How to Smooth Wood: Choose the Best Tool for the Job

When it comes to wood smoothing tools, it's important to understand what to use, when and why. Use this guide to determine whether sanding, scraping or handplaning will work best for smoothing wood on your finished product.

Scraping often leaves a tail at the end of the wood pore the length of which varies from species to species. Planing also can sometimes result in a tail, depending on the species, but it is usually much smaller. A coat of finish raises and stiffens the tails and other irregularities, making the surface look and feel rough.