Woodworking Float

Introduction to Woodworking Floats

A woodworking float is a specialist tool used for finishing and polishing wooden surfaces. The float”sometimes referred to as a carpenter’s oval-head rub stone, or an oilstone” is generally an oval piece of bonded abrasive wrapped in a cloth holder that fits comfortably in the hand. Unlike other woodworking tools such as planers, chisels, saws and knives, floats have no cutting edge but instead rely on the friction between the stone and the workpiece surface to affect changes. Through repetitive rubbing, they are able to remove any raised grain or bumps while also smoothing out uneven surfaces or rough patches in timber.

Woodworkers make use of three types of floats; soft, hard and bastard. Soft floats feature an abrasive composed of medium to fine particles that are ideal for removing small amounts of material from softer woods. Hard floats possess abrasives made from larger coarse particles which allow them to cut into firmer timbers more effectively than its counterpart. Bastard Floats feature a combination of the two that gives it both qualities making it suitable for different kinds of woods like pine, maple and oak.

In addition to using it as a pre-finishing tool, woodworkers also employ floats as a final sanding tool after they have completed their project. Unlike typical sandpaper which can tear away too much material if used incorrectly, flattening out delicate details carved into the woodwork, floats give users total control over how much material they choose to remove without compromising detail accuracy or risking damage to carved sections.

Overall, owning at least one good quality float is essential for any amateur or professional woodwork enthusiast who wishes to achieve perfect finish results every time!

Different Styles and Sizes of Woodworking Floats

Woodworking floats are essential tools in the workshop for creating a level surface and ensuring accurate results. To fit all of the different needs of carpentry, there are many styles and sizes of woodworking floats for various tasks.

For smoothing surfaces, the most commonly used float is a standard wooden float which has either hard or soft plastic handles. This type of float is very versatile and can be used to both remove large surface imperfections as well as smooth out small surface details. Longer wooden floats can also be purchased to reach over larger areas or uneven surfaces that may be harder to work with smaller floats.

The second type of float is metal, which comes in several different forms such as brass with resin-bonded heads, stainless steel with flat or bevelled edges, and mild steel boxes with double seats. Metal floats excel at removing gouges and more stubborn marks due to their precision edge and dense construction materials. However they do no leave behind an even finish like a standard wooden float usually does if pushed too hard against the surface.

For detailed work, a sponge rubberfloat is often preferred because of its delicate and fine finish it leaves on wood after use. Its waves pattern and soft rubber blades help create curves while avoiding damage to delicate sections due to pressure while working up finely detailed surfaces.

For jobs requiring higher amounts of accuracy on specific points then finding the right size pocket plane can help produce very exacting results quickly without the worry about huge amounts of dust being produced from sandpaper or power tools like routers. Pocket planes come in multiple sizes featuring several blades for both single depth cuts or multi-leveled sections for added detail that requires both horizontal and vertical usage simultaneously; this makes them perfect for trimming moldings or complex joinery constructions.

How to Select the Right Woodworking Float for Your Projects

Selecting the right woodworking float for your project is an important step in ensuring successful outcomes. Different types of woodworking floats meet different needs, so you should match the float to the task at hand. For general projects, a wide and shallow flat float with a blade size of 1 3/4 inches is usually suitable. This type of float helps you prepare rough surfaces for other steps, such as planing or sanding.

Some specialized tasks require specific floats, such as those that feature grooved blades for cleaning out joints or creating decorative channels. Another specialized tool is the V-groove float, which features curved grooves and can be used for decorative moldings and designs.

The handle design of a given woodworking float is also important when making a buying decision. Short handle floats provide increased control and maneuverability while working on detailed projects, while longer handles offer more arm leverage when working with rougher wooden surfaces. Most floats will have comfortable handles made from hardwood or other non-slip material.

Adirondack Glider Chair Woodworking Plan

If you’re just getting started with woodworking, it might be best to purchase a general woodworking set that contains multiple types of floats appropriate for different kinds of projects. Having the right tools will help ensure safer and more efficient work progress, so experiment with different designs to find which suits your preference best!

Step by Step Guide to Using Woodworking Floats

1. Choose the type of float you need, depending on the type of woodworking project or application (e.g., smoothing, shaping, etc.).

2. Wear appropriate safety equipment such as a face mask and safety glasses to protect your eyes and lungs from sawdust and debris.

3. Secure the pieces of wood securely in a vise to ensure accuracy while working.

4. Use clamps to keep smaller pieces of wood together as you work with them if needed.

5. Place the float against the surface of the wood that needs sanding and apply light pressure while gently moving it across the whole surface in a back-and-forth motion.

6. Move onto other areas that need attention and repeat steps 4-5 until all surfaces are even or free from imperfection where necessary.

7. Wipe down any excess dust from the wood surface with a cloth before continuing with other stages in your woodworking project or applying a finish if desired.

8. Inspect for any missed areas that may require additional sanding or floating before proceeding with your project’s next step, an accumulation of dust can indicate an area might need some more attention before progressing further so be sure to check carefully over everything prior to finishing off your work!

Tips on Decorating and Finishing Projects with a Woodworking Float

Woodworking float can be a useful tool when finishing and decorating projects. The float is a flat, round piece of metal with a handle attached to the end. Typically they are made from steel, but other metals may also be used. Floats can best be used for smoothing out surface imperfections, or filling any gaps between pieces of wood. When using a float, the key is to start by making light passes with the floating head before making more aggressive passes for greater effect.

It’s important to clean the woodwork regularly as you’re working with the floating head. This will help avoid any sanding marks after you’ve finished decorating your project with the float. For this it’s suggested to use either a damp finger or rag and wipe over any surface imperfections that stick out after each pass of the floating head. Also if there are any dirt particles embedded in your pieces of wood, make sure to remove them before rubbing with the float as this can cause scratches on the material’s surface.

When applying finishes such as paint and varnish, it’s also important to use your woodworking float for an even finish. Start by stirring up the paint until virtually all lumps are gone. Then apply liberally with your brush onto the desired area before immediately pressing down hard on this area with the floating head. Repeat this process across all areas ensuring you take off in straight lines from one side to another along piece of woodwork then back again in an overlapping pattern so that everything is blending well together and giving an even coverage across your project outside of its natural grain lines.

Benefits and Advantages of Using a Woodworking Float

A woodworking float is an essential tool used for a variety of tasks in the craft of carpentry and general woodworking. Floats allow craftsmen to create smooth, finished surfaces on their pieces, as well as to shape and sculpt materials into intricate designs. The benefits and advantages of using a woodworking float are numerous, ranging from a much improved finish on projects to greater accuracy when working with detailed patterns.

One great advantage of using a woodworking float is that it can help to achieve an even and professional looking finish on any kind of woodwork project. The use of the float prevents scratches, grooves, and other imperfections that can be caused by manual sanding or other tools. By utilizing the flat face of the float, craftsmen can achieve an even and level surface by gently moving it back and forth over their workpiece. This ensures that pieces come out looking beautiful after they have been shaped and shaped.

Using a woodworking float also helps ensure accuracy when working on detailed designs or patterns on projects. These floats have very small faces, allowing them to easily fit into deeper carvings or indentations without leaving visible marks where they have traveled over the sides of the grain line during application. As precision is such an important aspect in most forms of carpentry, having this kind of accuracy is paramount when working with delicate details like those found in furniture making or ornamental workmanship.

Finally, using a woodworking float will save time compared to traditional methods like sanding by hand or using power tools like saws or routers. Floats are extremely efficient when it comes to smoothing surfaces and shaping edges since they don’t require as much set-up time as some other tools do ” simply move the face along your material until the desired result has been achieved! In addition to this convenience factor, they also produce results more quickly than if done manually; saving you valuable time from start to finish!

Woodworking Bench Base

Safety Considerations While Using a Woodworking Float

When using a woodworking float, it is important to consider safety first. Always wear eye protection when operating a woodworking float. During each use of the float, check that all blades are securely attached, and that blade guard pieces are in place and in good shape. Make sure to adhere to all safety procedures and recommended machine operation guidelines provided by the manufacturer. For added safety, be sure to keep the area around the machine free from potentially hazardous materials such as lumber scraps or sawdust. In addition, unplugging and disabling power on the float periodically while changing blades can help prevent accidents from occurring. Always make sure that your hands and arms don’t come in contact with any of the moving parts on the float during operation. As with any power tool, you should always disconnect it from electricity when performing regular maintenance or repairs. Doing so will ensure your own personal safety as well as avoid potential hazards resulting from electrical shock or fire hazards due to exposed wires.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working with a Woodworking Float

1. Not using the right kind of float for the job – Different woods require different tools for finishing and sanding, and if you’re using the wrong kind of float for a particular job, it won’t have the same effect and can even damage the wood. Make sure you’re matching up the tool with the job before you begin.

2. Not keeping enough pressure on the float from side-to-side – Pressure needs to be consistent to ensure smooth results across your workpiece. As you move across surfaces, make sure you keep pressure on in both directions so that your float does not become ineffective or cause damage or indentations in your piece.

3. Dragging rather than pushing – Pulling a woodworking float back across a workpiece instead of pushing forward can lead to uneven results. Make sure you are pushing the tool forward rather than dragging it backward over any given surface.

4. Not keeping an eye on temperature – The heat generated when rubbing a woodworking float over a surface can easily burn or scar the wood if left unchecked. Continuously monitor your work to make sure it isn’t getting dangerously hot, as this could ruin all of your hard work in one stroke.

5. Not testing before applying finish – Wood fibers can be disrupted by using a woodworking float, so make sure you test out an inconspicuous spot first before applying any type of finish to check how well it absorbs first without risk of ruining more visible areas if things don’t go as planned!


A woodworking float is an essential tool for any woodworking task. Floats allow you to create large, even panels of wood as well as to smooth and level small areas. They also help keep small pieces of wood in place during assembly and light sanding. With the right float and a few simple techniques, it’s possible to craft beautiful all-wood pieces with amazing results. For this reason alone, it makes sense to include one or more floats in your toolbox, no matter what kind of projects you are tackling.

When adding a woodworking float to your toolbox, there are many options that can be considered. Different types of floats serve different purposes when used in different situations; knowing the intended purpose will make selecting the right float easier and more efficient. Spatulas are typically used for glue adhesion and fastening as well as sanding small details; corners tend to do better with paddles, which help to maintain straight lines during constructing; finally scraper blades can be used for striated cuts or intricate detailing common in contemporary furniture designs.

In addition to working with the material itself, a good quality float will also save time and effort when it comes to clean up thanks to its ability scrape off glue residue and other materials during the assembly process. This convenient effect ensures there is less mess at the end of a project as well as reducing set up times for subsequent projects significantly. Finally, choosing the right steel alloy can guarantee even more longevity from each float that has been included in your kit; while traditional carbon steel will provide good service levels over time stainless versions ” though more expensive ” are ideal if longer period of use is desired with each tool.

Send this to a friend