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I have a piece of 4x4 with a very uneven cut at the end, and I want to make this end nice and flat.

However, I am puzzled that there seem to be no popular tools for flat wood grinding. Sanding seems to be the obvious choice - but what if we need to grind down as much as 1/4" of wood, or more? I have a small Black&Decker sander, and while it works well making smooths surfaces, I'm afraid it's going to take me quite a while to sand away all that extra wood.

I also have an angle grinder, and while I initially thought that this should be an ideal tool for wood flattening, I'm surprised with the dearth of appropriate blades.

I've seen only a few blades on internet that seem appropriate - flat disks for wood grinding (with blades, not sandpaper), but have no idea how good they would be for my purpose.

If I had a large surface to grind down, a plane would be an obvious choice, but a 4x4 end should be too small for any plane.

Or should I just arm myself with some low-grit sandpaper and patience?

An update: I ended up doing this job using a sander with 40 grit sandpaper. It took a lot of time, but came out nicely. Thanks everybody!

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    use a chisel before sandpaper. next time use a chop saw with fine or medium teeth and a slow methodical chop with taped cut edges. – dandavis Nov 17 '20 at 19:15
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    1/4" of end grain, even with coarse grit, will take forever. You won't want to do that twice. It'll also be difficult to keep flat as more force tends to be applied near the edges, making the whole thing convex. – isherwood Nov 17 '20 at 19:19
  • Chiseling end grain isn't all that easy and takes a very sharp blade to get a good finish. It is, of course, possible, but not easy - much like the note about planing end grain in my answer. – FreeMan Nov 17 '20 at 19:26
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Do you have a saw? Any sort of saw, be it hand saw, circular saw, hand or power miter box. These are all appropriate tools for squaring up an end like this. Even a jig-saw with a long enough blade should get you a cut that's close enough to finish sand.

An angle grinder would not be a good tool for this, which is probably why you're not finding any wood cutting blades. Usually an angle grinder is not a woodworking tool. You can use it, but you'll end up burning the wood with a grinding disk, and probably with a standard cutting disk, too.

You can use a hand plane, though planing end-grain is very difficult and requires a very sharp blade and proper setup of the plane (check out the Woodworking sister site for plane setup details - I know there have been questions about that there). If you don't already have one, you're going to spend more money, time and frustration trying to get this setup than it's really worth, especially if you expect this to be a one-off situation.

You could also just use your sander with something like 36 grit paper. You'd be surprised how quickly that will chew away wood. Get close to your finish line with the 36 grit, then switch to something like 80 or 100 grit to get really close, then switch to a higher grit if you want/need a finer finish, or just finish it up with the 80 or 100.

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  • Thank you! At the moment, I don't have any cut-off tool with the long enough blade (this is how I ended up with this atrocious cut of 4x4, ugh). In retrospect, I should have invested in it before I started the project, but now it looks like low-grit sandpaper it what I have to go with. – Alexander Nov 17 '20 at 18:48
  • @Alexander a 6" jigsaw blade isn't all that expensive. Assuming, of course, that you have a jig saw. Also, buying a hand saw isn't terribly expensive, either. While it may not be that much fun it shouldn't take long to hand cut a 4x4 unless it's rock maple or something like that, but if you're working in expensive hardwoods, you'd already have the right tools ;) – FreeMan Nov 17 '20 at 19:24
  • Yes, I have a jigsaw (and original cut was, in fact, made with a short jigsaw blade passing from multiple sides), but now the problem is that my piece of 4x4 is getting dangerously short for my project, and I don't want to make any fresh cuts through the whole thing. – Alexander Nov 17 '20 at 19:29
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    how about a wood rasp. if youve got one, a bit more aggressive than sand paper but the same general idea – mark f Nov 17 '20 at 19:55
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    get a carpenter's square. Make sure that all 4 edges of your proposed new flat surface off are going to give you a flat and square plane. Apart from that, nobody uses a giant grinder because they are impossible to control precisely as a cutting tool, and because if you try to grind wood, you'll risk a lot of edge tear out. If you can find a jointer-planer, that would produce a flat surface, but not a square one. – gbronner Nov 18 '20 at 2:18
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Get yourself a coarse rasp from your home store. It's a really, really coarse file and is great for removing a lot of wood in a short time. it has a curved and a flat surface.

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(picture from Amazon)

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