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Hello, community!

I am brand new here, and received great feedback on my first post that I am very grateful for - which has now encouraged me to ask more questions as I have been apparently needlessly going this alone for years!

Getting to my point, I have two questions regarding department store (Lowe's/Home Depot) bought wood; specifically pine boards and plywood.

I've noticed two things while prepping my pieces, and have noticed these these things for a while now.

A) in picture #1, you can see I've palm sanded half of a "Premium Select" pine board from home depot. In the photo, and even more apparently visible in person - you can see there is almost a 'film' or layer with quite a noticeable sheen to it where I have not yet sanded. My question is, is this a natural occurrence with pine? Or is this some synthetic coating a manufacturer has applied to protect/seal the wood?

B) In picture #2 : As I began to do my third application of sanding on a piece of (also pine) plywood, starting with 80 grit, then 120 grit, and starting a 180 grit go-over I noticed that there appear to be moderately deep scrapes/scratches in the wood. This is also after dampening the plywood and leaving it sit overnight, and having already gone over it again (to raise the grain and smooth it over) my question here is, is this an appearance to be expected from pine plywood?

In other words - am I looking at the 'fibers' of the wood, and no matter how much I sand they will continue to appear as I am just exposing deeper layers of the same formation of grain/fibers? Or is this a result of not sanding well enough? As I said, I've gone over it 3-4 times now working my way up in grit. And when I attempt to smooth them over they seem to just continually reappear.
(EDIT/NOTE : These scrapes/scratches are at a very zoomed-in scale - they are not hugely noticeable standing a couple of feet away, nonetheless I'd like to learn to finish my products as perfectly and professionally as possible!)

I understand expectations aren't to be set very high when working with pine boards/plywood bought from Home Depot, I get that. I am just trying to better understand exactly where my expectations SHOULD be, understand better how pre-milled stock is prepped, and most importantly how to better strip and finish my projects.

Thanks in advance for any input!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
To show that there are no scratches or gouges from a normal human eye distance - however as I've said I'd like to learn to make my work as smooth and professional as possible!
 

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I would highly doubt that a mill would put any type of coating on a pine board. That is most likely just how it looks after it was planed.

I would never start using 80 grit on any piece of finished wood. I only use 80 grit on rough wood or wood that has to have a lot removed. The scratches you see may be from that harge grit.

George
 

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Hello, community!

I am brand new here, and received great feedback on my first post that I am very grateful for - which has now encouraged me to ask more questions as I have been apparently needlessly going this alone for years!

Getting to my point, I have two questions regarding department store (Lowe's/Home Depot) bought wood; specifically pine boards and plywood.

I've noticed two things while prepping my pieces, and have noticed these these things for a while now.

A) in picture #1, you can see I've palm sanded half of a "Premium Select" pine board from home depot. In the photo, and even more apparently visible in person - you can see there is almost a 'film' or layer with quite a noticeable sheen to it where I have not yet sanded. My question is, is this a natural occurrence with pine? Or is this some synthetic coating a manufacturer has applied to protect/seal the wood?

B) In picture #2 : As I began to do my third application of sanding on a piece of (also pine) plywood, starting with 80 grit, then 120 grit, and starting a 180 grit go-over I noticed that there appear to be moderately deep scrapes/scratches in the wood. This is also after dampening the plywood and leaving it sit overnight, and having already gone over it again (to raise the grain and smooth it over) my question here is, is this an appearance to be expected from pine plywood?

In other words - am I looking at the 'fibers' of the wood, and no matter how much I sand they will continue to appear as I am just exposing deeper layers of the same formation of grain/fibers? Or is this a result of not sanding well enough? As I said, I've gone over it 3-4 times now working my way up in grit. And when I attempt to smooth them over they seem to just continually reappear.
(EDIT/NOTE : These scrapes/scratches are at a very zoomed-in scale - they are not hugely noticeable standing a couple of feet away, nonetheless I'd like to learn to finish my products as perfectly and professionally as possible!)

I understand expectations aren't to be set very high when working with pine boards/plywood bought from Home Depot, I get that. I am just trying to better understand exactly where my expectations SHOULD be, understand better how pre-milled stock is prepped, and most importantly how to better strip and finish my projects.

Thanks in advance for any input!
I do not get my wood there. I have no first hand knowledge of where they get their lumber from, or the processing, but I think they are ridiculously expensive for the quality they are selling. I will also say this. Years ago it was a Sunday and I was finishing up a project using red oak. I ran a bit short and I ran to the local home center that you mentioned above. What struck me was there was quite a bit of red oak in stock, and each and every board was the exact same color! I have worked with quite a bit of red oak and never experienced any consistency in color to that degree. I also had a similar situation with their stain grade casing not taking a finish as the pine casing I was using did. Upon closer examination I determined that the casing, although solid pine, was wrapped in a thin veneer which appeared to have been bleached.
 

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Hello, community!

I am brand new here, and received great feedback on my first post that I am very grateful for - which has now encouraged me to ask more questions as I have been apparently needlessly going this alone for years!

Getting to my point, I have two questions regarding department store (Lowe's/Home Depot) bought wood; specifically pine boards and plywood.

I've noticed two things while prepping my pieces, and have noticed these these things for a while now.

A) in picture #1, you can see I've palm sanded half of a "Premium Select" pine board from home depot. In the photo, and even more apparently visible in person - you can see there is almost a 'film' or layer with quite a noticeable sheen to it where I have not yet sanded. My question is, is this a natural occurrence with pine? Or is this some synthetic coating a manufacturer has applied to protect/seal the wood?

B) In picture #2 : As I began to do my third application of sanding on a piece of (also pine) plywood, starting with 80 grit, then 120 grit, and starting a 180 grit go-over I noticed that there appear to be moderately deep scrapes/scratches in the wood. This is also after dampening the plywood and leaving it sit overnight, and having already gone over it again (to raise the grain and smooth it over) my question here is, is this an appearance to be expected from pine plywood?

In other words - am I looking at the 'fibers' of the wood, and no matter how much I sand they will continue to appear as I am just exposing deeper layers of the same formation of grain/fibers? Or is this a result of not sanding well enough? As I said, I've gone over it 3-4 times now working my way up in grit. And when I attempt to smooth them over they seem to just continually reappear.
(EDIT/NOTE : These scrapes/scratches are at a very zoomed-in scale - they are not hugely noticeable standing a couple of feet away, nonetheless I'd like to learn to finish my products as perfectly and professionally as possible!)

I understand expectations aren't to be set very high when working with pine boards/plywood bought from Home Depot, I get that. I am just trying to better understand exactly where my expectations SHOULD be, understand better how pre-milled stock is prepped, and most importantly how to better strip and finish my projects.

Thanks in advance for any input!
It's not that you can't get good wood at home depot or lowes, a lot of your problems are just the species of wood. It can be done but you need to learn how to tell a good board from a bad one. Handling the wood you can tell if the wood has a high concentration of sap by the weight and feel of it. I suspect the sap is the film you are referring to. They don't coat anything but the ends of the boards at the factory. Then look to see if the board is reasonably flat and straight. If a board has even a small twist to it you can count on the board being unstable.

Sanding pine with fine paper can cause you some trouble. Even with an orbital sander with a firm pad it tends to remove the soft grain of the wood and leave the hard grain. This has the effect of giving it a washboard texture to it. The longer you sand the worse it gets. It's better to not sand it too fine and finish smoothing the surface with the finish rather than the wood.

Your sanders may be contributing to the problem. If they are not running at sufficient RPM it's very difficult to get the sanding job you are needing. Since you are describing swirl marks maybe that is the case.
 

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Rather then buying select pine to avoid knots you should consider buying poplar. Less money, few knots, nice wood to work with.
 

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Thank all of you for your time in responding here as it is greatly appreciated!!

I am still in the beginning phases of learning finish techniques & am especially new to how it varies given the species of wood. I have gotten better with picking boards from the store, however that is another very sore subject in my experience thus far : the quality and condition of the wood I'm buying there tends to be a 50/50 shot at best. I do take the time to inspect them to the best of my ability, I think I will be bringing a square with me from here on out as just today I found that a couple of the board I bought are bowed (which is not uncommon) 😒

Ultimately my goal is to buy a planer when I am again employed and able to afford it; and then I will be buying more raw stock that I can ensure is milled and stored correctly and solve half of my problems. Unfortunately at the moment I am at the mercy of my wallet and am for sure not paying $6+ per ft for anything from home depot - which is why I am currently only working with pine which is expensive enough.

I have also been eyeing up poplar, @Terry Q I just have not taken the time to look into it at all yet, however just based on the feel of it - it seemed that it was rather quite soft wood and was unsure what it should and should not be used for (e.g. relying on it for strength in projects, or using it only for less load-demanding applications)

I will definitely be taking a lot of what's been said here into account from here on out, and apparently have some more researching and practicing to do. Sanding and finishing is a much deeper subject than I ever expected it to be that's for sure
 
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