How to Sand Rough Wood

Written by nick davis
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How to Sand Rough Wood
Use 80-grit sandpaper to smooth out rough wood. (sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from

Wood comes from a variety of manufacturers and not all wood is smooth and bump free. Certain pieces are rougher than others and require a lot more work to even out bumps, dents, ridges and other imperfections. Rough wood is a challenge to sand and work with. But sanding can be achieved with sandpaper and a sanding block or electric sander. Once rough wood is smooth, it is ready for your woodworking or construction projects.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 2 soft cloths or rags
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Nose mask
  • Sandpaper: 80-grit
  • Sanding block or electric orbital sander
  • Tack cloth
  • Sandpaper: 150-grit
  • Shop vacuum or canister vacuum cleaner
  • Paint thinner

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    Prepping and Sanding

  1. 1

    Wipe the rough wood with a soft cloth or rag to remove any loose dust and dirt. Wear work gloves, safety goggles and a nose mask.

  2. 2

    Turn the piece of rough wood so you see the grain.

  3. 3

    Attach a piece of 80-grit sandpaper to a sanding block or electric orbital sander. You can also sand by hand.

  4. 4

    Hold the sanding block, electric orbital sander or your hand at a 45-degree angle and sand the piece of rough wood in the direction of the grain using even, firm strokes. Sanding against the grain will result in scratches.

    If using a electric orbital sander, do not apply excessive pressure-guide it in even strokes over the rough wood.

  5. 5

    Wipe the wood frequently with a tack cloth to remove dust. Use a new piece of sandpaper when the old one becomes slick.

    Continue sanding until wood is smooth.

  6. 6

    Attach a piece of 150-grit sandpaper to a sanding block or electric orbital sander. Sand parallel to the wood grain to even and smooth out any ridges, scratches and imperfections.

    Clean Up

  1. 1

    Vacuum the dust from the wood and the area around it with a shop vacuum or canister vacuum cleaner.

  2. 2

    Apply 3 tablespoons of paint thinner to a soft cloth or rag. Wipe the wood.

  3. 3

    Re-apply paint thinner to the cloth or rag. Continue wiping until the wood is free of dust.

  4. 4

    Re-vacuum the area.

Tips and warnings

  • When sanding, do not extend the sandpaper too far past the wood's edge; this will cause the edges to be rounded.

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