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Old 09-17-2007, 06:31 AM   #1
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


I just had a butcher block counter installed and they mitered a corner. Unfortunately one side is a hair higher than the other which I am not liking. The installers said they didn't want to sand it for fear of changing the colour of the wood (or meaning it was too much work if it did change as they'd then have to do a light sanding of the whole piece). Anyway, I have no problem tackling it since I need to buff and oil the piece anyway but I am not sure how to sand that seam flat when the grains are butting into each other. If I go with the grain on one side, it's against the grain on the other.

So how do I sand this so it's nice and smooth without goofing up the grain on one side?

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Old 09-17-2007, 06:58 AM   #2
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


Carefully sand in the direction of the grain. You could use a sanding block and angle it at the miter. Just sand the piece you want and not the other. If you have a large amount to remove you can get the bulk off with a sharp chisel first. Make sure this is real solid wood and not some paper covered filler. The installers might have known something you don't and didn't want to sand off the fake finish. Just a thought to be safe.

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Old 09-17-2007, 08:36 AM   #3
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


No problem with content, it's solid wood, oak.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:40 AM   #4
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


If you need to remove more than a very slight amount, I'd do it with a hand plane, rather than sand paper. Sand paper will introduce scratches into the wood, and you'll be sanding forever with increasing grits to get them to disappear.

With a handplane, check the angle of the grain, so you're planing "uphill". Move the plane parallel to the length of the wood you need to plane down, but have the plane itself pointed at a 45 degree angle to the length as you approach the miter, so the angle of the blade is between the grain of the two work pieces.

Hmm. That's really hard to describe in words. Sorry if that's not helpful.

Come over here, and I'll show you in 60 seconds.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:00 PM   #5
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


maybe I missed something but why not just shim the low one up slightly?
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Old 09-21-2007, 01:12 AM   #6
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


I suppose that might have been an option when it was installed but it is now glued and screwed so I seem to be stuck with it the way it is and trying to fix it.
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:21 AM   #7
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


If your asking how to finish the miter, I'm assuming you're not familliar with hand planes. Stick with the sand paper. One slip with the plane and you'll ruin your counter tops!

If it's oak, then it has to have some sort of sealer on it because of the open grain oak has. I would ask the installers to finish the corner and re-finish that area with what they used on the rest of the counter.

If not, ask the to just seal/finish the area or give you the information on what products they used.

Last edited by Jeekinz; 09-21-2007 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 09-21-2007, 01:36 PM   #8
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


Actually I'm the one doing the sealing/oiling which requires a light sanding. It's just this bit of difference has me trying to figure out how to do the extra sanding without messing up the grain on that miter.

I guess you have to understand that where I live it's nearly impossible to get any trade, to do any work, in an average or even high end home. We have a boom going on and a labour shortage to go with it so trades can pick their jobs and they are picking the ones with builders vs home owners. Even the million dollar plus reno jobs are waiting a year or more for things it's so busy. So when I wanted a counter, this was my only option (buying the tops at Ikea and having a guy who would simply install, no finishing). Basically part DIY and even at that, it cost me more than the full meal deal custom one would have cost 1.5 yrs ago and I have to consider myself lucky. It's more than frustrating.

In other circumstances I doubt he would have had this left as it was, but such is life so I'm stuck trying to do things I normally wouldn't have tackled and hoping not to have a half @ssed job when done.

I did try sanding a bit to with a block to see if I can get it down without messing up the other side but got sidetracked fitting a backsplash I'm attempting (no one to do those either) so I'll have to tackle it all this weekend and hope it works out.

Meanwhile, of all the tools I do have as I do do a lot myself anyway, I don't have a hand plane. I have a simpler type of scraper from Lee Valley but didn't want to risk nicking the other side since I haven't used it enough to feel very confident with it. I'm a bit PO'd they didn't dry fit the thing before gluing it as it would have been pretty easy to fix but again, it's murder trying to find people who will take a job and take pride in it too. Those folks are impossible for a home owner to get in.
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:08 PM   #9
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


Put a couple strips of blue masking tape over the lower part of the miter. If/when it starts to get damaged, pull it off and replace the tape.
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Old 09-21-2007, 04:10 PM   #10
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How do I sand a mitered joint?


Thanks. That's a good practical idea vs me just trying to eye it.

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