Progress. Still not happy

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Project by Michael Wilson posted 12-24-2013 03:19 PM 1497 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Progress.  Still not happy
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First of all I want to thank everyone over at my “My Laminations Suck” post for all the advice and help. Add to that Degoose for his awesome blog and video series and The Wood Whisperer for his cutting board videos.

Since that thread I’ve hacked my wood lathe in to a drum sander of sorts. I’ve put a high-toothcount blade on my tablesaw (which leaves a most delightful waxy smooth finish on the cuts and, with some sacrificial material, avoids the tearout issue entirely.)

Most of these are going out in the next 24 hours as gifts.

They’re all made from big box maple, and aside from that there’s really nothing fancy about them. Anyone who’s made a couple of these know exactly what I did in making them.

Now. Sanding.

What? How? I’ve started with a homemade drum sander and a 120 grit platen. Because the platens on my drum sander (if you can even call it that) have no give at all I end up with massive grooves in the boards. So there’s THAT problem to solve (any advice on that which doesn’t involve a $1100 drum sander would be great ;).)

Because of the state that leaves the boards in, I end up going back down to 40 or 60 grit on an orbital sander. And here’s where I have the biggest problem (I think. It could be that “not ending up with a board that you needed to do that on” is my biggest problem. You tell me.)

Sanding down takes hours. Hours and hours. Last night I finished (from glue-up to oil) the one board on the right in that picture. It took me no less than 6 hours.

I went from grit to grit, from the orbital sander to a piece of 2×4 with paper wrapped around it (which seemed, oddly to me, to work better than the orbital, which I don’t understand at all.)

Finally it was midnight and I wrapped it up, deciding to use my 1/4” roundover bit to round the edges over (On a hand held router, not a table.) AND it chipped out on the side. Instead of shooting myself in the head I brought the board over to the table saw where I shaved the offending 1/4” ish off it. Then I manually rounded the corners by hand sanding with 120 grit.

Unfortunately I got to “That’s going to have to do” and I made the final pass with 220 and called it a night. All I can see is the couple remaining scratches and pigtails from me leaning on the orbital. It’s not SO bad. But it’s not clean enough to be happy with.

Now, I see videos and treatments of making end grain boards all over the place. But this “sanding is 90% of the task” is never featured or much mentioned aside from an occasional “this takes a LOT of sanding” (Steve Ramsey.)

Is this all just pointing to something early on that I’m doing wrong that causes me to need this much work in the final stage?

Thanks again for everybody’s help on these. I’m happy with the fact that I’m coming along. But good God am I frustrated with how slow it’s going :)

Merry Christmas everyone. I’m out. o/

4 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30599 posts in 3349 days

#1 posted 12-24-2013 03:30 PM

Well done. They will be loved.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 3502 days

#2 posted 12-24-2013 03:37 PM

Thank you. Yeah I think they will. I just wonder if there’s ever going to be a point when I look at my own work and see anything but the flaws.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3049 days

#3 posted 12-24-2013 03:43 PM

Maybe it’s just the lack of light in the picture, but they don’t look too shabby to me. The design on that one on the right looks interesting.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25935 posts in 4117 days

#4 posted 12-24-2013 04:48 PM

Michael, they came out fine! We all have stories like that sometimes.Iit can get maddening!!
I don’t understand the grooving with the 120 grit sand paper unless it was the edge of the paper cutting in??
To avoid the tear out with the hand held router and roundover bit, climb cut it at least once all the way around then go forward around to finish it.

Merry Christmas, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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