I've made this new hatch cover for my boat from plywood strips, I'm a bad DIY-er and struggled to get the strips even so was going to sand them flat. So far that's taking ages. Should I get a planer or any other tips or just persevere. I have a belt, mouse and detail sander.

  • 2
    Work on boats takes extra skill. bad diy-er? Good luck. Unless it's marine grade, plywood is a bad choice for wood on a boat.
    – RMDman
    Apr 21 at 18:21
  • 4
    We are all bad DIYers at first. Try, practice, mistakes(and sometimes blood letting/learning new words in other languages) and redoing is how we get better.
    – crip659
    Apr 21 at 18:49
  • If you have to build another anything out of strips that want to be aligned, think about a biscuit joiner (also called a plate joiner). Apr 22 at 2:45
  • 3
    In my experience (as a bad DIY-er myself) the key is patience and not rushing the job. I can get things done decently by going slow, taking my time and perseverance. Imo this is how a bad DIYer becomes a good one.
    – stan
    Apr 22 at 6:19

3 Answers 3


If it's taking too long with a belt sander, you need a coarser grit.

Since you self-identify as a bad DIY-er, beware that you can do a lot of damage in a hurry with coarse grit in a belt sander. Get it close, but not completely even with what you're trying to end up level with and change to a finer grit before you scratch up the thing you'd like to be even with.

A planer won't love plywood, anyway.


Basic rule

Always grind in the direction of wood grain, not across.

You might want to try 80 grit, and go up or down in grit depending how much it removes.


I agree with other answers about coarser grades, but remember that the plywood layers are quite thin, so depending how uneven the new piece is, you may risk going through some.

It also sounds like you’re struggling to even out dips & raised areas.

The trick is probably a long board - a long(ish) flat board with the sandpaper tight underneath. Often made, but you can buy them & attach sanding roll paper to them (or Velcro, I haven’t tried that)


Absolute length not that important, the point is it removes the high spots & bridges across the dips rather than following down into them.

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