I cannot seem to remove the sanding scratches on the lathe as I switch to progressively finer grit paper. Any suggestions on making that glass-smooth surface?
Kevin Hancock: Increase the speed of the lathe.
Carol Reed: Hand sand. Sanding on the lathe has the sandpaper always traveling in the same path. Hand sanding allows you to adjust the direction of the paper. Do it with each grit to eliminate the scratches of the previous grit. You don’t need to take the piece off the lathe to do this. Just turn off the lathe motor.
Tim Inman: Sand on the lathe as you are doing until you get to the finest grit size you prefer. Then, stop the lathe, go backwards to one grit size coarser than you finished with and sand by hand in the direction of the grain, with the lathe stopped, of course.
Michael Dresdner: It sounds as if you may be jumping too far between grits. If you go up one grit size at a time, you should be able to remove the previous grit marks without much ado. Keep the lathe speed up, use good quality paper, and change the paper if clumps start to form. Use a foam backing behind the paper as well. You’ll find that having a bit of give behind the paper translates into fewer obvious scratches. You may also find that sanding with either a random orbit or inertia sander will help hide sanding marks as they will cut in a rotary direction instead of always in the direction the wood is spinning.