle.
I think Ash would not make a good cutting board, better for guitars.

For a good view of such a guitar, check out youtube vids of Gene Vincent and his guitar player”Wild Willy”

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#10 posted 06-11-2013 08:55 AM

unbob, in my country I can get my hands on:

oak – insanely expensive
ash – most of the cutting boards here are made from ash
birch – too soft?
maple – yet is is pretty rare
alder – dunno if anyone makes cutting boards using alder…
pine – :D ;)

The rest (cherry, walnut, etc.) is pretty much out of reach in estern/central Europe.

View Stefflus's profile

Stefflus

27 posts in 477 days


#11 posted 06-11-2013 09:12 AM

Skiedra:
I’m guessing these are supposed to be flat, so a plane is the way to go. Now what are these grooves you are getting on the planer?
-Google “planer snipe”. -is this it? If so, the outfeed side of the plane is set too low.
-Are the grooves protruding and running along the direction of feed? If so, your blades are chipped. No biggie, just plane these grooves down with a handplane, or sand them down.

Up here in Northern Europe, Birch and Pine cutting boards are common, but then again we have a very practically oriented tradition, so utilities are used until they are worn, then just replaced. And Pine does wear fast. In the modern Norwegian kitchen however, Oak and Bamboo cutting boards are gaining popularity.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#12 posted 06-11-2013 10:05 AM

Stefflus, I’ve some planer snipe at the ends, and some U shape grooves near the ends. Bet it’s from lack of pressure and the board small jumping up and down while being pushed

No “grooves protruding and running along the direction” . I figured it out when I saw some and sharpened my blades with a sanding sponge.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

428 posts in 1741 days


#13 posted 06-11-2013 10:27 AM

Skiedra:
” Yet after a week of using the cutting board, it became rough to touch like some 80 grit sand paper. It looks to me as if some fibers “stood up”.

This is usually a good indication that you’re overusing your sandpaper as well. Just like your tools, sandpaper needs to be kept ‘sharp’ as well.
Overused, or ‘dull’ sandpaper doesn’t cut the wood fibers as it should, it folds them over and forces the fibers back into the pores of the wood.
In effect, dull sandpaper ends up polishing the wood surface vs. cutting the fibers and opening the grain.

A couple of good rules of thumb…
The grit your using should never feel smoother than the next higher grit
The raw wood your sanding should never have any type of ‘sheen’ in any part of the grain when held up to the light.

Ash is pretty hard on sandpaper…

-- "The trouble with people idiot-proofing things, is the resulting evolution of the idiot."

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Skiedra

259 posts in 950 days


#14 posted 06-11-2013 10:35 AM

Lads, that is some great tips and advice! I am learning alot on this site. Thank you!

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unbob

408 posts in 561 days


#15 posted 06-11-2013 12:18 PM

Perhaps, not sanding at all may help, instead, scraping after hand planing with a deadly sharp plane.
I found that works well on some woods I have been working like Maple burls.
My oberservations with Ash is only from the guitars, and problems folks have spoken of on the Fender Telecaster forum.
Not only does the grain raise up on the Guitars over time, the surface becomes a bit lumpy also.
I looked at a Telecaster guitar from 1968 I have. Where the finish has worn down to the wood, tiny holes or pours can be seen under magnafacation.
Probably the reason for the Fullerplast filler.

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