Surface Prep: Why Sanding Isn’t Enough
Three-step process leaves a flawless surface for finishing
Synopsis: Jointer and planer knives go dull after just a few board feet, heating the surface of your wood and pounding it into compressed fibers. In this article, Philip C. Lowe shows how to plane, scrape, and sand your project by hand to reveal the best surface of the wood and prepare it for a finish. You’ll learn tips for success on using handplanes, cabinet scrapers, wide card scrapers, and sandpaper.
As the knives on your jointer and planer go dull after the first few board feet, the surfaces of your boards take a turn for the worse. Instead of cutting the wood cleanly, the dull knives heat the surface and pound it into a compressed layer of fibers. Unfortunately, many woodworkers go straight to sandpaper at this point, removing just the tool marks and no more. Without slicing well below that crushed layer, they never see the full…