Best Way to Sand Rough Cut Wood (List of  Tools And Skill)

Published on: April 1, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Wood is a multipurpose hard fibrous material for creating Iconic design wooden work. When you think of a wooden workpiece, the most popular images automatically come to your mind like artistic wooden pieces, furniture or wooden work in your house etc. Wood will assemble your project perfectly when you will combine the effective sanding machine, sandpapers, and proper sanding technique. 

Wood is usually abrasive in its original state. After cutting the wood, the most common features you will notice are chips, fragments or cracks that will disfigure the surface of your design. To recover this uneven state, you will need to level the surface of the wood as best as you can.  For this, the most essential tool will be sandpaper, though you will have other options for your choice. 

best way to sand rough cut wood (list of  tools and skill)

This article will cover how consistently you can sand rough cut wood to a smooth surface with sanding technique free from swirl marks and pigtails. Also it will include how to fix sanding mistakes the easy way for your project. 

List of  Tools And Skill 

  • Quality Sander  
  • Sandpaper of 40,60, 80, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320 grit
  • Dust Extraction system
  • Proper Sanding Technique

The above quality tools and technique will make your sanding process consistent and give you the best performance. This will also save your time and give maximum satisfaction. It’s not always necessary to have expensive sander to achieve great results.

Use of Right Grade of Sandpaper 

All sand papers are not equal in grade. Some grades may scratch or damage the wood if a proper sanding technique is not applied at the right time with the right grade. Use of the right sandpaper for the sanding is essential to achieve the desired result. Use of the wrong one will end up with wastage of valuable time and give you a bad texture. Therefore, understanding of sandpaper properties will help get professional results. 

Maintain Grit Sequence for Rough Treatment

Sanding grits play a vital role in wood sanding. It is recommended to strictly comply with following sanding mode along with grit sequence: 

  • In rotary mode: 40, 60, 80, 100 grit. (The lower the grit, the higher the speed for aggressive cut)
  • In random orbit mode: 120, 150, 180, 220, 320 grit (The higher the grit, the lower the speed for finest touch) 

The lower the grade, the rougher the sandpaper. For example, 60-grit sandpaper is the roughest sandpaper basically used on wood with an extremely rough surface including dips, gouges, splinters, or loose fibers. It removes wood fast. 

If 60-grit seems too aggressive, switching to 80-grit is recommended to achieve slightly less abrasive qualities. These two 60 and 80 lower grit sandpaper is usually used to level or shape rough surfaces, remove old finishes or paint from wood. Handle with care while sanding fast in order to avoid any scratches on wood.

For finish work, lower grits such as 60 and 80 are not ideal. Always follow up by sanding the wood with successively higher grits. It’s not appropriate to apply 60 or 80 grits for cabinets or fine-woodworking. 

Woodworkers and cabinet makers ideally prefer 100-grit sandpaper than any other grade. It’s the workhorse of the industry. It planes with just the right amount of abrasion and gets the surface ready for finishing. It is a very common occurrence that during the building and assembly of a project, you will inevitably scratch it, nail it, gauge it, and fillers. Use this 100 grit to sand down uneven joints or miscalculated edges, rounding for a smooth feel to fingers and hands. This grit is ideal for the general use of woodworking. 

Grit Sequence for Next Level of Sanding for Finish Work

Apply 120 or 180 grit sandpaper to switch to the next level of sanding for finish work. This slick-surfaced paper further defines the wood’s surface. Though 100-grit is sufficient for sanding job but to make clear topcoats lie flat with the glossy sheen, higher grits have the edge, it is recommended to use this two finer grits 120 or 180 sparingly in order to remove fibers and other defects to have the finest surface result. 

However, over-sanding wood with high grit papers may polish the wood, but that task ultimately would result in making stain penetration spotty and uneven. If you notice any shiny spots or streaks on the wood, it’s been sanded too aggressively with high-grit paper which resulted in unwanted successive coats or stains. If you need further polishing, resand the wood with 100-grit to slightly rough up the surface more consistently in stain application. 

Read more: How to Select Best Band Saws for Resawing

The Smooth Touch 

The different grades of sandpaper and their application also apply to power tools that use sandpaper. Use 60 or 80 grit for aggressive and fast wood removal. Use 100 grit for all-purpose sanding. And 120 or 180 for the finest finish using both power-tool sanding along with hand sanding. Power tools leave hidden starches that show up later. And always sand parallel to the grain. Sanding across the grain with any kind of sandpaper will inevitably cause cross-grain scratches. The rule of parallel sanding with any grade of sandpaper should never be ignored.

How to Fix Sanding Mistakes 

Despite you own an awesome sander, dust extraction system, and use quality sandpaper, you may lose focus while working which cause putting too much pressure on the sander. Thus, again it left a swirl mark and /or pigtail. Nothing to be worried. It’s easy to fix as long as you follow the Golden Rules of Sanding. 

What Are the Steps to Sanding Wood with a Palm Sander?

When it comes to sanding wood with a palm sander, following these tips for sanding with a palm sander is essential. Start by selecting the right grit sandpaper and securing it properly. Hold the sander firmly and start sanding in a smooth, even motion. Move in the direction of the wood grain, applying light pressure. Finally, clean up any dust before moving on to the next sanding step.

Golden Rule

A wood sanding mistake, such as a swirl mark or pigtail, can only be removed by sanding grit from which it was formed. 

Monitoring for Mistakes

In order to fix sanding mistakes, it’s vital to inspect the wood surface after each grit. If any sanding mistakes are detected, sand it immediately with the same grit again. Most of the time, this fixes the sanding mistakes. Continue to back down grits until the sanding mistakes are fixed in order to achieve excellent quality.

With the above note, we, your professional experts, intend to utilize the latest process and technology to offer superior equipment that can fulfill effectiveness and efficiency for our valued customers. Your satisfaction is our success. We sincerely wish to cooperate with you at the highest level of excellence. Finally, last but not least, “We always put the customer’s opinion as a first priority.” 


Read the manual carefully before operation and maintain safety protocol in order to  avoid accidental injuries and hazards in the workplace.     

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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