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Beginner Method For Flattening Boards

in today's beginner video we're exploring the art of flattening boards using two simple yet effective tools the random orbital sander and a straight edge as you can probably imagine there is a wide range of Sanders out there on the market however for beginners I recommend a basic random orbital sanders something like this Makita here which is just under $100 and works extremely well now of course there's more expensive Sanders out there for example this one coming in at around $600 and you may be asking yourself why does this sander cost so much money it comes down to mostly the quality of its construction durability over time especially with heavy commercial use it has additional features and the higher quality sandard will produce a smoother finish by no means do you need a sander like this one as a beginner and honestly most people will never need a sander this nice in case you're not familiar a random orbital sander is a palm-size sander with an aggressive pad to which sandpaper attaches what's great about these Sanders is the pad moves in an orbital Direction meaning it rotates and shifts its position in a random elliptical manner for the purpose of producing a sanded finish that doesn't have circles or swirl marks now I won't get into too much more detail about Sanders because I've done a full video on it and I'll leave a link up here and down in the note section the other tool we're going to be using is a straight edge this one cost under 20 bucks what I like about this one is it's actually really thin which makes seeing light underneath of it really easy and I'll unpack what that means here in a few minutes before diving in examine the board for any major bumps or twists one of the best ways to First identify imperfections and high spots is to use your eyes and your hands your hands are surprisingly good at identifying imperfections lightly run your hands over the surface and make take a mental note of what you're feeling and what you're seeing to further identify exactly what's going on here let's use the Straight Edge to use this tool simply place it down on the board and notice if the straight edge rocks or moves in any direction it's helpful to move it in multiple directions to get a better sense of what's going on the main idea is to identify the high spots because it's those high spots that we're going to be sanding down to meet up with the lower spots to make the board flat another helpful tip is to position your board so that you can get some light on the back side of the straight edge for example when I hold the straight edge here you can see light coming through on the bottom therefore the sides of this board are high making the center section low sometimes the face you want to flatten first will be the opposite side where the center is high and the edges are low making your straight edge rock or tip to one side for today's video I'll be flattening this side where the edges are high to Mark the location of these high spots let's start at one end of the board and use a pencil to Mark where the Gap begins in this case it's about here on this side and here on the other again we're looking for the transition where the light comes through and where it doesn't or where the Gap ends or begins depending on how you look at it once that's done pull the straight edge towards you now a few inches and work your way all the way down to the other end in a lot of cases your markings will change slightly as you work down the board once those marks are all made simply draw a line that connects them like this and then color in all the high areas with your pencil what this does is it gives you a guide to know which material needs to be removed and it gives you a confirmation of of when that material is removed because the pencil marks are gone and I'll show you this here in a few seconds before we do start sanding though I do want to mention that this only corrects the board in One Direction after this is complete we'll turn our straight edge 90° and work on the long grain direction of the board when it comes to choosing the right sandpaper you're going to want to start with a more aggressive grit somewhere around 100 and work your way up from there however if you feel like you're not removing material fast enough or you know you have a lot of material to remove because you've noticed huge gaps in your straight edge you might need to jump down to an 80 grit or even a 40 sanding progression generally looks like this sanding progression for those that don't know is the order in which you use sandpaper so for instance if I start with an 80 grit my next step would be 100 120 and so on sanded progression is important because each paper above the one that you started with removes the previous scratches generally you're going to want to sand up to about 180 to 220 grit depending on the finish that you're putting on your project all right let's start standing and just see how things go with a 100 grit sandpaper installed and my sander hooked up to a shop back and don't worry if you don't have a v you can use a dust mask or sand outside if you can I'll start sanding only where I pencil marks as you sand don't feel like you have to put too much pressure on the sander just enough to engage the paper into the wood the idea here is to let the sander do the work and let the random orbital action work for you I'll sand until I no longer see pencil marks making sure to cover all areas as uniformly as possible I'll also taper my sanding meaning I'll go over in the areas without pencil marks slightly just so I'm not creating a sharp edge once the pencil marks are all gone I'll go ahead and spend a few more minutes in those areas once complete grab the straight edge and check your work here you can see that we did make some improvements but there is a little bit more work to be done repeat the process of marking where the new pencil lines need to be and in most cases you'll notice that the lines will be in a different position than they were before and that's a good thing with everything penciled in repeat the sanding [Music] process with that complete let's take another look and see where we're at I see yes we're actually looking really good right now so I'll think I'll stop right there with that direction looking good let's move on to the long grain Direction here I can see that there are a few very small spots showing up but for this board the work we did previously really helped out in this direction as well if it didn't keep finding those high spots and slowly work it down once you're satisfied with your results I recommend checking the board in a diagonal direction as well repeating the pencil marks and the same sanding procedures as you've done before because I'm happy with the overall flatness of my board I want to go ahead and clean up some of these deep saw marks still left in the middle which your board may not have or you actually may want to keep some of those for character t

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