Sanding Birch Plywood

I sand my Birch plywood before I mask it, and it produces a lot of dust. Next I tape the wood and then engrave/cut. I am finding that when I remove the tape, the wood is splintered and I have to re-sand it again. Is this normal for Birch?

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Since this is not a problem with Proofgrade material, Glowforge support will not address this post. I will move it to a more appropriate section of the forum.

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why are you sanding it in the first place? Usually birch plywood is already sanded.

I sand it because the wood has splinters and does not feel smooth.

I agree that you might save yourself a step and laser first. :+1:

where are you getting it?

sanding after lasering would probably be the way to go.

I ordered the Birch from Woodpeckers on Amazon.

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I’ve heard of them but have never ordered from them.

perhaps somebody could weigh in on their experience.

I wonder if you got a bad batch? I’ve got Baltic Birch from Woodpeckers and mine doesn’t have splinters. I never sand before lasering, and half the time I don’t sand afterwards either.

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I find the masking sticks better after a light sanding. I also find the masking lifts the grain, and then I have to sand again. But without masking, I end up having to sand to remove the smoke residue, so either way you end up sanding. :woman_shrugging:

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What kind of tape are you using?

I used to have the same problem so I just don’t press the masking down as hard as I normally do on the back side of the board. It doesn’t raise the grain as much.

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I’ve had this same problem using wood from the same source, and similarly with wood from Home Depot.

I almost posted this same question the other day =P and I’m bummed there’s not a clear solution coming up yet.

I find the amount of splintering I’m getting is pretty slight. Sometimes rather than sand a second time I just rub the surface with the masking I just pealed off… it’ll pull off the rest of any of the tiny splinters that came up and leave the surface feeling pretty smooth.

My other idea would be to try some less tacky masking… anyone have experience with that?

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I’m guessing that if your wood is spintering when pulling off the masking that your masking my be too sticky.

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I use Vinyl Ease transfer tape

It also matters what direction you pull your masking off. Try pulling low and across the grain. If you pull straight up and especially if you’re doing so along the grain the wood fibers are pulled straight out.

You’ll minimize fiber pull-up if you pull the tape diagonally to the grain and as low as possible, essentially pulling it straight up the board.

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Also try to remember which direction goes and pull off with the grain, at a diagonal. Mark the masking so you know

That should be alright, it is described as a medium to high tack which could be why its pulling up fibers? Maybe try a low tack painters tape as a test and see if it does the same sort of damage?