When do I stop sanding?

Do I sand the wood on the side that it planed? The smooth side? I know, in this project, to sand the sides where I cut (it is rough), but didn't know whether or not to not sand the smooth side. Can it get smoother? Thanks.
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Yes, it can get smoother. But if your planer leaves as smooth a finish as mine, then you can start with your finishing grit paper (300 or so).
Brian.

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It's HD's planer. I don't have one. Just a store bought piece of wood.

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jm wrote:

Try sanding it and see if you can feel the difference. With 320 grit you should be able to easily. While with the right tools, skill, and patience it's possible to plane wood to a smoother surface than you can achieve with sanding, it doesn't come that way from Home Depot.

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Or you can try using scrapers. Cabinet scrapers are available from any good woodworking store like Lee Valley. They don't scratch the way paper does. Ed
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Careful here. Softwoods can be challenging to scrape.
I assume (yeah, yeah) since most Borg hardwood nowadays is sanded and packaged, that this is softwood. In which case, first thing to do is see if there are shiny scallops on the surface. If so, make an immediate set with some water to save yourself some work and begin at 100/120 grit. The scallops are compression fractures caused by fast trips through semi-dull planers. Pushing the compressed surface up with a little water pressure pays dividends, even if you're going to finish with a hand plane.

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Planed wood will have small imperfections (cupping) due to the cutters rotating over the wood surface. You need to use successive grits up to around 180 (some go higher; some stop at 150) before staining or coating. What are you planning on finishing the project with?
dave
jm wrote:

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There's no universal answer here. It should be taken as smooth as you need for what you're doing with it, which you never said. For instance, depending on the wood, their plane, and how you intend to finish it, you may end up seeing a number of ridges from plane marks being brought out by the finish. If not finishing, sand until it feels/looks good to you. If you do sand, how smooth you want it also depends on the finishing you intend. With so little of the problem stated, any response is a shot in the dark. GerryG

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I'd add that I usually give any surface I buy from the Despot at least a quick once over w/ at least 220. If it's been sitting on the shelf for a while, it'll be grimy and fingerprinted, maybe even some Tootsie Roll residue from that kid you saw running up and down the aisles.
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@yahoo.com says...

probably won't hurt to hit it with, say, 180 grit. In any case, once you have the piece glued up you're probably going to have some sanding to do anyway.
As Gerry G noted there is no pat answer and it all depends on what the surface of the wood is like after you finish milling it. Dampening the wood, I like to use alcohol or mineral spirits, should darkens the wood in a way similar to what you would get if you had applied a clear finish and should show up any flaws that need sanding out.
Rule of thumb for sanding is the first grit to use is one that will efficiently get rid of all the flaws in the wood. IE, if you have ripple marks from a planer you'd use something like 89 or 100 grit, not 220 grit. You'd spend a week trying to get deep marks out with the 220 grit.
Every grit after that is ONLY to get the sanding scratches of the previous grit out. You don't skip grits for the same reason you don't try to get heavy milling marks out with a fine sandpaper. You're busting your ass for no good reason and very slow results.
Final grit? When you can't see any more sanding marks. I stop at 180 and reserve 220 for working on the finish. I know people that stop at 150 grit and some at things like 600 grit or higher. To me anything over 220 grit is a lot of work for very little actual return. Sanding to a high a grit can also cause you problems if you are planning to stain the piece and are using a pigment stain..
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MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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