sanding edges and end grains

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Forum topic by dakremer posted 04-07-2010 03:01 PM 10820 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dakremer's profile


2756 posts in 4061 days

04-07-2010 03:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding staining technique

I was curious as to how you guys sand your end-grains and edges on your projects. I recently made a couple of prayer kneelers as gifts, and I rounded over all the edges with my router – i had trouble sanding them down with out deforming the perfectly round edges. Any tricks you guys use? Also wondering what your techniques/steps are for getting the end-grains sanded enough to where they’ll take stain without looking blotchy and DARK.

Thanks guys. You are the best. I really hope someday I can learn enough to where I can give some advice!! :) someday….someday….

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

11 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5188 days

#1 posted 04-07-2010 03:23 PM

No matter how much you sand, end grain will always be different. I’ve heard of a couple of methods to keep the stain from looking much darker on end grain:

1. Use a lighter color stain on the end grain
2. Apply a sealer to the end grain before staining, so it doesn’t absorb the stain as readily.

Personally, I never worry about this. To my eye, end grain is just supposed to look darker.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4618 days

#2 posted 04-07-2010 03:27 PM

quote: end grain is just supposed to look darker.

after all, if you want the entire piece to look evenly colored – not sure Wood is the best material.

I wouldn’t worry about it – we always have a too complicated outlook on our projects, nit picking all the things that we shouldn’t be. ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4256 days

#3 posted 04-07-2010 03:38 PM

I typically just hand sand the profiled edges and end grain. The coarser the paper, the more likely you are to mess up the profile.

I’m with Charlie and PurpLev on the darker end grain. I never worry about it. To me, that’s part of the appeal of stained pieces. If I wanted it that consistent, I would paint it. If it’s blotchy, it could be inconsistent sanding—
Or it could just be the nature of the wood you are using. In the case, a sealer might help. You’ll have to experiment with that on some scraps.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4044 days

#4 posted 04-07-2010 05:09 PM

I own 8 different types of power sanders. Still, some things have to be sanded by hand. Rounded edges is one of those situations that require careful hand sanding.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Viktor's profile


471 posts in 4388 days

#5 posted 04-07-2010 07:34 PM

Take a block of wood, rough cut (rout, saw, chisel) a rounded grove in it to match your rounded edge. Wrap sandpaper around the edge of your workpiece (abrasive outside). Rub your sanding block with grove in it against your workpiece. This will shape the sanding block to match your rounded edge exactly. Wrap (or glue) sandpaper around your groved sanding block. Sand away!

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 5047 days

#6 posted 04-07-2010 07:39 PM

I generally hand sand to at least one grit finer sometimes two grits on end grain depending on the type of wood.

I will sometimes use an orbital on bigger jobs, always working across the edge not along (parallel) it. Especially in the cabinet shop where time is money.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View David "Lucky Dawg" Brown's profile

David "Lucky Dawg" Brown

440 posts in 3962 days

#7 posted 04-07-2010 07:41 PM

Laminate!!!! hahahahaha!
you can spend more time working on the ends than on the whole project
I’ve used lighter stains and sealer etc…. now I don’t fret over it so much any more!
ends are ends sand the best you can and move to the next project!

-- dumpster diver delux

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4891 days

#8 posted 04-07-2010 07:51 PM

I have a small bosch belt sander that I use on the endgrain and occasionally edges. I always sand before I use the router on them then hand sand the routed profile , usually a roundover .I use foam blocks made out of 2 in thick bluefoam insulation. It will take the roundover profile very quickly. If you burnish the endgrain with fine sandpaper, 400 grit , it helps a lot.

-- mike & judy western md. www. [email protected]

View NateX's profile


98 posts in 3966 days

#9 posted 04-07-2010 08:03 PM

I like to use a rubber sanding block with high grit on end grain. The wood whisperer had a good tip for end grain: He said to keep sanding until the dull dusty look goes away. I made some end grain cutting boards and hand sanded them with high grit and a sanding block, they looked very even and matched the sides of the board when all was said and done.

View Dano46's profile


86 posts in 4139 days

#10 posted 04-08-2010 04:45 PM

I have always used a 280 grit on all end grains. It matches a lot better. It takes a little time, but you don’t have that dark end

-- You can't trust a dog to guard your food.

View hasbeen99's profile


183 posts in 4509 days

#11 posted 04-09-2010 01:27 AM

I just stained a cherry jewelry box for my wife, and I’m happy to say I got some good advice about avoiding blotchy end grain. I only did 2 things:

1) Sanded the end grain with 1 to 2 grades higher sandpaper. In this case, I used 220 on the long grain, and 320 on the end grain.

2) Seal it with Bullseye shellac, thinned 50% with denatured alcohol. Sand again (lightly) with 320 when cured.

The Wood Whisperer also recommends using gel stain instead of regular oil stain on blotchy woods. The gel doesn’t penetrate as deep, resulting in a more even finish.

Good luck!

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

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