There are already 2 questions on here that deal with this but they both deal with this at large/massive scale:

Smooth tree trunk cross section

Flattening the face of a board without using a jointer

I'm trying to smooth a tiny cross section (6 inches wide) of a mesquite tree to make a coaster and the solutions discussed in those questions are way too over the top.

So far I've tried a cordless sander (Ridgid R86064B) with 80 grit paper but haven't made much progress. I also tried using a plane but because of the circular grain and the small size wasn't able to get that to work.


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    Does this answer your question? Best way to make cross section pieces out of 12"-18" diameter log You could of course hand sand this flat if you had to, it would just take so long you'd lose the will to live. So although the sander you're using isn't the right type for the job it will get the job done eventually. Going coarser on the starting paper, if available, would not be bad idea. – Graphus Jun 28 '20 at 7:42
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    A belt sander would work better (i.e faster and flatter) than your cordless palm sander. I flip mine upside down and clamp it to my workbench, that would allow you to carefully hold the piece flat against the bottom plate, giving a nice flat result. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 28 '20 at 22:56
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    Yup. Belt sander until it's flat, then your ROS to put a nice finish on it. – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 15:59
  • @Graphus - thanks. Some good ideas in there. They go a bit beyond what I wanted to do but perhaps I need to bite the bullet and do that. – Guy Jun 30 '20 at 18:09
  • Jimmy and FreeMan - thanks I'll look into that. – Guy Jun 30 '20 at 18:10

A planer would work. I took a night school woodshop class in the local high school to use their very nice planer .I ran 4 pieces of 4 X 4 -8ft rough sawn oak through it . Then a 1 X 16 - 8 ft oak board ; it had beautiful burl , from a local small hardwood lumber yard. Lucky it was only one board because it was so loud I think I wore out my welcome .
Point is there is likely a planer you somehow get to do the job.
If it is 6" in diameter ,a 6" joiner should handle it .

  • Nice! Did you pass the class? :) – FreeMan Jul 4 '20 at 14:17
  • Wait... there's a high school that still offers wood shop classes? That. Is. Awesome!! I thought they were all gone. :( – FreeMan Jul 4 '20 at 14:18
  • Sorry! that was in the 70's. When your old the world keeps changing. I built a stereo cabinet - book case , nobody knows what they are anymore. – blacksmith37 Jul 4 '20 at 20:45
  • I used quarter sawn oak paneling, not peeled. I think i bought the whole pallet because the lumberyard was discontinuing it. – blacksmith37 Jul 4 '20 at 20:57
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    I had to downvote this Answer, sorry, this is end grain!! You don't run end grain through a planer normally, it is very dangerous — not just to the workpiece, it's potentially fatal to the machine. – Graphus Jul 5 '20 at 7:52

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