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Beginner question

  • Posts: 3

prasad created the topic: Beginner question

Hi Folks

I am a new member of this forum, a real beginner stepping into wood work and this is my first ever post. I am building something out of 3/4" thick plywood from Lowes. I have done the cutting straight edges with my circular saw and round circular cuts using my router. I now want to finish it. I have used my orbital sander with 120 grit and 220 grit sand papers. However the edges are still not as sooth as I desire. Should I fill the gaps at the edges with some wood filler or putty and then run the sander again? Also, how do I get smoother surface finish on flat surface?

Please point me if there is a place where a beginner can find answers to these type of questions.

Thank you
Eastern PA
  • Posts: 486

colin replied the topic: Beginner question

Hello Prasad, welcome to woodworking.
I'm not sure what you are making so a bit hard to know exactly what to recommend for you. Lowe's mostly sells more of a construction grades of plywood, which means when you cut it, there will likely be voids and holes in the edges. This is fine for rough construction but not ideal for things like fine furniture.

Filling the edges with filler, then sanding is one way of treating the edges, another is to purchase a roll of wood veneer tape for the edge. The version I use has a heat sensitive coating on the back and you use an ordinary cloths iron, on medium heat, to secure it to the edge. This might solve your edge problem.

I have a hunch that the plywood you are using, and trying to get a flat smooth finish, is just too rough, probably because it is a construction grade plywood. You might need to start off with 80 grit, then 120 and then 220 ... be careful not to sand through the top veneer.

Hope this helps :)
  • Posts: 3

prasad replied the topic: Beginner question

Hi Colin

Thank you for your reply. I understand it better now. It surely must be the poor quality of plywood. I have not found a source for better variety of plywood in small quantity but I am still searching. Meanwhile I will use your suggestions and manage to get through.

I am making a base unit for a telescope. ATM or Amateur Telescope Making is my other hobby. I am in the process of building a 12.5 inch Dobsonian telescope and now I am building its base unit. I made a circle cutting tool for my old Craftsman Router. Using this tool I have cut two round plywood discs 24 inch in diameter that will sit at the bottom. I am using 3/4" ply for the three vertical sides and this is where I ran into the above described problem. I guess I will somehow manage with what I have for now.

Thanks again for your advice,
Eastern PA
  • Posts: 486

colin replied the topic: Beginner question

Ok, good to know what you are doing ... sounds very interesting.

I think you made a good choice in selecting plywood for that kind of project. Sure a better grade or plywood might have been nicer to work with, but we all need to start somewhere and that's what you have done. Good for you for getting started with something. That's how we learn :) You are making great progress by coming on there forums and asking questions ... there are many people here very willing to help up with their ideas and opinions.
Maybe you will share some pics in the future, we would lover to see them.
  • Posts: 214

Glen replied the topic: Beginner question

Menards has prefinished 1/2" & 3/4" cabinet grade ply wood. The finish is durable & very even. I like to wrap the edges with a solid wood trim. A round project would be difficult to do this so Colin has the ideal solution to your unique problem. Show us some pics. We like to see what others build.

Welcome to the Forums Prasad
  • Posts: 3

prasad replied the topic: Beginner question

Thanks. Unfortunately Menards do not have a store on the East Coast. I would have to pay shipping which would be expensive. I have found Baltic Birch plywood sheets at local Michaels store. There is a problem - they are 12x24 in size. I want 24x24. So I am wondering if I should change my design.

I will post pictures of my work once it is ready. Right now it is still in pieces. Thank you again for your helpful suggestions,

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