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  • Sanding issues

    I am not exactly new to scrolling - have been doing it for 5 yrs now, of course, not as much as I would LIKE to, but we all know how that is, right? Anyway, I have never been one to sit down and read all the instructions on a lot of things - I tend to see something I want to do, gather enough information to get going and jump in with both feet. I seem to have jumped into something that I just can't seem to get a good enough knack for - sanding my wood. I keep coming up with places that are smooth and then rough and that's when I take it off the scroll saw. I sit down and start sanding and can't seem to get the rough spots out - no matter what kind of wood or sand paper I use. I sand and sand and sand and nothing is making it smooth in those areas. I am very particular about my projects that I put out for people to see or sell and I can't put something out there like that. I want to get that beautiful silky smooth finish on my projects - Any suggestions will be GREATLY appreciated! I am really stumped!

  • #2
    Sounds like you may be sanding across the grain. Be sure if at all possible to sand with the grain. It may be the grit you have chosen as well.
    What type of wood and what number grit are you using?

    One tip is to get a random orbital sander. These sand in a variety of directions to help avoid sanding marks. You can get swirls if you are not careful however. Work your way up to about 220 grit, plenty fine enough for most of the work we do. I always sand my work surface prior to cutting my project saves having to do a lot of sanding once the project is nearing completion (after cutting is complete).
    "Still Montana Mike"

    "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
    Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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    • #3
      Are you having trouble with sanding the flat surface or the cut edges of the wood?
      Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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      • #4
        Mike - I try to sand the top sides of my wood as well before starting to minimize the need for sanding after it is cut as well, but the sides of the projects are what is kicking my butt. I have switched to Flying Dutchman blades bc I was told by many many ppl that they greatly reduce the need for sanding after cutting but I am still sanding little fuzzies off the back of my projects....the blade does cut really well, tho. If the project has a curve in it such as a flower or a curvy base, the upside of the curve is always rough and fuzzy and I can't get it to smooth out. I usually start with around 180 and move to 220 but it still doesn't clear up those areas - what baffles me is that it can be a straight cut and does it sometimes as well...

        I don't have an orbital sander but I have been begging for one - guess I just haven't begged enough yet! lol!

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        • #5
          Bill - it's the sides of the work - the top is usually pretty cooperative - the sides just don't like me at all! lol
          HELP!

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          • #6
            If you are getting "fuzzies" on top of your work and you are using FD ultra reverse blades you most likely have the blade in upside down. There should be minimal amount of fuzzies on top of your work surface.
            Last edited by wood-n-things; 05-31-2012, 01:59 PM.
            "Still Montana Mike"

            "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
            Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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            • #7
              Another issue is the type of wood you are cutting and grain direction. You will get more fuzzies cutting across the grain. Some of us use a small torch to burn the fuzzies. I just bought one that is used for Creme Brulee
              Shop BernzOmatic Soldering Torch Head at Lowes.com
              It has a very small flame and is easy to control.
              Rolf
              RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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              • #8
                Some of what you are seeing may be where you transition from cutting with the grain to cutting across the grain. Sometimes that can end up a little rougher and is harder to sand. However, with good, sharp blades and proper technique, you really shouldn't have to sand any of the cut edges at all. GO back to the basics. Start by making sure you have proper blade tension. Then make sure your cutting motion/feed rate is smooth and consistent. Blade speed is another factor. Too slow and you can get some drag that might cause rough cuts. Too fast and you aren't giving the blade ample time to make a clean cut, plus you have trouble controlling the cut. Work on finding that happy medium. What size blades are you using and how thick is the material you generally cut?

                Fuzzies on the back are another thing. You can have a cut edge that is smooth as glass and still have fuzzies. If you are using reverse tooth blades, check to make sure the blade is installed, such that the reverse teeth on the bottom actually come up above the level of the table when in cutting motion. I found that I started to develop a bad habit of installing my blades too low in the clamps. It wasn't letting enough of the reverse teeth contact the wood, so I was getting more fuzzies than normal. It happened gradually, so it didn't dawn on me at first, what I was doing wrong. Since I started keeping the blade mounted higher in the clamps, my fuzzies have been greatly reduced.
                Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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                • #9
                  Mike - fuzzies are all on the back - I make sure I put the blades in the right way! lol! It still makes for a lot of sanding on the back when you have a 3-D project that all sides are seen!

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                  • #10
                    Rolf - thanks - will check into that! Sounds interesting and very innovative!

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                    • #11
                      Bill - thanks so much for that info! I never thought of the blade being too far down in the clamp! NICE! I have slowed down my speed quite a bit - I got to a point where I didn't think I could go any slower that FULL SPEED AHEAD. Then I realized that some of my more delicate work needed to be slowed down so I didn't break the pieces off while sawing and ruin the whole piece. Since then I have become accustomed to the slower speed. That may, in fact, be the problem with the sides being rough - I'm going tooooo slooooowwww! Will try your suggestions and see where it goes. Thanks for all of your help!

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