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How to sand a table top without getting waves

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Forum topic by JDWilliams posted 56 days ago 582 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JDWilliams

10 posts in 56 days


56 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: table redwood black walnut chevron question help sander

I started this project a few months ago. As time permits I get to do a bit of wood working. I started this project with a simple goal, to prove to a local friend that redwood fence slats could be turned into a beautiful piece of furniture. So, off I went and picked up 40 redwood fence slats from Home Depot. About a month of dry time, hours spend cleaning up the boards on the jointer, table saw and surface planer later, I had some really good looking wood. Below you will see the nearly finished top. I need a few more coats of poly and it will be done. I am relatively happy with the results but would like some advice. After gluing in the the top layer of chevrons, the surface was pretty flat. All wood had been planed to the exact same size. After a bit of putty work on a few cracks, I started sanding. I noticed very quickly that I was developing small “waves” in the wood. These waves settled in along the grain pattern and became more noticeable as I sanded. To do the sanding, I used the RIDGID 6” random orbital sander. This was my first project using this sander and it worked very well, even on the 1/8” orbits on a very slow speed.

How do I get rid of these waves next time I make a desk or table?

Thanks!

-- J.D. Williams


14 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

114 posts in 356 days


#1 posted 56 days ago

JD, Redwood is pretty soft, so I don’t think you’ll get away without sanding deeper into the sofert grain as apposed to the hard grain. I had a friend that built his cabinets using Doug Fir plywood for the doors. He and his wife had over a 100 hours sanding those doors just to get the effect you are getting accidentally…. Oh well…........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- jerry (in Tucson)

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10721 posts in 1316 days


#2 posted 56 days ago

Jerry gave the answer I was going to give so I’ll just add: GREAT looking table top!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2480 posts in 977 days


#3 posted 56 days ago

Yeah, what nubs said. Redwood is soft, but not consistently so. The more you sand the more you erode the soft areas. The table looks great btw, to avoid the waves use a hardwood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TiggerWood's profile

TiggerWood

196 posts in 232 days


#4 posted 56 days ago

Use hand planes and scrapers.

View JDWilliams's profile

JDWilliams

10 posts in 56 days


#5 posted 56 days ago

Thanks for the compliments and suggestions. Much appreciated. I will post final pictures in a few days…

-- J.D. Williams

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

1690 posts in 1735 days


#6 posted 56 days ago

If you want flat, you have to use a platen a lot bigger than a 6” diameter disc. You could use a sander that has at least one sheet of area, or a long board, and keep it moving over the entire surface, not just sanding one area that appears rough. This works for glass-smooth auto finishes, but you may not want to go that extreme. I’ve made wood projects stone flat using this method. I use a long straightedge, and even a laser to check flatness, to install machinery that has to be dead flat to within a few thousandths over many yards. It takes patience, believe me. I have hand-scraped flooring in my house, because it is what my wife likes. I can do that too, but in this case, I bought it, as I don’t have time for it, doing my regular job (mechanical engineer).

View JDWilliams's profile

JDWilliams

10 posts in 56 days


#7 posted 56 days ago

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

70 posts in 202 days


#8 posted 56 days ago


Would something like this do the trick?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rockwell-Porter-Cable-505-Half-Sheet-Finishing-Sander-/131223969375?pt=Sanders_Sandblasters&hash=item1e8d8ede5f

- JDWilliams

I don’t think so.
I replaced one of those with a 5” ROS and found it far superior.

A stroke sander might help. Good excuse to buy one to see. :^)

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

698 posts in 112 days


#9 posted 56 days ago

Cabinet scraper bud. I use on softwoods like cypress all the time. It’s a lot of elbow grease but the scraped surface needs very little sanding.

-- "We build our workshops. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor by laboring for more fruits." - Me

View JDWilliams's profile

JDWilliams

10 posts in 56 days


#10 posted 56 days ago

TheFridge – could you shoot me a link to what you are suggesting?

-- J.D. Williams

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

1057 posts in 1072 days


#11 posted 56 days ago


TheFridge – could you shoot me a link to what you are suggesting?

- JDWilliams


http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?cat=1,310&p=41069
http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=32639&cat=1,310,41069&ap=1

-- Ken from Ontario

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13735 posts in 964 days


#12 posted 56 days ago

You pretty much have your answer. Just wanted to say, beautiful table top. .

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13735 posts in 964 days


#13 posted 56 days ago

Forgot, Welcome to Lumberjocks

first thing to learn, wood is rarely perfect. Enjoy the journey of learning how to deal with it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4824 posts in 1203 days


#14 posted 55 days ago

http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=68491&cat=1,41182

Welcome to Lumber Jocks and that’s a fine looking red wood

table top!

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