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j123jam said:
I have some lovely old wood boards purchased from an estate sale. Each one is 3" thick, a foot wide, and over 4 ft long. On one side they still have the rough circular saw marks from when they were milled.

I want to turn them into something, maybe a TV stand, and I want them smooth enough to be safe furniture (i.e. no spinters!), but I don't want to lose the character of the rustic saw marks. Right now these boards are very splintery and unfriendly to handle.

They also have a nice aged color on the outside, but I suspect I have to lose that to get them smoother and then I can use stain to get the same effect.

I'm a total beginner, and I have few tools at my disposal, but I would love some ideas of how I can get the boards smooth but still looking rustic.

FYI, photo of the wood is here: http://www.instructables.com/file/FP4N08NHIGF9DP7

Thanks a ton in advance!
Beautiful wood, couple ways you could
Go.... First one is sandpaper. Sand the whole board. But not too much you take the saw marks off it will smooth down a lot of it and leave the
Marks. The key is knowing when to stop. There is a fine line. Second way you could do it is drench it in clear coat. I'm talking like 8 coats ( make sure the clear wont crack with that much) that will give you a nice barrier that should give you a flat surface while leaving all those marks in it. The last thing is plane it. Take everything down and antique it. Put some worm holes in the board with an awl. Sand the corners down to an angel. Put a nice finish on it. Like an oil. Then clear coat it. And rub a black
Glaze over it. The glaze sinks to the low parts ( the worm holes and imperfections) then you can hand scrape it.... Drop a couple hammers on it. And antique it that way. But if I was you I would do the sandpaper thing. Just be careful not to sand too much.

That's my 2 cents lets see what some others have to say.
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