sanding end grain.

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Forum topic by wiser85 posted 08-17-2021 01:00 AM 547 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 704 days

08-17-2021 01:00 AM

i do not do too much end grain work. but have a question. what is the coarsest disc you would sand end grain with??
thank you for any help!!!!!

11 replies so far

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5062 posts in 1239 days

#1 posted 08-17-2021 01:14 AM

depends on wood species.

View therealSteveN's profile


9383 posts in 1907 days

#2 posted 08-17-2021 04:04 AM

Whatever you are using, just grab a piece of scrap and start at it. The edges will tell you how you are doing. It’s quite educational.

I’m not a big user of below 100 grits to begin with, but on end grain to diminish tearout of the edges I either chamfer the edge, or start at 150, and slowly work out to, and slightly over the edges.

-- Think safe, be safe

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7744 posts in 1922 days

#3 posted 08-17-2021 04:34 AM

Whatever you are using, just grab a piece of scrap and start at it. The edges will tell you how you are doing. It s quite educational.

I m not a big user of below 100 grits to begin with, but on end grain to diminish tearout of the edges I either chamfer the edge, or start at 150, and slowly work out to, and slightly over the edges.

- therealSteveN

Wow. I have never had tear out on the edges of end grain from sanding. That must take some real effort.

Back to the OP: Regarding grit, there’s no limit on the coarseness. It depends on your situation and how much material you need to remove.

End grain is extremely difficult to sand. You’re going across the wood fibers, not with them. If you have a good deal of material to remove, start with the coarsest you can find (you can get 36 grit discs from Klingspor), and work through the grits to achieve the surface you want.

If your surface doesn’t require a lot of material to be removed, you can start with a finer grit. Only you can decide what’s best for your situration.

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

View splintergroup's profile


6332 posts in 2555 days

#4 posted 08-17-2021 05:39 PM

With walnut end grain, I usually go to 320.

With a “smooth” blade cut, I’ll remove the saw marks with 120, then go up (240, 320) making sure all scratches are removed from the previous work.

This gets a grain finish that looks “perfect” with the final finish, lots of growth ring detail. I’ve tried up to 600, but saw no improvement, certainly nothing worth the extra effort.

I’ve read several places that recommend going one grit step beyond the grit used for the flat surfaces to best even out any color (darkness) difference when staining/oiling.

View bilyo's profile


1457 posts in 2436 days

#5 posted 08-17-2021 06:23 PM

I agree with most of the above, but the short answer is that it depends on the end results you are trying to achieve. Of course, the rougher the edge you are starting with, the courser the starting grit will need to be. Likewise, the finer you want the final finish to be, the finer the final grit will need to be (Within reason. There is a point of diminishing returns). I agree with splintergroup in that you will usually need to go one or two grits finer on end grain than you do on the flat surfaces if you are staining and want the color to look nearly the same. Advice to work it out with scrap ahead of time is always good.

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20649 posts in 2472 days

#6 posted 08-17-2021 06:34 PM

It very much depends on the application for me. For something like an endgrain cutting board, I usually start with a 80 grit disk on my ROS and sand up to 220. If it’s something like box joints where I’m sanding the face of one board and the end of the adjacent board at the same time, I won’t usually start with less than 120 grit. Lots of different possibilities just depending on the task at hand. It also depends on the wood. With woods like Oak or Mahogany, I do sometimes get tearout around the edges so I’ll tend to be more gentle or chamfer the edges before sanding.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Mattew123's profile


35 posts in 198 days

#7 posted 09-05-2021 12:12 PM

I completely agree sanding end grain is extremely difficult. Not that I have a lot of experience (only did it once). My table only had to be properly finished so I used 120 grit and worked my way up to 220. I was able to get the finish to my liking easily.

It could be different for your case. As others said, it highly depends on what you’re sanding and how much material is there to be removed.

View bigblockyeti's profile


7970 posts in 3054 days

#8 posted 09-05-2021 01:56 PM

I make a few end grain cutting board every so often and while I pretty well have my glue up process nailed down, there was a point when I didn’t. I would sometimes have heights varying over 1/16” and since I don’t want to destroy my planer, I sanded it down, both sides. Since these are exclusively hardwood and occasionally very tough species, the worst were started with a 32 grit sanding belt on a 4×24 hand held belt sander. It did a fantastic job of cutting through very tough wood but at the same time, I had to be very careful as it could dig in easily if allowed. I would run in 20-40 grit increments to 120 grit at which time I switched to a ROS and sanded through 240 grit.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View jonah's profile


2273 posts in 4632 days

#9 posted 09-07-2021 03:36 PM

I’ve sanded end grain cutting boards with 60 grit and the final surface has been just fine. One board in particular I had a problem with the glueup and I had to sand down at least ~1/16th of an inch. It took forever, but eventually worked.

Always go up through the grits and be patient, because end grain just takes forever to sand. At least five times longer than any face or edge grain sanding.

If a board is pretty flat already, I start with 80 grit, then 120, 180, and sometimes 220. Sometimes I stop at 180, depending on how patient I’m feeling and how smooth the surface already is.

View LeeRoyMan's profile


2378 posts in 1060 days

#10 posted 09-07-2021 05:47 PM

As said above it depends on the application.
Size of the pieces, how much needs to be taken off, what the final end use is going to be.

One tip I can offer is to stack and clamp as many pieces together as you can and sand them all at once.
This helps keep the pieces flat and keeps you from rolling over the edges.
Again, depends on what you’re doing so MMV.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1880 posts in 3920 days

#11 posted 09-07-2021 07:06 PM

I use 80grit in my drum sander, then 80, 120, 220 in my random orbital sander.

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