Sanding against Grain? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-02-2019, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Sanding against Grain?

Do you guys ever sand against the grain? I recently glued 4 boards together and the edges were off a little. So I started sanding and went across the grain to get them even. Now I have a lot of swirl marks that I need to sand down to make them disappear. I went pretty aggressively with the sandpaper and maybe that was a mistake. Live and learn I guess. Going to buy an orbital sander and try to get the swirl marks. I'm hoping that will fix the issue, and then maybe sand by hand with the grain to finish it off.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-02-2019, 06:51 PM
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The swirl marks were caused by coarse sandpaper. The coarser it is the more sanding it takes to get rid of them. It helps if you would dampen the wood with a wet cloth and raise the grain at grit changes. This would make your sanding more effective. In any case after using coarse paper you have to sand quite a bit longer to remove the marks.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-02-2019, 07:28 PM
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What sort of sander were you using? All it takes is a bad piece of grit in the paper to give you a deep scratch mark. I've gotten that result with cheaper papers, like Gator brand. in a ROS or finishing sander. When I level a panel glue up, I use a belt sander, but only with the belt traveling with the grain, never across the grain. Then you have to work the surface with finer and finer grits until you eliminate the scratch pattern from your eye view.

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post #4 of 10 Old 01-03-2019, 07:47 AM
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you did right. more aggressive sanding (techniques) are required to remove bad areas - if they can't be run through a planer or drum/belt sander first. you just have to remember that the lower grit you go , that you have to add more grit steps on the way out. when I do sand across the grain, as with a hand-held belt sander, I finish up sanding with the grain before I finish with that tool/grit.


every sanding step is supposed to remove the marks from the previous sanding.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-03-2019, 07:54 AM
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You have to sand in stages. LOTS and LOTS of stages. Even on my trinket boxes I use 6 different grits, and I only work for my own pleasure.

If you went sideways with 60, you would need 80, 100, 120, 140, etc etc to get back to 240 or 320.
And each time, you have to sand untill ALL of the coarser scratches are gone. Listen closely and you can hear the noise change when the paper reaches optimum smoothness
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-03-2019, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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I was using a palm sheet sander as well with a hand sander as I could put more pressure with that. I was looking at using a belt sander, but was nervous that I was going to remove too much too fast. I'd rather sand for hours before starting over:) I think I was using a 60 or 80 grit then to 220 to remove the swirls but probably need to go lower to 120 or 140 then back higher. Sand paper brand I was using I think was 3M I think. going to buy an orbital sander today. I think I'll get the dewalt variable speed one. Has good reviews, cheaper than the Makita one.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-03-2019, 11:34 AM
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I would suggest that you research the art of sanding a bit before reapproaching your work.

As stated by others, itís necessary to progress through sanding grits to reach your desired finish.

Also, putting pressure on the sander will accelerate the demise of the sander while not helping the sanding. Guide the sander, but donít apply downward force. The sanderís weight should be enough to accomplish the task.

There are other things that help, such as raising grain & cleaning between grits. This site has a number of threads on the subject of sanding.

Happy sanding!




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post #8 of 10 Old 01-03-2019, 06:05 PM
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When smoothing boards that have been glued together, think of it as a flattening process. Any ridges need to be taken down over a wide area, otherwise you'll get dips or gullies that show and look bad. Traditionalists use hand planes diagonally across the joints and its still a reasonable approach and it can be quick. I usually use my trusty belt sander and work across the grain in a wide pattern, then finish with the grain to get out scratch marks before moving on to smaller sanders and higher grits. Cabinet scrapers are also handy for getting scratches out, but that's another topic.
So, yes sanding across the grain is necessary sometimes. Good for you for being attentive to the details.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-04-2019, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frost View Post
...Traditionalists use hand planes diagonally across the joints and its still a reasonable approach and it can be quick....Good for you for beig attentive to the details.
You might not be there yet in your woodworking, but Frost's advise about planes is spot on!

It really should be understood as the foundational method for such work if really "into" the craft and enjoyment of woodworking.

Planes are fast and very easy to use once you just give them a bit of time. Even rough work with a plane is pretty smooth if the blades are sharp and the plane is set up and used properly. If I do have to do any sanding, its typically after I have planed something. As such, the grit I get to sand with is super fine...anything from 300 to 600 range as the plane did the brunt of the work...

Good luck...
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-04-2019, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
You have to sand in stages. LOTS and LOTS of stages. Even on my trinket boxes I use 6 different grits, and I only work for my own pleasure.

If you went sideways with 60, you would need 80, 100, 120, 140, etc etc to get back to 240 or 320.
And each time, you have to sand untill ALL of the coarser scratches are gone. Listen closely and you can hear the noise change when the paper reaches optimum smoothness
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frost View Post
When smoothing boards that have been glued together, think of it as a flattening process. Any ridges need to be taken down over a wide area, otherwise you'll get dips or gullies that show and look bad. Traditionalists use hand planes diagonally across the joints and its still a reasonable approach and it can be quick. I usually use my trusty belt sander and work across the grain in a wide pattern, then finish with the grain to get out scratch marks before moving on to smaller sanders and higher grits. Cabinet scrapers are also handy for getting scratches out, but that's another topic.
So, yes sanding across the grain is necessary sometimes. Good for you for being attentive to the details.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud View Post
You might not be there yet in your woodworking, but Frost's advise about planes is spot on!

It really should be understood as the foundational method for such work if really "into" the craft and enjoyment of woodworking.

Planes are fast and very easy to use once you just give them a bit of time. Even rough work with a plane is pretty smooth if the blades are sharp and the plane is set up and used properly. If I do have to do any sanding, its typically after I have planed something. As such, the grit I get to sand with is super fine...anything from 300 to 600 range as the plane did the brunt of the work...

Good luck...
Now IF you (all) will notice ....there's a pattern here AND ALL are correct PROVIDED you follow the correct stages/actions to make them work. I will only touch lightly on them as ALL are indepth BUT they ALL are intertwined to each other.

THERE'S a PLEASURE with hand tools IF you'll/ I'd take the time and set them up correctly AND keep them SHARP (YES I use powertools BUT they must be properly kept/sharp/conditioned/knowledged. SHARP is the key to ALL tools AND that's why/where/how come the sanding comes into play....
1) Jay (due to his prestine upkeep on his tools) can plane quickly and only have to use 300 to 600 grit to final up his project.
2) Frost knows to spread the planing/sanding out wide and knows the importance of the grain change cuts and to re-align the patterns/grains together and builds the sanding back up to par via layers/grits of correct steps.
3) Sunnybob is dead-on with the correct grits to step up with....I myself have the hardest time controlling myself to NOT jump up the chain TOO quickly (skipping grits). You MUST know though where to start your grit at.....

.....THAT'S where SHARP tools , EITHER hand OR power are VERY important. The sharper the less tear-out, the less tear-out the less sanding, the less sanding the happier the builder/craftsman....SEE a PATTERN now!!!....

....ALL this to say, I must follow them also, I can't point fingers, it is a discipline routine to get into.

NOW.....Have a GREAT day enjoying your project....WE'VE ALL here have made the "mistakes" at some time in our careers/hobby, some have learned from them while others continue in them, some of us will admit to doing them while others deny. Bottomline is ENJOY your wood time AND SHOW us pictures....WE LOVE THEM!!!!
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