How To Make Wood Smooth: Simple DIY Methods


How To Make Wood Smooth? Wood comes in different textures, shapes, and sizes. However, it is generally a rough material. 

It’s common to find cracks, chips, and splinters on the surface of wood, especially after cutting it.

 So, if you want to use it for any craftwork, you must smoothen it.

Not smoothing your wood will result in unattractive work, which nobody will want. Fortunately, making wood smooth isn’t difficult, and there are many ways to do it. 

In this post, you’ll find out how to make wood smooth. But first, let’s go into detail about why understanding how to smooth wood is essential.

Table of Contents

Why is smooth wood important?

Smoothing is an essential aspect of wood finishing. Different types of wood finishes exist – varnish, wax, French polish, and Lacquer, to name a few. You can’t apply these finishes to your wood if it isn’t smooth.

Also, how you smooth your wood will affect what type of finish you can apply. There are different ways to smooth wood; depending on your project, you must use the right one.

textured wood

(textured wood)

Ways To Make Wood Smooth

Here are some of the most common and best ways to make wood smooth:

Sanding Wood

Sanding refers to smoothening wood using sandpaper. The sandpaper rubs against the rough wood surface, eliminating chips, grains, and splinters.

Sanding wood is the most common way to make wood smooth. Aside from smoothing, sanding is also helpful for shaping wood.

You can sand the wood with your hands or use a power tool, like a random-orbit sander. You only need to rub the sandpaper on the rough wood surfaces carefully with your hands.

The disadvantage is that you may get quickly tired, especially if you have many logs to smooth. So, using a random-orbit sander will be easier and faster.

Sanding Wood

(Sanding Wood)

Scraping Wood

Scraping wood involves using a scraper tool. The scraper tool is like a blade; it tears through wood fibers easily. It’s a more aggressive method of making wood smooth than sanding, and some people mistakenly interchange both methods. 

Scraping is preferable when smoothing hardwoods. On the other hand, it may be too aggressive on softwood. So, instead of a smooth surface, you get a rough one.

Hence, limiting this method to smoothing hardwood will be safe. After scraping, it’s not a bad idea to still sand.



Planing Wood

Wood planers are popular woodworking tools. When it comes to smoothing, they are indispensable. Planing smoothens wood by shaving out thin strips. The result is an even, spotless surface.

You can plane wood using a planing machine or a hand planer. However, the latter is more common and easier. Hand planers are also of different times – jointer, jack, smoothing, and block planers. Consequently, you’ll need a smoothing planer.

Before planning, ensure the planer blade is smooth and set at the right angle. The angle will determine how thick or thin the planed strips will be. A shallow angle is always the best way to start.

Wood planers

(Wood planers )

Finishing Wood

As mentioned earlier, the wood needs to be smooth before applying a finish. The finish will only ensure that the final work remains smooth. Depending on your finish type, you may need to apply multiple layers. Sanding after applying each layer will help make the finish smoother.

treated wood

(treated wood)

How to Smooth Wood Without Sandpaper?

Smoothing wood almost always involves using sandpaper. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t smooth wood without sandpaper. You can use any of the below methods:

Sand to Smooth Wood

You can sprinkle some sand on a wood surface to smoothen it. It’s like using sandpaper without paper. You’ll only need a piece of leather or cloth to rub the sand on the wood. It’s simple and fast but will not work for some wood types, especially hardwoods. 

Picture of sand

(Picture of sand)

Walnut Shells to Smooth Wood

Using walnut shells is similar to using sand to smooth wood. However, it gives a smoother result since the shells are stronger than sand. In addition to smoothing, the walnut shells will also polish the wood. The downside with this method is that there may be too many shells to clean up when you finish. 

Walnut shell picture

(Walnut shell picture)

Corn Cubs to Smooth Wood

Here’s another method similar to smoothing with sand and walnut shells. It’s more similar to using walnut shells, as it also polishes the wood.

Corn Cubs

(Corn Cubs)

Pumice to Smooth Wood

Without sandpaper, pumice will do an excellent job. It’s a rough, porous, and somewhat expensive volcanic rock but is more reliable than the earlier methods. Ensure the wood is wet to get the best with pumice when smoothing wood. 



Rottenstone for Smoothing Wood

If you find pumice is expensive, then consider rottenstone. Rottenstone works like pumice, is more affordable, and comes in finer grids. However, getting rottenstone might be challenging. 

Stone picture

(Stone picture)

Wood Shavings for Finish Wood

After planning or sawing wood, you get wood shavings. These wood shavings will work for smoothing wood by simply rubbing against the wood surface. You spend nothing, so it’s one of the most affordable options.

But using only clean and dirt-free wood shavings would be best.

Sawdust picture

(Sawdust picture)


Smoothing wood is essential for a final perfect appearance. Usually, the go-to method for smoothing wood is sanding with sandpaper. However, you can also use a scraper or planer and apply a finish.

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