LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Can this Table Surface be planed?

2290 Views 18 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  OSU55
I have this really nice outdoor dining table that got turned into a makeshift scaffold during my deck remodel. The planks have dust/dirt pretty embedded (long past wiping off).

As a lazy guy, if I were to try to run them through a planer vs. sanding them, just to get a very even 1/16" of an inch off the top, any reason this might fail me? I'm guessing the wood is some sort of IPE but not 100% sure.

Wood Automotive tire Rectangle Composite material Flooring

Brown Wood Table Road surface Asphalt


See less See more
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
I would make sure the blades cut below any possible embedded rocks and grit
that could dull or nick the blades. and, visually inspect the surface to be planed very closely.
other than that, I would do it.

@john smith thanks as always for your help. I've never really paid much attention to sanding vs. planing in a case like this - any sense for whether one approach other the other will do a better job of prepping the grain for another round of oil?
You'll have planer marks if you put it through a planer. Removed by hand planing or sanding.

I would be inclined to try scraping, then a light sanding. An excuse to invest in a cabinet scraper like a Stanley #80 or some fancy variant.
Do you have a power washer. I wouldn't put anything that been used it that manner through my machines.
Theres going to be lots of dirt in the wood.
If there is dirt and grit embedded, you will trash planer blades no matter how deep you cut. An osb cover sheet would have been a cheap investment. +1 power wash, scrape, then sand.
looks like ipe which is very hard.if there are no deep scratches or pits id just sand the top and apply some good exterior oil looks to mostly be dirt build up.
You could get planer snipe near the ends which would be very hard to sand out. I would just sand it, it really doesn't look that bad. Distressed is still popular.
If you have a sander, that will be the safest way to go to if you're worried about tear out.

Brush it off with a stiff bristle brush first.
No one has mentioned that Ipe is one of those woods that will EAT HSS cutting edges for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and maybe a snack or two as well. Between that and the dirt, you might have to sharpen your planer knives a couple of times. Ipe also has a lot of oil in it and would most likely gum up a belt sander. I would probably buy a pack of sanding disks for my ROS and use that.
Pressure wash then Sander would be my go to.
interesting reading (don't pay attention to the writing style you may like or not).

He recommends to always clean the wood before use.

I have brushed reclaimed wood before planing it. As it was rough cut, I didn't mind using a steel brush.
He certainly has a thing about Pixie toenails. I imagine there is a chapter in the works of Masters and Johnson, or Kinsey about that.

I've pressure washed miles of barn wood, but never gave a thought about cleaning clear wood. Like anyone else I have seen the scratches on plane soles, and nicks on blades. Never knew I was getting messed with by long toenailed pixies though. Learn something new every day….
Because I have one I would start with an orbital sander and 100 grit sand paper. Once the main part of the surface dirt is removed change to 150 grit followed by 220 grit and 320 if it appears needed.

I can't tell from the photos but if it has a surface finish like a varnish or varathane I would use a paint scraper to remove that and any debris on the surface. Then sand it. I like the Warner model 741 scraper. It is inexpensive (about $3) with cheap blade replacement and it can be quickly re-sharpened multiple times with a file or grinder. The big box stores usually carry it. Don't bother with the other scrapers they don't work nearly as well. I have tried most of them.

You didn't say what type of planer you have but this could damage the blades. Epe by itself will do a job on the sharpness of the blades not counting on any debris lodged in the wood.
See less See more
Surely in the 10 months since the original post, he has already completed this project.
I would not bet my paycheck on that. Why rush it?
Pressure wash then Sander would be my go to.

- bbc557ci
+1 on this.
Try a brush and deck cleaner with water 1st to see how much you can get off. Still not good enough? Appears to have a colored finish. Another coat of finish may color over what's left. May need light sanding before applying finish.
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.