What Does Sanding Do to Barnwood?

Feb 25, 2014

As you might guess, no two pieces of sanded barnwood are exactly alike, just like no two pieces of unsanded barnwood are exactly alike.  What a sanded piece of barnwood is going to look like depends on various factors, including what the board was like before it was sanded and how it was sanded.  

To provide a visual feel for the types of impact sanding can have on barnwood, Trestlewood sanded four samples each of Antique Brown Rough Barnwood, Antique Gray Rough Barnwood and NatureAged Gray Circle-Sawn Barnwood.  In each case, we used an orbital sander with 150 grit sandpaper and made quick passes over the wood.  Check out the results below (and then look for a few "lessons learned" under the photos):

Antique Brown Rough Barnwood - Unsanded

Antique Brown Rough Barnwood - Sanded

Antique Gray Rough Barnwood - Unsanded

Antique Gray Rough Barnwood - Sanded

NatureAged Gray Circle-Sawn Barnwood - Unsanded

NatureAged Gray Circle-Sawn Barnwood - Sanded

Some Lessons Learned

  • Different boards respond to sanding somewhat differently;
  • Sanding can often be quite effective in reducing the "sliver factor" without causing huge changes in the look of the barnwood;
  • Not surprisingly, boards that start out less rough generally require less effort to make them smooth to the touch;
  • Non-aggressive sanding of boards with coarse/rough textures often makes the high spots smoother to the touch without as much impact to the low spots; and
  • Perhaps most importantly, when using sanding to tweak the smoothness and/or other characteristics of barnwood lumber, be patient and don't try to accomplish too much too fast (it is easier to sand a little more than to reverse the effects of oversanding.)



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