We can sand plywood but must be careful how we do so and what type of sandpaper we use. Grade A plywood typically comes already sanded so it requires no sanding. However, if your grade B plywood needs sanding, do so with the best care since the veneer is very thin.
I find that plywood often needs little to no sanding. Therefore, we should be careful when sanding, since the veneer is about one-sixteenth of an inch. We want ultimate smoothness but we also need to ensure the plywood stays intact.
Here are the ways to sand plywood, different types of sanding tools, and how to use them. So let’s get into the groove of plywood sanding!
Can You Sand Plywood? If So, How?
Before adding a stain or other protective covering, we must sand the plywood. Using several grits of sandpaper (which we’ll explain more about later) on the plywood ensures the nicest surface. A higher grit signifies finer sandpaper; the grit value specifies how fine the material is.
Be sure to clean off the plywood with a damp cloth before you start sanding.
Next, sand the plywood with a 180-grit sandpaper pad. Sand the plywood 3 to 4 times with the sandpaper in the grain direction. Excessive sanding can lead the layers to rip up from the plywood’s ends if there are too many ridges on the surface. Any flaws in the wood are smoothed out with this grit.
Use 200-grit sandpaper to sand the plywood. Using 3 to 4 strokes, go in a line parallel to the grain of the leather. This finer grit smooths out the lines left behind by the 180-grit paper’s sanding of away the flaws.
Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand the plywood two times. The final sanding with this grit provides the plywood an extra-smooth finish before staining or finishing.
Using a clean cloth, remove any sandpaper dust from the plywood.
Plywood Sanding Is Essential For Several Reasons
Plywood must be sanded to eliminate the marks left by woodworking machines, as well as any other faults that may have happened when handling it. Sanding is a great way to achieve a polished look. The process of sanding differs from expert to professional, but it is widely accepted that it is necessary.
Material and application dictate the sanding level. However, sanding with a finer grit than #180 is rarely a good idea. This can be done most effectively by using a coarse enough grain of sandpaper to quickly cut through the material.
To smooth out the coarse-grit scratches, you should use finer and finer grits, from #150 to #220 g. When getting ready to sand a project, the first thing to consider is the sort of sandpaper or sanding disk needed.
Useful Tips for Using Sanders in a Variety of Situations
Observing the grain of a block of wood is a great way to learn more about the structure of the wood. Sand in the grain direction, as the term implies. Neither should it be parallel to it nor should it be angled toward it in any way.
When dealing with hard-to-reach areas like edges and corners, remember this rule. After staining, scratches caused by sanding against the grain seem unappealing if the instructions are not followed. Ensure the sanding surface is level and at a height that is comfortable to work at.
Hold the sanding block level and move back and forth in the grain direction while applying uniform pressure. Avoid using the edges of the sanding block, which can cause unintended depressions in the wood, because doing so could damage the surface.
Types of Sanders and How to Use Them
Here are a few commonly used wood sanders, along with instructions on how to use each one:
The final phase in the sanding process should be hand sanding, after employing increasingly finer grits with the various sanders. In addition to fine-tuning some areas that may need additional attention, hand sanding the wood may also help remove any sanding marks left behind by the other sanders. Sanding can be described as scratch control.
Cutting is one of the primary functions of sandpaper. It’s easier to scrape with finer grits, which leave smaller, shallower scratches. In time, the scratches fade to the point that you can no longer see or feel them.
A smooth surface is the result of this process. If you want to get the best results, always go with an industrial-grade sanding block. Keep the sandpaper in place on the block. It’s challenging.
This produces tiredness, which in turn contributes to dissatisfaction with the overall procedure. Additionally, pressing down too hard on the surface of the wood can damage specific particles of grit. Using this technique causes the sanding blocks to cut deeper than they should.
As a result, it leaves behind scratches that are nearly impossible to remove with sandpaper. It’s important to use a sanding block that’s both sturdy enough to retain the paper and flexible enough to allow for easy sanding. As a woodworker, you must continually touch and inspect the surface of the wood.
Dust can accumulate on the wood surface, making it harder to feel and see, so use a standard paint brush to remove it frequently. Become familiar with the many textures of smoothness using your fingertips. Finally, after all the surface has been smoothed to the same degree, it’s time to switch grits and sand the remaining surface.
Having sanded the entire surface with finer and finer grits, you’re done. There’s no point in sanding further than that. You may also check: Can You Sand Caulk?
For wood objects with curved edges, this is a tool meant to smooth and flatten them. Gritty sandpaper covers the spindle sander, a spinning cylindrical drum. As a result, saw marks and rough curved edges can be smoothed down.
Additionally, the oscillating spindle sander oscillates the drum up and down during its rotations. You may also check: Can You Sand Glass?
If you’re sanding with your hands or a repeating pattern sander, the Orbital Sander can help remove the scratch marks left behind (such as a common sheet sander). Orbital sanders can be divided into two primary categories: rotary and orbital. With a square sanding pad that moves in an orbital motion, the orbital sander is the most common.
The random orbital sander, on the other hand, moves an elliptical sanding disk in a round pattern. Using an orbital sander, you can make significant modifications to a piece of wood. Beginners will have little trouble getting the hang of it.
A large project will be tough to complete with this tool. The orbital sander, on the other hand, won’t destroy a perfectly polished piece of wood while you’re using it. Pressure applied to the sander when sanding can be used to control the sander’s force.
However, care must be taken to select the appropriate coarseness for the task at hand. To complete the task, you should not feel like you are exerting too much pressure on the sandpaper.
Because they move the sanding pad in a repetitive pattern, they are often seen as unsightly. But for most sanding projects, a sheet-sander is sufficient. In addition, the sheet sander may use a quarter or half sheet of normal sandpaper, saving you money.
Few instruments can match the oscillating spindle sander’s ability to sand curved cuts. The spindle of this sander rotates up and down with the rotation of the drum. You may also check: Can You Sand Epoxy?
Plywood Production Methods
Plywood panels come from various plays or layers of softwood veneer fastened together with the grain direction of each layer of veneer perpendicular to that of the adjacent layers. A waterproof resin adhesive is used to connect these wood veneers, which are then cured under heat and pressure. Softwood species such as pine, spruce, and Douglas-fir, are commonly used to make plywood. 4′ x 8′ is the most frequent size.
The most typical thickness of plywood is 12-inch. From natural, smooth surfaces appropriate for finishing work to inexpensive unsanded ratings utilized for sheathing, plywood comes in a wide range of options. Twelve standard thicknesses and almost two dozen different grades are covered here.
What Is The Purpose Of Plywood?
A wide variety of plywood products are available for structural and non-structural applications, comprising structural insulated panels, wall and roof sheathing, single-layer flooring, and subflooring, concrete for work, and webs of wood I-joists for both dry and wet service situations. Using plywood as an outside roof and wall wrapping protects the structure from the effects of lateral forces, such as earthquakes and wind. Due to its versatility, it can be utilized on both the inside and outside of structures.
Specialty plywoods are available in a wide variety of patterns and textures for exterior cladding applications, blending the natural aspects of wood with rigidity and strength.