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Sanding issue and advice

368 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  difalkner
I have tabletop that is about 22"x22". It is made up of several pieces as shown in the pic below.

The center is a 16x16 chessboard and around that is a 3" border with corner pieces (all sycamore). Grain of each piece runs as indicated. The black will be an epoxy inlay.

The problem. it needs to be sanded flat. It is all shopmade veneer and Im a little green on the band saw so... many varying thicknesses. Not the worst. nothing higher than 5/32, maybe some spots with a full 1/8, and at the lowest a couple of spots close to 1/16. Yeah getting close. Those will obviously be my stopping point.

My plan all along was to use a 24" wide sanding block with elbow grease. But two issues I didnt take into consideration.
1) The different grain directions.
2) How hard it is to knock off even 1/16. I figured 80 grit and a belt sander would make quick work of the sycamore. Not by a long shot. Even 60 grit was stubborn, and then I have the deep lines even with the grain.

I think the answer is obvious. Just suck it up and start sanding, stopping where grain changes direction, and then do those spots seperately. But throwing it out there for any hints or advice on steps to take, grit to use, etc.

Would a drum sander be of any benefit? Im likely going to build one of the homemade drum sanders mentioned on a different post here and could switch directions for a bit if it made more sense.
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5” random orbit sander with 80 grit paper, and a straight edge to frequently check progress.

A drum sander would work, if you had one, and it was wide enough. You can be using the RO sander for under $100.
I would stop by a local cabinet shop and let them send it through their wide belt. One pass, a few bucks, and it will be level. Any decent cab or door shop has one.
80 grit? Im assuming I would need to finish much higher than that, no? wouldnt 80 leave bad cross grain marks?
I would stop by a local cabinet shop and let them send it through their wide belt. One pass, a few bucks, and it will be level. Any decent cab or door shop has one.
One pass? But what about the cross grain? I guess it would be a high grit?
+1 on ROS. You would start with 80 and progress to 120, 180. Where you stop depends on what wood and what you're doing.

Some sanders will take an hard pad (or you can make your own), which are great for flattening.
Would a drum sander be of any benefit?
Absolutely! It's one of the most used tools in my shop.
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