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Before making a face-to-end joint between two boards, the face must be smoothed in preparation for the finish, since the sander won't reach all the way into the corner.

I have always had trouble with this, because inevitably, the belt sander and orbital sander will leave the face less-than-flat. This results in an out of square joint or a gap. I could run them through the thickness planer, but then I've got a problem of slight snipe at the ends.

When I was building faceframe cabinets, I always had a 6"x89" edge sander to sand the inside faces of the frame parts. It can put a nice square, flat surface on the face.

I no longer have such a machine, and I'm looking for a better finish than the 100-grit belt would provide.
 

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Before making a face-to-end joint between two boards, the face must be smoothed in preparation for the finish, since the sander won't reach all the way into the corner.

I have always had trouble with this, because inevitably, the belt sander and orbital sander will leave the face less-than-flat. This results in an out of square joint or a gap. I could run them through the thickness planer, but then I've got a problem of slight snipe at the ends.

When I was building faceframe cabinets, I always had a 6"x89" edge sander to sand the inside faces of the frame parts. It can put a nice square, flat surface on the face.

I no longer have such a machine, and I'm looking for a better finish than the 100-grit belt would provide.
If you're referring to the back side of the face frame, or the leading edge of the cabinet, it's not that difficult to do a few swipes by hand with a decent block sander. Check out this thread.








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I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean by a ‘face to end joint’, but if you are talking about where the long rain of a vertical stile meets the end grain of a horizontal rail, a swipe or two with a sharp, well set hand plane will make a smoother finish than any sandpaper can create. If the grain does not cooperate, a card scraper works well. The trick is to take only a thin even shaving.
 
Additionally, I can’t seem to set my thickness planer so it will eliminate all snipe at the ends (I’ve been trying for 25 years). I cut my frame pieces an inch or two longer than I need, then run them through the planer on edge. This not only smooths the surface nicely, but will make all the pieces exactly the same width. Then I cross cut off the snipe. Your planer might be different, but I’m able to get a very fine surface from the planer that needs only a little sanding/scraping/planing to get a good surface. I hope this helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For clarity, I am building a table with 8/4 legs that meet an 8/4 apron.

tgrant, I don't think I've ever used a thickness planer that didn't snipe, and that includes a $5,000 20" SCMi. My DeWalt DW735 only nips off a few thousandths, but it might be enough to throw a rail out of square. I did use it yesterday to clean up the inside faces of the legs, and with sharp blades it did a pretty good job.

I like the idea of using a plane, but I have spent a lot of time trying to tune and sharpen them, only to end up with surprise chatter on finished workpieces. I have used card scrapers, but like the plane it seemed like I spent more time trying to put a burr on the edge than smoothing wood.
 

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Agree with the snipe. It’s a pain! This is slightly off topic, but amongst other things, chatter can come from trying to take too much wood off at once or going against the grain. When finishing an edge, aim for shavings as thin as thin paper. You are not removing much wood, just some marks.

Keep at it with the scraper. Once you get it you will get it, and wonder how you ever did without one.:thumbsup:
 

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I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean by a ‘face to end joint’, but if you are talking about where the long rain of a vertical stile meets the end grain of a horizontal rail, a swipe or two with a sharp, well set hand plane will make a smoother finish than any sandpaper can create. If the grain does not cooperate, a card scraper works well. The trick is to take only a thin even shaving.
 
There are two different surfaces you may be addressing. On a faceframe, on the back (or front), where the face grain of the stile meets the face grain of the rail.

Or, on the edge, (it would be at the top or bottom of the door) where the rail is butted to the stile. In either case using a plane can catch the grain in the opposite direction. For the face example, in either direction the plane will encounter cross grain.

So, I may use a sanding block or a ROS to bring both surfaces in plane. This method, IMO, presents less of a chance to tear the grain.








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Before making a face-to-end joint between two boards, the face must be smoothed in preparation for the finish, since the sander won't reach all the way into the corner.

I have always had trouble with this, because inevitably, the belt sander and orbital sander will leave the face less-than-flat.
I guess I'm not quite certain what you are talking about, but if the problem is your belt sander or ROS won't get into corners, then why not a 1/4 sheet finishing sander?
 

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surface prep

Dustboy,
I used to have the same problems in the cabinet shop. I got the point that I would cut/plane/ join to rough shape and then do a finish sanding on the parts I would not be able to reach. Then do a final trim cut to finish dimensions. This way is hard on production but it eliminates a lot of problems
I used to make European cabinets and when I had to finish the interior of the boxes, I would even stain/spray/finish the plywood before the final cut.
Hope this helps.
Regards
Joe
 
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