Sanding Bowls

Flute Maker

Mike
User
I seem to always have trouble sanding bowls. I tried sanding with the lathe running but it wasnt good.So I have gone to sanding by hand going with grain or the way it appears I need to sand. (I am always hesitant to sand a bowl...ran into the same problem with having sanding marks showing) The wood I have a bunch turned is spalted maple (thats what I think it is..beautiful wood) from my yard that I cut down years ago. I go through a progression of grits but am not satisfied with my results.......sanding marks ,swirls etc. Any suggestions ? Thanks in advance.
 

wsrhue

wyattspeightrhue
User
Sand with the lathe running up to 220. Then, drop back down to 150 and hand sand with the grain through the grits however high you want to go. I power sand with a 3" disc on my drill, but the process is the same.
 

Jerry C

New User
Jerry
Get a Harbor Freight right angle drill......using small sanding discs you can get a lot done on the drill. I generally use this for the coarser grits. I have not found a magic solution to sanding bowls. The grain goes in all directions so each bowl is different...you just have to do whatever works. It takes me a lot of power sanding and hand sanding to get a smooth finish. I am not good enough at turning to avoid all the work.
 

Raymond

Raymond
Staff member
Corporate Member
Mike, I haven't made but one bowl and I sanded with with the Robert Sorby Sandmaster going all the way up to 1,200 grit for the outside and up to 600 grit for the inside. I also finish the outside by using strips of wet Micro Mesh (using denatured alcohol) - the Micro Mesh goes up to 12,000 grit.

The one thing you have to keep in mind when sanding is that after 200 grit, you are not removing as much material as you are filling in the pores.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
End grain tear out during excavation is a natural occurrence. Once the desired shape is approached, the tooling and technique needs to be changed to what's known as "shear scraping". That's a process more complicated than I have time for here, but it works well. I first saw it demonstrated by Ray Key, a British turner that was demonstrating in the late 1990s. Its a real time saver but it takes a commitment to learn the sharpening process. I use old cut up planer/jointer knives for the cutting edges for a tool holder I made. The resulting surface requires very little sanding, usually starting at 120 grit just to get the curves blended. I know others that are good at shear scraping that start at 220.

Actually "scraping" is a deceiving misnomer because one is actually cutting with a very fine edge.

The photo below shows a surface that's been scraped down to remove the tear out. Sanding down the profile to get to this tear out removed uses a lot of abrasive and is often unsatisfactory because of the lope resulting from the resistance differences between end grain and long grain.

1  shear scrape.jpg
 

robliles

Rob
Corporate Member
I sand bowls on the lathe starting at 100 grit and going thru 120, 150,180 and finishing with 220. After that I use Scotchbrite abrasive pads with a course, medium and fine pad. That generally removes all sanding marks. After that I buff the bowl using Klingspor's buffing kit and the finish is complete.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Mike, spalted maple can have some hard wood mixed in with soft wood where the spalting has occurred. You may have to harden the spalted wood with some CA glue to get a good result from sanding. Mark Lindquist started popularizing spalted wood and he showed how he sanded his bowls with an auto-body grinder. Clouds of dust. Sanding on the lathe is the quickest way to a smooth surface. Sand forward, reverse direction of spinning and sand. Repeat as you go finer grit paper. Clean the surface between grits.

Roy G
 

cyclopentadiene

Update your profile with your name
User
I love turning bowls but hate to sand them. My approach is the same as already stated. Sand with 100 grit until your fingers are almost bleeding. Repeat with 120 grit then it gets much easier and faster
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
A lot of good information Guys!! I appreciate it.Ill have to use ithis for sure.I had already cleaned up the bottom and cant remount it but I think I can hand sand the rest out....Thanks again..
 

Raymond

Raymond
Staff member
Corporate Member
A lot of good information Guys!! I appreciate it.Ill have to use ithis for sure.I had already cleaned up the bottom and cant remount it but I think I can hand sand the rest out....Thanks again..
Mike, you can use a jam chuck to assist you in finishing the bottom.
 

blackhawk

Brad
Corporate Member
I always power sand with the lathe running in reverse at the slowest speed possible, ideally 100 rpm. I use an angled drill that I bought from Klingspor https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/tz20000/

I use the scalloped sanding discs from Klingspor. They are much less likely to burn a line in your work. https://www.woodworkingshop.com/category.aspx?id=21&f1=2"+SCALLOPED I also use the sponge pad https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/fr72001/ Between the sponge pad and disks I use the a sponge backing pad from Craft Supplies Wave 2 Inch Backing Pad | Finishing | Craft Supplies USA I really wish Klingspor would start selling these backing pads with the scallops.

It really helps to hone your turning skills and sharpening skills so that you can get the best finish with your tools. I really try to get to the point that I can start off with 180 grit sandpaper. On a really good day with good wood, I can sometimes start out with 220. It is really time consuming to sand out 100 grit scratches. I progress from 180 to 220, 320, and 400. I then use Yorkshire Grit for my final finish. https://www.thewalnutlog.com/woodwo...turners-Abrasive/p/67140750/category=19617873 The Yorkshire Grit leaves an incredible finish and you don't have to sand past the 400 grit. I really love how it works.
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
I always power sand with the lathe running in reverse at the slowest speed possible, ideally 100 rpm. I use an angled drill that I bought from Klingspor https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/tz20000/

I use the scalloped sanding discs from Klingspor. They are much less likely to burn a line in your work. https://www.woodworkingshop.com/category.aspx?id=21&f1=2"+SCALLOPED I also use the sponge pad https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/fr72001/ Between the sponge pad and disks I use the a sponge backing pad from Craft Supplies Wave 2 Inch Backing Pad | Finishing | Craft Supplies USA I really wish Klingspor would start selling these backing pads with the scallops.

It really helps to hone your turning skills and sharpening skills so that you can get the best finish with your tools. I really try to get to the point that I can start off with 180 grit sandpaper. On a really good day with good wood, I can sometimes start out with 220. It is really time consuming to sand out 100 grit scratches. I progress from 180 to 220, 320, and 400. I then use Yorkshire Grit for my final finish. https://www.thewalnutlog.com/woodwo...turners-Abrasive/p/67140750/category=19617873 The Yorkshire Grit leaves an incredible finish and you don't have to sand past the 400 grit. I really love how it works.
Thanks Brad
 

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