We all do different styles of woodworking but one thing we have in common is our preparation of boards during our projects and prior to finishing. Your prep work can make all the difference between an ok project and a fabulous project. Unfortunately, most woodworkers don't take the time to prepare their projects properly and end up with a less than great outcome.
A few simple steps can make your look better.
- When your board comes off the planer, it still needs some work before you go ahead and start cutting it up. Boards are a natural product, we need to look at each board and fit it to the project we want to do. A small knot or blemish might work fine in one area, but not so great in another. Once you have planed your lumber you will need to flatten it. But wait, isn't that why I planed it? Yes, but you still need to do a basic sanding (80 grit) before you start cutting it up.
- Once you start cutting, you need to make sure your edges are sanded and there are no kerf marks or other defects to ruin the look of your edges. Sand it smooth and then put your desired routered edge on. You simply can't sand afterwords.
- Once your pieces are cut, if they are small, go ahead and sand them down to your desired smoothness before you glue them together. You may need to sand again, but it's a lot easier than trying to get in those inside corners.
- Dry fit your project together to make sure everything will work before adding glue and fasteners. Once you know it works, go ahead and start glueing. After glue up, you can start sanding again to make sure everything is perfect.
You'll now have a great start to your project. No more saw marks or ripples from not sanding or not sanding enough. Take your time and you'll be amazed at the outcome.