I need help with learning how to smooth wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Central MS
Posts: 12
View jjhearn's Photo Album My Photos
I need help with learning how to smooth wood

I am very new to wood working. I have yet to produce anything yet, because I don't know how to properly sand or plane something to an adequate finish.

I can't afford an actual planer yet, and not sure how far I will go into this so I don't want to buy something I may not ever use. Would I be better off buying a nice electric sander or some sort of electric handheld planer?

Any ideas? Or can someone point me to where I can read personal experiences with them?


jjhearn is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 12:19 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,995
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
A hand held electric plane is really intended to trim the edge of a door. It's not very well suited to surface the face of a board. I think you would be better off getting a belt sander and learn how to use it. It's one of those things that takes a bit of practice. It's real easy to make grooves or dents in the wood if you don't keep it flat on the wood and keep the sander moving around. Still even with experience it is likely to make very minor dents in the wood so after belt sanding it's important to thoroughly sand the wood with a random orbital sander. The belt sander just removes the mill marks from surfacing and minor chip out places and the orbital sander does the finish sanding.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 12:21 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Saxonburg
Posts: 246
View gmcsmoke's Photo Album My Photos
well you don't need a planer per say if you buy s4s lumber unless you're changing the dimensions from what you bought. you can buy several hand planes for the cost of one lunch box planer all of which do just an equal job.

Sanding is what it is, tedious, but it's less time consuming with a random orbital sander which you can pick up for $50 or so.
gmcsmoke is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 04:22 PM
Senior Member
MT Stringer's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Channelview, Tx
Posts: 2,644
View MT Stringer's Photo Album My Photos
IF you are going to buy your boards at a lumber yard that are S4S (surfacd 4 sides), a random orbital sander and a few different grits will help. A progression of 80 ->120->150 grit will help make a smooth finish. It depends on what kind of lumber you buy.

Search You Tube for videos. Should be a lot to watch.

Good luck.
MT Stringer is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 05:53 PM
where's my table saw?
woodnthings's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 27,157
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
get some hand planes

When starting out it is best to learn how to work the wood using a few hand tools. Hand planes come in different lengths and sizes. Block planes are the smallest and most handy for beveling edges and working small areas. The next size up are smoothing planes, about 10" to 12" long. Next up are jack planes, about 14" long and finally jointer planes, about 20" long.

Boards are rarely perfectly smooth, flat, square and straight. Some have curves in the length, some have cupped surfaces and others are twisted along the length.

Each type of warp requires a different plane and approach. You'll need to learn to "read the surface and edges" by sighting down the length. You can also set 2 identical sticks of equal length and thickness on opposing ends of the board and look down to see if they are parallel. If not, the board has twist.

You best way to learn the processes of woodworking is to watch You Tube videos by Woodwhisper, thintz, Woodworking Guild of America, Gary Katz, etc.Here's a sample:



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-25-2014 at 06:02 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
post #6 of 6 Old 12-25-2014, 06:09 PM
Senior Member
hwebb99's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,883
View hwebb99's Photo Album My Photos
A good card scrapper would do a good job If your wood is pretty smooth to start with. Best part they are only about $10.
hwebb99 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to get a smooth edge Jordan1989 General Woodworking Discussion 14 07-11-2014 11:28 AM
Learning wood Microtus General Woodworking Discussion 7 06-22-2014 11:12 AM
not so smooth MacWood Wood Finishing 6 08-09-2013 11:45 PM
smooth curves Mechtec SketchUp Help Forum 12 04-06-2013 02:04 PM
Rough to smooth sawdustfactory Hand Tools 9 06-24-2012 04:16 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome