Contour sanding of oak

Old 01-10-16, 10:03 AM
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Question Contour sanding of oak

I chose plain sawn oak for a project that required it have a radius. As can be seen in the attached photo my problem arises from the hard and soft rings(?) not allowing for a smooth and consistent radius. Is there any way to accomplish this using simple rasps and sandpaper application without having to resort to either jigs or milling? Item pictured is 1/4" thick.

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Old 01-10-16, 10:05 AM
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If you are careful a belt sander would work.
Old 01-10-16, 11:13 AM
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Use a sanding block. It may sound counter intuitive to sand a curved surface with a flat piece of wood, but the block keeps the sand paper flat so it does not sand more of the soft wood away.
Old 01-10-16, 11:23 AM
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Use a piece of plain cardboard to make a template of the curve you want. Use this to mark the high spots on the wood. Use a rasp to remove the high spots until you are pretty close to final size. Then you can use sandpaper to smooth out minor variations. Oak's a pretty tough wood, so use fairly coarse sandpaper 80-100 grit until you have it pretty close to final size and shape. Then use 120 or 150 for final smoothing. No need to go to higher grit on oak.

You can also make a curved sanding block out of a piece of Styrofoam and glue sandpaper to it to help keep a uniform curve.
Old 01-10-16, 11:53 AM
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I'm not sure what level of perfection you're looking for on the radius. One way to achieve a perfect radius is to rip an Oak dowel on a table saw, probably not an option for you?
Old 01-10-16, 04:10 PM
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Appreciate the replies!

I was thinking there might be a fool-proof solution but it sounds like it's basically patience combined with a deft touch. I'll definitely give a try to the suggestions.

Sadly my belt/disk sander was "borrowed", never to return, so until I purchase another I'm making like Roy Underhill. I've also attached another image that shows the items are not equal in width from top to bottom which means a dowel wouldn't work without material removal. While the radius' are 1 1/32 the top one is generated from a single point while the lower (which is wider but same height) is actually 2 originating 1/4" apart. And no, to be honest, these dimensions are not extremely critical and can be worked by sight and feel...I just prefer not to feel the stepped radius.

I've penned plans for a jig to be used with a belt sander but until then I'll work with the helpful insight offered and also choose a more appropriate evenly dense hardwood for the next set.

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