How To Smooth Wood Without Sandpaper? Try these effective ways

Our wooden masterpieces would seem unsightly without sandpaper because the surface is not as smooth and polished as it should be.

However, crafters are now focusing on how to smooth wood without sandpaper because this one-time use item will end up in the trash after we finish one wood-making project. 

As human beings, we should not encourage the consumption of materials that have to be repurchased and thrown away daily, which is intensely damaging to the environment. 

Below are some alternative methods to sandpaper in this blog, which is simple for any wood-lovers to do at home. 

How To Smooth Wood Without Sandpaper?


Burnishing could be simply understood as rubbing the wood surface to other materials, either metal, leather, or other wood pieces. It is surprisingly effective, and this is also the easiest method on our list. 

How To Smooth Wood Without Sandpaper?

When interacting the wood with another hard surface, it will eliminate all the roughness to leave you with only a shiny and polished finish. 

Believe it or not, our primitive ancestors had used burnishing for millions of years to optimize their tools and survive predators. This raw method can bring the same result as using modern sandpapers. 

The only drawback is that burnishing would take you a little bit longer to complete the task. So don’t lose your patience easily when burnishing cannot bring you the results right away!

Wood Shavings

This old trick is the most effective and cheapest method where you don’t need to purchase any wood finisher. Wood shavings, the leftover wood, from a saw or planer can be used to flatten the surface by simply rubbing a handful of it over the area you want to cover. 

It won’t take you long to see how wood shavings can smoothen the wood underneath it with a little bit of even pressure. 

When using wood shavings, one important thing to remember is that there should not be any dirt or stones among the shavings when you rub the surface. Even a small rock stuck between the shavings can cause permanent damages to the wood. So be careful when choosing the shavings! 

Background of wood shavings

Making A Primitive Sandling Tool

This method is the most fun one to apply on this list because the wood makers could create it at home with some simple components, including sand, stone, and strong glue. 

Applying glue to one side of any smooth stone you can find, and spread a layer of sand on top of the glue area. Then, wait until the composition becomes solid and you are ready to go. 

After that, scrub the sand-glue area to the wood surface. It works the same way with burnishing, in which one hard surface trims all the bumpiness off another surface. Wood makers might have to continually apply new layers of sand to the stone once in a while. 

The results are not the best, but your wooden masterpieces will still have the polished and shiny look you have always wanted. 

Using Wood Files

Wood files would save your day even though this method costs a bit more than the others. The files are designed to help you smoothen the wood easily without hurting yourself. 

There are different shapes and sizes, but they are all indispensable for eliminating rough edges and corners or forming rounded surfaces if you want to. 

Buying a set of high-quality wood files will be worth it as it optimizes your crafting skill, and it will last for a long time, even after generations. 

There is one disadvantage of using wood files, however. It would be hard for wood makers to get into cranny spaces or complicated wood structures. Therefore, you should consider carefully before buying these tools for the wood finishing process. 


The easiest way to understand scraping is by holding a knife at 90 degrees to the wood to scrape over the surface. It will take away more or less wood based on the angle that the knife is used. 

A professional scraper tool can be used to help the user have better management over the knife’s angle and keep it constant to assure a flat and smooth area. 

Scraping is highly recommended for professionals who can consistently hold the knife at 90 degrees. Or else, the result will not be that great, especially for the amateurs. 

However, if you are looking into woodworking and want to take your DIY skill to the next level, this might be an interesting method!


This article has covered several ways on how to smooth wood without sandpaper, a one-time item that can harm the environment. These methods are all simple and fairly easy to do at home. 

Hopefully, these new practices will bring your experiences with woodworking to a whole new level and protect our surroundings at the same time. 

Reference source: How to Sand Wood with Sandpaper



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