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Thread: Finishing Then and Now - Sanding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    789

    Finishing Then and Now - Sanding

    As a self taught woodworker I started with whatever wood and inspiration I could find. We had some tools around the farm but not much to do with wood, other than fences and firewood. For a long time I didn't like finishing because it started with sanding and more sanding then applying some kind of varnishy stuff. Acquisition of a 4" belt sander did not help.

    Eventually I got a ROS which made a huge difference. Then I could do some reasonably good finishing without boring myself to death.

    Now after many years I have two ROS's one with coarse and one with fine paper. And I have better finish schedules. And now I start finishing at the start of a project. Rough sanding the rough cut parts makes measuring and marking easier and more accurate. Fine sanding prior to edge treatments makes those more crisp. Final sanding and finishing as much as possible prior to assembly makes the whole finishing process easier and produces a better finish. My finishing tools and materials are ready to go on a moment's notice and now I enjoy the finishing steps as they come up.

    I didn't post this in the finishing forum because the point is that finishing is not a separate activity for me, it is an intimate part of woodworking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    5,278
    Good to hear you donít hate sanding anymore. But could you explain what coarse and fine sandpaper refers to in grits? I generally go 80, 120, 150, and usually up to 220.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,164
    Yes, finishing makes or breaks it. Like putting in golf.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    352
    Thanks for that insight, I just did a fairly large home project and did all the sanding at the end just before I primed and painted.

    I spent about 3-4 days using a ROS, sanding 14 shutter frames and 245 louver blades. I sanded before priming and then again after I sprayed the primer.

    My arms and back were killing me, I could do about 2 hours, using the ROS, at a time before I had to walk away and put the ROS down for an hour.

    I will try your approach as I finish dimension each piece to mix up just doing an abundance of repetitive operations.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Camillus, NY
    Posts
    304
    My father was an industrial arts teacher and lifelong vocational educator. His advice to me as well as all of his students was that 90% of the look of a piece was accomplished in the last 10% of effort. The biggest enhancement to finishing for mehas been the availability of the DW735 planer, modern ROS and today's abrasives. Huge improvement over older style planers, belt sanders, and sheet sanders. IMHO
    Jerry

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Shoreline, CT
    Posts
    2,912
    Iíve found that hand planing works wonders. Itís fast and can reduce sanding requirements to a very small amount. Itís just a few strokes to eliminate planer ripple.

    I also point out that the final sanding should be by hand. ROS leave some cross grain orbits that can be problems particularly if wood is to be stained

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Meredith, NH
    Posts
    110
    I find that I sand far less than I did in my early days. I have a number of sanders which mostly stay on the shelf now.
    I hand plane or scrape almost all of my work, followed by as little hand sanding as possible - and my work is much better for it.

    PCG
    "If you want things to go right, pay attention to everything that can go wrong"

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