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Thread: sanding tiger maple

  1. #1

    sanding tiger maple

    I'm working on a shelf project with tiger maple. This is the first time I have used this wood in more than a few small trim pieces. I'm getting down to the final sanding and I can't seem to get the sanding marks out of it. I have carefully run through the grits in succession up to 320. I typically have used BLO to pop out the grain by sanding it into the wood with 320 (never heard of anyone doing this but it has worked for me...). Like I said though, I have typically used small pieces of tiger and the sanding marks went away when I put the oil on. I'm wondering about on the larger surfaces. Is there a a better way to sand/smooth tiger maple? Do I need to keep going higher with the grits? I plan on having a medium to med/high sheen.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Cape Cod, Ma.
    how are you sanding it Dan? by hand or with an ro sander? Also, big key point. if you see the sanding marks still then you didnt sand the scratches of the prior grit out completely with the next grit. ie the 150 didnt get all the scratches out that were left by the 100 grit. you will need to go back to that grit again and work it. one thing to be careful of with tiger maple and figured wood like that is that the "stripes" are a different hardness and you can get a ripple effect if you oversand or your sanding pad is not stiff enough to ride over the soft spots. any hand sanding should be done with the paper on a block of wood to prevent or at least minimize it. good luck! hope this helps and post pics!!!! oh also, denatured alcohol will help you see any sanding scratches that are left and bring out the look of the grain without raising it.
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  3. #3

    I agree that you have make sure you've sanded through each grit. The point I'm at now I have tested to make sure I'm sanding at the current grit by changing direction a bit, and I can see the marks change with no underlying larger marks. Maybe I'm using too much pressure. I use a RO sander up to 220, then go by hand/eye.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    That could end up as a very fancy shelf.
    Figured maple is popular with builders of traditional style rifles. Some use broken glass to scrape smooth. Very tedious process.
    Others wet the surface between sandings. There are as many favorite sanding materials as people who do this. Wet/dry automotive paper is used as a many others.
    Try wetting the sand with fine paper on a block. Take yer time.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    On figured woods I stop sanding around 180 till I get the first finish treatment on. Much finer and you hide all that beautiful "pop". I'm not quite clear on which sanding marks are causing the issue. In your first post you state that you cannot get the sanding marks out; OK, I'm good with that. In your second post you say that you are making sure that before changing grits, you have a consistent scratch pattern laid down with "no underlying larger marks" being left from the previous grit; here's where I get confused.

    I think you are saying that you are getting machine marks from the 320 that you are finishing up with via the ROS, yes? If this is it, and you want to go to 320 before starting to finish (I go even finer sometimes for specific reasons) Once you have a consistent 320 pattern, set the ROS aside. Put a quality 320 grit paper on a decent sized flat block (2-1/4" x 9" or there-a-bouts) and sand with the grain. This should convert all your swirl marks to directional marks without having to remove too much more material. If you haven't yet, you can wipe with mineral spirits and cross-light the surface to look for any unwanted survivors.

    At 320, in a light hardwood like maple, your swirl marks should be very near undetectable unless you are going dark on the colorant. You may want to look at some reviews on ROS, check you pad, change paper more frequently, etc. You mention pressing too hard. I don't press any harder than it takes to keep the sander controlled. Let the abrasive do the work. Otherwise you end up with inconsistent results . . . or I do anyway . I use a $50-$60 Bosch that won the pattern battles. Great price for a great little sander so, of course, they discontinued it

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    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Here are few pictures. Got assembly done today and it is ready to finish sand and put down finish coats. Don't intend to put any color in the maple. The edge trim is purple heart, the 'keystone is ash burl, and the insets are slate from roof tiles.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Very cool, Dan.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    never seen ash burl like that before its gorgeous! and that shelf is a knock out.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Well I can't say much about the rest of it cause I'm to busy looking at that ash burl! That is really nice stuff, really steals the show for sure.

  10. #10

    The ash is a turning block that I cut slices out of.

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