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Sanding kills grain?

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HomeyJay

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I’m not sure if I’m doing anything wrong but since I bought a plane and am learning to use it, I’ve realised that the grain that it brings out is absolutely killed by my random orbital sander.
I’ve never had a plane before and my workflow has just been to go from the thicknesser to assembly to sanding but since I’ve had my plane, I’ve been trying to replace some of the thicknesser part with some planing.
I’ve noticed that when I’m using figured woods, the grain just looks awesome when planed but as soon as it’s sanded, it loosed a lot of the wow factor and I don’t know what to do about it!
Could my sander be causing this issue - I’ve realised that a random orbital sander sands in every direction and could mess up any grain easily.
Can anyone please help?
My planing skills are zero at present as I’m just learning so I have to rely on the sander!
 

Lons

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I'm no expert but I get a great finish with my ROS using fine grades of Abranet down to 400g. The sanding dust will sit if it's an open grain but it's common practice to damp wipe the surface after sanding which will show the grain and likely colour if applying a clear finish.
You can use water but it will raise the grain, useful sometimes to sand again for a finer finish, I use an isopropyl / water mix.

As I said, no expert so feel free to correct me if that's poor practice.
 

HomeyJay

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Thanks but have you ever compared what you have sanded to a planed finish? I used to think sanded output was amazing till I saw planed output!
 

AJB Temple

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Sanding will not damage the wood grain or finish if you sand fine enough and use dust extraction. I use abranet in increasing fineness and always extract as I sand. Then wipe down a fast evaporating fluid making sure the final wipe down is fully clean on the cloth. I can practically polish wood with this method.

If you are happy with your planed finish, then don't sand.
 

HomeyJay

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Hey, wasn’t looking to upset anyone but as I stated in the initial post, I’m just learning how to use the plane so using a plane is, at this time, not an option for me.
So, it sounds likely that the sanding dust is settling into the grain when I sand and this is smearing the look of the grain?
I was told never to wipe the surface with water to clean it so, being a newbie, I’ve just been wiping it with a dry cloth and leaving it like that before applying any finish.
Is there any specific ratio to the isopropyl alcohol / water mix?
 

Lons

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HomeyJay":ycnd2vla said:
Thanks but have you ever compared what you have sanded to a planed finish? I used to think sanded output was amazing till I saw planed output!
Yes I have.

Try what AJB said and vacuum the surface.
What grades of disk are you using? If you can't get a finish with a ROS then perhaps go to finer grades and see what you think or as said just straight from the plane if happy with that.

Which sander do you use out of interest, mine is the Metabo version.

cheers
Bob
 

HomeyJay

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Thanks, I’m using a Ryobi sander (not very expensive) and have been using grits in stages going from 80, 180, 240 and finally 320.
The sander has duct collection but it’s just one of those built in container jobs that pretty useless!
I don’t know anything about Abranet - it seems to be some sort of sanding sheet, I think. What does it go on?
 

Lons

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I don't think you've upset anyone, certainly not me, you can't get others opinions if you don't ask. :)

I don't really measure the isopropyl ( rubbing alcohol ) mix, it varies depending what I'm using it for, can be 5 water / 1 iso or 20 water / 1 iso, even use it neat on rare occasions.
It's one of the most used ad useful liquids I have in the workshop, and it's cheap.
 

Rich C

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Try a hoover and then a tack cloth after sanding, that should pick up all the dust.
Alternatively, get a card scraper.
 

MikeG.

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Wiping the surface with a damp cloth has a second and possibly more important benefit: raising the grain. Raise the grain then sand it back down again, and you'll get that smooth-as-a-baby's-bum feel.

AJB is right, but so are those who say that finishing with a blade is best. It's like sharpening: both work, and the choice boils down to user preference. As it happens, my preference varies with the type of timber I am using. Spalted sycamore, to take an extreme example, can be virtually impossible to touch with a blade without destroying the surface. A well behaved piece of oak, though I would almost always finish with a plane or scraper.

The fundamental of this question for me is that the ROS leaves circular scratch marks, however fine (indeed, invisible). For half of its action it is sanding across the grain. The scratch marks left by planing or scraping are along the grain, and therefore less visible for the same size of scratch. My ROS is the 2nd least used tool in my workshop, after the jigsaw.......but when you need it, you really need it.
 

Lons

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HomeyJay":olwtgk5k said:
Thanks, I’m using a Ryobi sander (not very expensive) and have been using grits in stages going from 80, 180, 240 and finally 320.
The sander has duct collection but it’s just one of those built in container jobs that pretty useless!
I don’t know anything about Abranet - it seems to be some sort of sanding sheet, I think. What does it go on?
Should get a decent finish with 320 though I go finer. Abranet disks are perforated, a bit like mesh and need a vacuum to be connected which sucks a lot of the dust off the surface as you work. I'm a fan of the stuff though not everyone agrees.
This type of disk though seems to be named Autonet.https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mirka-Autone ... bGOFq09huA
I bought quite a lot as got an ebay deal a while ago, cheapest suppliers are usually Auto detailers and paint shops. They don't have grain to contend with but I think I'd rather have that then try to sand my car paintwork. :wink:
 

MikeG.

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Blimey, you people sanding down to 320 or 400..........You must have patience of Job and the eyesight of a vulture. I honestly don't get it. I see no benefit in going past 240, other than in de-nibbing between finishing coats.
 

Garno

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Lons":4z4cydeb said:
This type of disk though seems to be named Autonet.https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mirka-Autone ... bGOFq09huA
I bought quite a lot as got an ebay deal a while ago, cheapest suppliers are usually Auto detailers and paint shops. They don't have grain to contend with but I think I'd rather have that then try to sand my car paintwork. :wink:
Wow they seem cheap. I have just ordered 50 of the 500 grit for £16. :D
 

Phil Pascoe

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MikeG.":2s9oiesr said:
Blimey, you people sanding down to 320 or 400..........You must have patience of Job and the eyesight of a vulture. I honestly don't get it. I see no benefit in going past 240, other than in de-nibbing between finishing coats.
We're risking going down a rabbit hole, but I rarely go beyond 240 and 0000 wire wool on wood - if I go finer, I'm using it on the polish not the wood.
 

thetyreman

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I always find sanding ruins the look of most woods, I prefer a hand planed surface for the final finish, then burnish it with shavings, it's normal for sanding to dull the surface of wood but it can help with absorbing finish better.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I seem to remember reading a long while ago (Custard?) that it had been well tested and there was no noticeable difference between polishing a sanded finish and a finish off a sharp plane , although I would assume the sanding was by hand with the grain rather than with an orbital sander.
 

Lons

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Homey Jay

Now you just need to pick the bones out of all our answers and develop the methods that suit you best.
That's what's good about the forum, honest helpful opinions, we never stop learning. :)

Just for interest, what got me into Abranet was fitting solid surface kitchen worktops where using them on an ROS at 400g gave a nice satin finish or much glossier with 600g. The 500g you have ordered is a very fine grade and 50 disks will last you a long time.
Another tip is if you haven't already, get a couple of pad savers which will save wear on your original velcro machine pad.
 

Sheffield Tony

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I'm going to risk agreeing with the OP. A plane, or if the grain is incoperative, a card scraper is all you need, certainly on oak. Even hand sanded doesn't look as good to me. When I'm doing green woodwork, I always want to get a decent finish from the tools and burnishing with shavings. Sanding is really horrid on green wood.
 

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