Plantation Shutters #12: I just wasted all this wood because of a simple moronic mistake

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Blog entry by Holbs posted 06-13-2017 03:23 AM 3689 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: rough dimensioning the shutter frames Part 12 of Plantation Shutters series Part 13: Tapered gaps mystery: solved! »

As stated earlier in my blog entry, I am a newb in the realm of sanding & finishing, coming from the world of plywood and construction lumber for all of my projects. I am learning as I go happily but mistakes will come about. I guess I’m lucky that I messed up this wood for this project now, instead of more costly and quantity of lumber later. I can not use the pieces I dimensioned for this project because I got carried away ROS’ing faces & edges which rounded over below minimum dimension specifications. I’ll repeat that for other folk being fresh into sanding & finishing as I am… before sanding using random orbit sander (ROS) or whatever method you use to sand, keep everything 90 degrees and keep your minimum dimension in mind or even mark it while sanding so you do not over sand until you become comfortable with your sanding experience. My wood working sin for the world to see:

On that note, I now realize ROS’ing the edge is crazy. I was about to go looking into getting a 3” belt sander to have better control of 90 degrees but even then, going over 90 is a possibility. Then I remembered I have a porter cable 121 oscillating spindle sander which was MADE for edge sanding. Boy, do I feel stupid! This stupidity arises from never using it for it’s intended purposes when I really needed to use it for it’s intended purposes. I think I was concentrating on doing trying to do good job with the ROS that I forgot. Well, anyways… this PC 121 only came with a single 2” drum. Parts for this machine, I thought, were impossible to get. However, I found that Powertec 4 1/2” drums works for the PC 121. Ordered the assortment of sizes today. Since it’s table mounted into my down draft table in my Unisaw’s right side extension table, I’ll have to figure out a way to make a simple fencing system for it and learn more about edge sanding correctly.
I am not totally down and distraught. This basswood is a no-go for this one project. I’ll use it surely on other projects down the road. Maybe can re-use most of it for the smaller 4’x5’ or 3’x3’ windows too.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

10 comments so far

View Rich's profile


7101 posts in 1749 days

#1 posted 06-13-2017 03:37 AM

That spindle sander is really cool. I have a bench top model, but that would be handy for situations where the piece is too big. To paraphrase, if the piece won’t go to the sander, bring the sander to the piece :)

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View robscastle's profile


8105 posts in 3364 days

#2 posted 06-13-2017 06:23 AM


-- Regards Rob

View TraylorPark's profile


213 posts in 2758 days

#3 posted 06-13-2017 12:00 PM

How are you joining the stile and rail? Is it possible just to square up the where the stile attaches to the rail and maybe just be off a 32nd on total width? Best way to square it back up would be a block plane. Alternatively, if you are planing on painting the amount of gap that will result by joining what you have as shown would easily be filled by some filler and unnoticed after paint. Even is you are staining that small of a gap could be covered with some sanding dust and glue and still match pretty well. I don’t know that I would scrap it just yet.

-- --Zach

View FoundSheep's profile


196 posts in 1616 days

#4 posted 06-13-2017 12:15 PM

I agree with Zach, there may be a way to save the material if you get creative. Sometimes parts can be thinner, and if that change is carried through the project it never will be noticed.

Do you have a block plane, or another type? I find it hard to keep hand held machines at perfect 90*s, but using a jointer plane can really be fast and easy, and accurate.

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View Holbs's profile


2380 posts in 3189 days

#5 posted 06-13-2017 01:10 PM

Yes, I have a range of hand planes. Considered doing just that, but I looked and shaving off 1/32” or in some places a 1/16” due to the round over on the both edges would lead to a substantial gap. If I shortened the stiles, I would have to shorten the rails by a smidgen. In the end, would have a noticeable gap between plantation shutter panels.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 2059 days

#6 posted 06-13-2017 01:13 PM

Instead of remaking all of them, maybe you can just make wider stiles on the hinge sides.
I doubt it would be noticeable.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6443 posts in 3973 days

#7 posted 06-13-2017 03:16 PM

I would be careful with that spindle sander too. It will hold a 90 degree edge for sure, but is likely to create little divots along the workpiece. The smaller the spindle diameter, the worse this problem gets. Your idea about a fence for the sander may solve this issue.

I do sometimes use an oscillating spindle sander, but it has a belt attachment so it is sanding on the flat.

I still think it’s okay to use a ROS for edge sanding, you just might want to gang them up and clamp them to a bench first. Given a choice of spindle sander, handheld belt sander, or ROS… I would pick the ROS.

Best of luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Commarato53's profile


34 posts in 2785 days

#8 posted 06-13-2017 04:45 PM

Don’t get hung up on a mistake like this. if you are even 1/16”-1/8” small, wood can easily expand and contract due to moisture in the atmosphere…you aren’t working with steel. That said, always be true to the plans and accurate as possible, but sometimes you must adapt to mistakes and move on, trying not to waste valuable resources.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17435 posts in 3778 days

#9 posted 06-13-2017 06:31 PM

I would take a smoothing plane to those pieces and remove the center humps. Too bad that it happened, we’ve all been there in one way or another!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3417 days

#10 posted 06-13-2017 09:27 PM

Holbs, I agree with the others who suggested you square up the edges of the stiles and make new rails to fit the opening. The width is the stiles is not critical and the rails can be cut down to fit a narrower window.

I used to get rounded edges like that (someone told me it is called pillowing) until I started ganging pieces as Willie suggested. Ganging can create issues of its own. I lay the pieces on a flat surface like the table saw top and clamp them together, flip them over and sand the side that was against the table. Since the pieces are 1+” thick, I would only do about 3, maybe 4, at a time because they tend to get a bit unwieldy. Good luck.

-- Art

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