Sanding wood smooth without losing rustic saw marks

I've searched for an answer but can't find one. Hoping someone can help me out with this.

I recently picked up some old wood boards, about 3" thick, 4' long, and a foot wide. They're fairly old and have that warm weathered look of old raw wood. On one side you can see the nice circular saw marks from when they were milled. They're also very splintery, and I got plenty of splinters when I moved them.

My goal: preserve their rustic beauty while making them into usable wood for furniture. I want the surface smooth enough that splinters aren't an issue.

How can I sand the boards so they are smoother a micro level, but don't lose the beautiful saw marks? Ideally I'd keep that weathered color, but I suspect I'll lose at least some of that due to sanding and will have to fake it with stain.

Thanks a ton for any help!

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I agree with Artlife. Sand it with a course grit using an orbital or even by hand. When you stain the saw marks will pop.
artlife4 years ago
Hi, I have made a few pieces of furniture that have a rustic feel. Not rough, just not perfectly even like most commercial furniture today. Some of them I did with hand planes and skipped the sandpaper all together. The easiest way to take down those boards a little, would be to use abranet either by hand or even better in an orbital sander. If you stick to a coarse grade and don't get carried away by the "joy of sanding" you will be fine.
joshme (author)  artlife4 years ago
Thanks artlife. Is there a difference between abranet and regular sandpaper? I have a belt sander, but no orbital sander right now.
artlife joshme4 years ago
Yes, there is a big difference between abranet and sandpaper. The abranet (and abralon) products seem more expensive but they last much longer. Taking a belt sander to that wood is going to wipe out the texture you are trying to save. Do you have a scrub plane? If so you can knock down some of the rougher spots on the edges and then use the abranet on the entire surface. Can you borrow or rent an orbital sander?
joshme (author)  artlife4 years ago
I don't have a grinder or much of anything else. I have a very limited set of tools in my little apartment :-)

I can probably get an orbital sander to use. Thanks for the tips!
artlife joshme4 years ago
Okay, good luck. Will you post your project when you are done?
artlife artlife4 years ago
Also, for the color, you should be able to match the weathered color with a wipe-on poly. It comes in a bunch of colors and it is super simple to apply. Just wipe it on and wipe it off. Just use a rag to apply. No tools needed.
artlife artlife4 years ago
Do you have a grinder? If so you can try using it in place of an orbital sander. The issue with the grinder is you have to use a very light touch.
tumidaj4 years ago
I think so too.
Shot blasting. Or some other media, like dry ice. You can't do it DIY, but it will do what you want.
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