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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I cut these slices from a fresh walnut trunk after a hurricane about 5 years ago and intend to finish them to be tables. I'm having a hard time sanding them. To get the chainsaw cuts out, I started using 30 grit on a belt sander moving up (mostly) to 120 grit then later went through about 30 orbital disks of 80 grit. I've used other grits on both sanders as well. I still have a lot of scratches from the belt sander and some cross grain surface waves near the bottom of 2 pieces that result in obvious color differences.

I'm wondering how to get a smooth looking surface without a lot more sanding. (I may have a 1/4 sheet sander too if my kids didn't bury it in the yard.)

And how to finish it to emphasis the different colors including the black lines in the sapwood. I'd like to end up with a rich and slightly deep look but also want the inside edges to keep a somewhat semi-gloss, near-natural look.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Water Wood
Plant Tree Wood Natural material Automotive tire
Plant Tree Wood Natural material Trunk
Plant Wood Natural material Tree Trunk
Automotive tire Wood Water Stairs Tints and shades

Thanks much!
Automotive tire Wood Water Stairs Tints and shades

Plant Wood Natural material Tree Trunk

Plant Tree Wood Natural material Trunk

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Water Wood

Plant Tree Wood Natural material Automotive tire
 

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Many local woodshops/lumber stores have large Drum Sanders or Planers that will flatten and sand your piece for a small fee, where are you located ?
Blacktailstudio recently made a list with shops in the US and other countries that offer these services. Link attached below.
One of the greatest finishes to use to bring out the best shades of wood, great durability and easy application is Rubio Monocoat.


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That's going to be a gorgeous piece.

End grain is much harder typically than long grain.

You are invested at this point, the first step would have been to surface it in a router fixture to flatten it, and get the deep cuts out. Then go after it with a belt sander. It will take more effort than you anticipate, work your way up in grits, I finished mine at 220 and then moved to the RO sander to 320. I used Rubio on the one I did as well and really like it(except for the cost).
 

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boy o boy, that tree took a lickin' and kept on tickin'. lighting probably hit that tree 50 years ago.

like any sanding project, you need to remove all the previous grit marks with the current grit, before moving to the next grit. imo, go back to using the belt sander for all but the final grits on a da sander. orbital sanding has a tendency to un-flatten any wood and dig in. if you belt sanded with 30 grit, start back with 60 grit until you get all the 30 grit marks out. with the coarser grits you can cross sand, this will also make it semi-flat. starting with 80 grit, then 100 grit sand in one direction. then i'd use a da or ro sander with 100, 150, 180, 220 and finish with 320. again, remove all previous marks from one grit to the next.

optional is to find someone with a drum or wide belt sander, might cost you $100 per side to get them sanded, if you did them all in one time. i wouldn't plane them as planers are not nice to end grain. i definitely wouldn't stain anything black walnut. i never stain any wood, period. but that's me. pine is pine, maple is maple, oak is oak and black walnut is beautiful by itself
 

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mike44
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I cut these slices from a fresh walnut trunk after a hurricane about 5 years ago and intend to finish them to be tables. I'm having a hard time sanding them. To get the chainsaw cuts out, I started using 30 grit on a belt sander moving up (mostly) to 120 grit then later went through about 30 orbital disks of 80 grit. I've used other grits on both sanders as well. I still have a lot of scratches from the belt sander and some cross grain surface waves near the bottom of 2 pieces that result in obvious color differences.

I'm wondering how to get a smooth looking surface without a lot more sanding. (I may have a 1/4 sheet sander too if my kids didn't bury it in the yard.)

And how to finish it to emphasis the different colors including the black lines in the sapwood. I'd like to end up with a rich and slightly deep look but also want the inside edges to keep a somewhat semi-gloss, near-natural look.
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Thanks much!
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Make a frame that surrounds the slab. The frame has to be level and the parts straight. Use a router that sits on a sled with a 1" straight cutter. It will take a while but the slab will be flat , the cutter swirls can be removed by sanding or a card scraper. I would use a card scraper, no sanding dust and a nice smooth finish . Also a card scraper unlike sand paper does not need to work with the grain.
If you are not familar with this tool, I think a YOU Tube video is available.
If not I can walk you thru the steps to prepare the scraper for use.
mike
 

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The issue being seeing marks from the belt sander....To quote _Ogre

" if you belt sanded with 30 grit, start back with 60 grit until you get all the 30 grit marks out. with the coarser grits you can cross sand, this will also make it semi-flat. starting with 80 grit, then 100 grit sand in one direction. then i'd use a da or ro sander with 100, 150, 180, 220 and finish with 320. again, remove all previous marks from one grit to the next. "

You can't really skip grits, especially end grain. 30 to 60 to 80 to 100 to 120. Then RO starting with 100.

The quality of abrasives make a huge difference. I'm using 3M Cubitron, cuts quicker and lasts much longer than the red or gold stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@Thanos_Tj : I'm between Orlando and Jacksonville. I looked at that list and some smaller shops in the area and didn't see any options but if I need to (see below), I'll start giving places a call.
@_Ogre and @GCTony : I seriously under estimated these. I figured that I could just use what I had in my drawer. I don't think I ever did anything with black walnut (like back in high school) and when I looked at some things for sale online, I can now see the value of doing a good job on 'em.
Thanks for input from all others as well.

After getting the feedback, I've decided my goal will be to get the pieces flat and level the sanded to a 320.

My son is into building robots and and he's been wanting a CNC router that comes in a kit for school size projects. The basic kit has about an 18" x 18" xy working area that can easily be increased to over 24" x 24" (what I would need). It cuts using a pneumatic die grinder (I think about 14,000 RPMs.) I figured after getting both sides of a piece flat and even, then I can sand again, stepping up the grits properly. Does anyone have any experience with something like this or have any other variations to consider?

Thanks again in advance.
 

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My son is into building robots and and he's been wanting a CNC router that comes in a kit for school size projects. The basic kit has about an 18" x 18" xy working area that can easily be increased to over 24" x 24" (what I would need). It cuts using a pneumatic die grinder (I think about 14,000 RPMs.) I figured after getting both sides of a piece flat and even, then I can sand again, stepping up the grits properly. Does anyone have any experience with something like this or have any other variations to consider?
imo, any cnc router that uses a pneumatic die grinder for power will soon lose it's luster. it'll probably only cut 1/16" balsawood at a glacial speed. if your going to bother with a cnc, make sure you can actually use a router in it. i'd suggest at a minimum 2'x4', your son's robots can grow with him. 😂
i spec'd a cnc plasma table at my current pt job and trained the operator. plasma and router use the same carriage and drive systems, the only addition for plasma is a slatted water table. we started small for a specific purpose and ended up with a 4'x8' with a rotary chuck.
 

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It cuts using a pneumatic die grinder (I think about 14,000 RPMs.)
Unrelated to the actual topic, but that sounds like a horribly inefficient way to do not a lot of work. For the price of a compressor that would actually be able to keep a die grinder running for the length of a CNC job, you could buy 6 actual spindle motors, complete with the VFD, and you would still come out ahead since the consistent speed of the spindle means you wont be snapping bits every 3 seconds. Plus, the electric spindle is more likely to actually have some torque. Even if you already have a big compressor, it would stilll be better to get an actual spindle
 
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