Can this Table Surface be planed?

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Forum topic by wilschroter posted 09-21-2020 03:21 PM 1449 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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165 posts in 1734 days

09-21-2020 03:21 PM

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.

18 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2993 posts in 1371 days

#1 posted 09-21-2020 03:41 PM

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.


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View wilschroter's profile


165 posts in 1734 days

#2 posted 09-21-2020 03:42 PM

@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?

View Loren's profile


11250 posts in 4856 days

#3 posted 09-21-2020 03:51 PM

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.

View Aj2's profile


4027 posts in 3006 days

#4 posted 09-21-2020 06:34 PM

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.

-- Aj

View John Jardin's profile

John Jardin

103 posts in 849 days

#5 posted 09-21-2020 06:44 PM

+1 with Aj

View ibewjon's profile


2587 posts in 4002 days

#6 posted 09-21-2020 06:50 PM

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.

View pottz's profile


19947 posts in 2193 days

#7 posted 09-21-2020 06:53 PM

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.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View northwoodsman's profile


643 posts in 4955 days

#8 posted 09-21-2020 08:42 PM

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.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View Robert's profile


4711 posts in 2689 days

#9 posted 08-02-2021 03:23 PM

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.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View xeddog's profile


360 posts in 4216 days

#10 posted 08-02-2021 04:11 PM

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.

View bbc557ci's profile


634 posts in 3282 days

#11 posted 08-02-2021 05:14 PM

Pressure wash then Sander would be my go to.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Sylvain's profile


1347 posts in 3708 days

#12 posted 08-03-2021 01:22 PM

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.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View therealSteveN's profile


8609 posts in 1783 days

#13 posted 08-03-2021 05:57 PM

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….

-- Think safe, be safe

View LesB's profile


3058 posts in 4651 days

#14 posted 08-05-2021 07:32 PM

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.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Lazyman's profile


7784 posts in 2596 days

#15 posted 08-05-2021 08:35 PM

Surely in the 10 months since the original post, he has already completed this project.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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