Sandpaper reccomendation for endgrain

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Forum topic by unclearthur posted 11-27-2017 07:31 AM 914 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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318 posts in 2399 days

11-27-2017 07:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding end grain end grain cutting board

Hi all. So I’m making a few end grain cutting boards (maple & cherry) for Xmas presents. Done the glue-ups and then flattened the boards on a drum sander (80 & 120 grit). All good, except the drum sander has as expected left hundreds of of scratches across the length of the board, which I’m now trying to remove with a ROS.

The problem is ….. its painfully painfully slow. I’ve gone all the way down to 40 grit on the ROS, with a shop vac hooked up to keep dust out of the way, and still it takes maybe 1/2 hour to clean the scratches off of one face of one 13”x20” cutting board. Moving up thru the grits after the scratches are gone is easy, but getting rid of the scratches is brutal.

I’ve atried wetting the board a little before sanding, and it helps some, but I’m also concerned about warpage by doing that.

If I turn the shop vac off, its pretty clear I’m just not creating much dust, not removing much stock, even with 40 grit paper. Using these Shopsmith sanding disks which I believe are Aluminum Oxide.

Is there a different type of paper I should be using to get the job done faster /easier?

Thanks for any advice ….

9 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5157 posts in 1201 days

#1 posted 11-27-2017 03:35 PM

The paper could be wearing out quickly, but also consider that not all sanders are created equal. The orbit diameter affects the speed of the cut.

Regarding disks, I like Mirka Abranet. I use an 80 grit to smooth out saw marks from the lumber mill on the end grain of mesquite. The marks are much deeper than a drum sander would leave behind. I use a PC 7335 for the aggressive sanding and switch to a Makita then a Bosch as I get to the finer grits.

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

View TechTeacher04's profile


424 posts in 2143 days

#2 posted 11-27-2017 03:50 PM

You have a few options, if you have finer belts/wraps for your drum sander, sand it to a higher grit 180 or 220 then use your random orbit sander. If you have a low angle smooth or jack plane you can use them with a sharp blade set at a low angle. A dual action sander is what I have found works the best finally finishing with a traditional random orbit sander like you currently have. I have a Rotex 125 (expensive I know) but it has saved my can more than once. Bosch makes a 6” model for about half the price of the Festool. He who dies with most tools wins. Good luck

View Kazooman's profile


1413 posts in 2564 days

#3 posted 11-27-2017 04:22 PM

+1 on the Abranet. It works miracles on end grain boards. Note that you need a special backer pad to use it with most other brands of ROS. The adapter pad they sell has tons of holes in it, but there was not a perfect match to my ROS. I used a hole punch to add the necessary holes to get optimum dust removal.

As to the drum sander, have you tried feeding the piece in different orientations? Send it through turned 90 degrees and at an angle. I put my boards through several times without lowering the drum at the finish. You can still hear the drum making slight contact.

Another thought. Be certain to clean the paper on the drum occasionally with one of those big “erasers” made for the job. Pieces of grit stuck in the build up on the paper can create the scratches you are dealing with.

View Aj2's profile


2658 posts in 2409 days

#4 posted 11-27-2017 05:26 PM

This is where a low angle block plane or jack out shines sandpaper. No dust no noise no fuss.

-- Aj

View splintergroup's profile


3222 posts in 1834 days

#5 posted 11-27-2017 05:54 PM

I go up to 220 grit on my drum sander being very careful to avoid burning by using very shallow cut and allowing the board to cool between passes (important!)

Give that, I start with the RO sander back at 100 grit until all the liner scratches from the DS are gone (then proceed with the finer grits on the RO).

A sharp scraper can help get the RO process started.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2097 days

#6 posted 11-27-2017 06:45 PM

Abranet is some bad stuff. It has lasted far beyond my expectations.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JayCop's profile


37 posts in 3045 days

#7 posted 11-27-2017 06:59 PM

In my experience with this the drum sander is not leaving you a flat surface to sand with the orbital making it take forever to get the drum sander marks out. The cheap solution is to then use a belt sander to get a flatter surface before switching to the orbital. The best solution I found and use is a stroke sander. My 15×10” boards take 6 minutes total to sand with the stroke sander then only another 4 or 5 minutes with the random orbit to finish it off.

View maxyedor's profile


31 posts in 936 days

#8 posted 11-28-2017 08:27 PM

Agreed with the suggestion of a low angle jack or smoother plane, but I’d also had good results with a card scraper or scraper plane. Just be mindful of chip-out along the edges, a slight bevel will solve it, so I typically just kiss all the edges with a router.

Beyond that, a better R/O sander. Just ordered myself a Bosch 1250 after borrowing a Festool Rotex for an afternoon, so much better than my little Dewault R/O. I have a pneumatic DA sander as well that works great, not as well as the Festool did, but much better than a normal R/O and if you already have a good air compressor it’s not an expensive tool to add to the arsenal.

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4354 days

#9 posted 11-28-2017 09:23 PM

use a hand plane if they are starting so deep that you need 40 grit on your ROS to remove 120 grit scratches from the drum sander?

Never had that happen. More aligned with Splintergroup (though my ‘finest’ drum is 180)

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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