Diamond willow is any wood from a Willow Tree that has been deformed into diamond-shaped sections that alternate in color. The deformation is likely a result of a fungus attacking the tree; the tree bark starts to grow away from the affected area, causing cankers to form in the wood. These cankers tend to take on a beautiful diamond pattern that alternates in dark and light wood-colors.
It is a remarkable and unusual type of wood that is fervently sought out by woodworkers and furniture designers all across the country. When working with diamond willow, it is important to learn some proper techniques in order to protect yourself and the material. So continue reading for tips on how to sand diamond willow.
To get started on a diamond willow sanding project, you will first need to make sure you have the proper tools on hand. Gather up items like chisels, scrapers, knives (not the foldable kind), rasps, block panes, and the right grade sandpaper. When accumulating these tools, you need to keep in mind that this is a hand-carving and sanding project that can result in serious injuries if not implemented safely. Basically, watch out for the hand that is holding the diamond willow at all times!
Once you have all the necessary items, it is important to discuss the type of sandpaper you should use. For this type of sanding, it is recommended to go with tri-folded sheets of standard aluminum oxide production paper. Be sure to purchase a variety of grits, including 100, 120, 220, and 320. Although most of the sanding you’ll be doing will require the 100 grit, you may need to purchase all of these to achieve a certain finish.
To get started with the sanding process, follow these tips for advice:
- Use a gouge chisel or non-folding rounded blade to remove the bark from the diamonds.
- Be sure to not cut too deeply into the diamonds, exceeding its distinctive coloration.
- Traces in the deepest recesses of the diamonds add unique beauty to the final finish.
- Sand out all areas to your preferred degree of levelness using a scraper, rasp, or other effective tool.
- Smooth out all areas again to your desired smoothness using sandpaper.
- Finish with a proper coating but do not use polyurethane.
Aside from artistry and skill, getting the best results from sanding any wood product starts with using quality materials. Be sure you are choosing in-house manufactured abrasives for all your sanding needs in order to cement great results that last.