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How to sand a table top without getting waves

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Forum topic by JDWilliams posted 06-27-2014 12:12 AM 630 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JDWilliams

10 posts in 95 days


06-27-2014 12:12 AM

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

180 posts in 395 days


#1 posted 06-27-2014 01:26 AM

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

10974 posts in 1355 days


#2 posted 06-27-2014 01:34 AM

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

2539 posts in 1016 days


#3 posted 06-27-2014 01:45 AM

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

197 posts in 271 days


#4 posted 06-27-2014 01:49 AM

Use hand planes and scrapers.

View JDWilliams's profile

JDWilliams

10 posts in 95 days


#5 posted 06-27-2014 02:15 AM

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

1735 posts in 1774 days


#6 posted 06-27-2014 02:24 AM

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 95 days


#7 posted 06-27-2014 02:39 AM

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

95 posts in 241 days


#8 posted 06-27-2014 03:11 AM


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

845 posts in 151 days


#9 posted 06-27-2014 03:20 AM

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 95 days


#10 posted 06-27-2014 03:23 AM

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

-- J.D. Williams

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

1150 posts in 1111 days


#11 posted 06-27-2014 03:31 AM


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

14331 posts in 1003 days


#12 posted 06-27-2014 07:24 AM

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

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14331 posts in 1003 days


#13 posted 06-27-2014 09:02 AM

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.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4971 posts in 1242 days


#14 posted 06-27-2014 01:04 PM

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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