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I have debarked a live edge walnut slab. Since the edge is rough and not flat, how would one properly sand that live edge without killing all of the subtle contours of that live edge. All of the sanding is being done to prepare for a polyurethane finish.

enter image description here walnut slab

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    Why would you want to? I'd apply urethane until I had the texture I was after and leave the wood alone. – isherwood Mar 28 '18 at 14:39
  • Yeah, I thought of that, but wasn't sure if it's ok to apply poly directly to unsanded wood – user782860 Mar 28 '18 at 17:47
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The reasons to sand before applying finish are to scuff the surface to give the finish something to cling onto, clean the surface of any dirt in the fibers of the wood and to flatten any imperfections. Poly will generally stick to a good clean surface that is as porous as wood. I would just go over it with a wire brush to make sure it is clean and evenly scuffed.

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