Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze? (Try this fix FIRST!)

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze

Mill glaze is a glossy type shinny film surface that produces on newly milled timber during the milling production process. It has the tendency to repel stains on wood.

There are lots of questions that I hear all the time regarding the removal of mill glaze. Like, Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze?

I was wondered about this. So, I dig into it, and here is what I found:

Yes, Sanding removes mill glaze. Light sanding is required to remove mill glaze. Use 80 grit sandpaper to break through the mill glaze of wood. Sand along the direction of the wood grain lightly because mill glaze will be easily removed with a slight touch.

But that’s just a quick snapshot.

Let’s find out actually how does sanding removes mill glaze, and what type of sanding paper should you use, and I’ll share my personal experiences with you to make your next woodworking project perfect without this issue.

Let’s jump in!

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding wood to remove mill gaze

Can Mill Glaze be Sanded Off?

There are two possible ways to remove mill glaze from the wooden surface.

  1. Light pressure washing by wood deck cleaner
  2. Light sanding

Here we are mainly focusing on how to mill glaze sanded off. By doing light sanding above the wooden surface, we are able to remove the mill glaze and fuzzy residue both at once.

This should be done gently. It is very much important because if you do the sanding with overpressure, it can directly damage to the wood occur scratches and there’ll be no use of wood at all.

Light sanding will brighten and clean the wood and allow for the opening of pores in the wood as well.

Opening of wood’s pores is pretty much useful because it will allow and support the absorption and penetration of oil-based finish. This will protect the wood from algae, mildew, and mold attacks.

After the sanding is done, make sure to use a blower or vacuum to remove all the sawdust and fuzzy residue from the surface.

Because even a small quantity of sawdust can cause a lot of problems, especially when staining. Sawdust left on the surface will prevent the stain from absorbing to the wood and cause an uneven finish.

This causes decreasing the durability and the performance of the final output product.

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding wood desk to remove mill gaze

Test your Wood for Mill Glaze

The presence of mill glaze can determine yourself by a simple water test.

First, wet the wooden surface with water drops or by garden hose and observe the water on top of the wooden surface.

Mill glaze is a thin glossy film above the wooden surface. So, if the water drops you applied beads up instead of spreading out or absorbing to the wooden surface, mostly there is a mill glaze film on your wood.

 Simply you just have to check whether the wood is preventing the water from absorbing or not. If the water is penetrating inside of the wood, basically there is no mill glaze and you’re good to go.

If it’s not penetrating inside, a light sanding is recommended.

I highly recommend you following this simple test once every 2-3 months to keep your wood in good condition for future woodworking projects.

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding wooden desk

Select Proper Sandpaper to Eliminate Mill Glaze

Selecting suitable sandpaper is a challenging and the most important task when it comes to mill glaze. If you mistakenly select the wrong grit size, the whole wood can turn into a sponge with no use.

According to my experience, anything finer than 80 grit is perfect to eliminate mill glaze. Mostly for my wood, I generally use 80 grit sandpaper to remove the mill glaze.

80 grit is fine for good penetration. It will break through the mill glaze of wood.

Make sure to sand with the grain to leave zero sanding marks on the wooden surface.

Given below the grit sizes of sandpapers with their most suitable application. Hope it’ll give an idea of how things work, and help you to select the perfect grit size for mill glaze.

Sandpaper GritsApplication
Extra Course 20-30Fast removal, Roughing up the surface
Course 40-50Fast removal of rough material
Medium 80-120Remove stain, Remove Mill glaze, prepare for finishing
Fine 150-180The final step before finishing
Very fine 220-240Sanding between coats of stain
Extra fine 280-320Touch-ups
Superfine 360-600Remove small marks

As you can see higher the grit number, the smaller the grains, and also, the finer the sandpaper grit.

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding wood to remove mill gaze

Sanding to Eliminate Mill Glaze

First of all, you need to be equipped with the following before starting the sanding.

  1. For fast stock removal – sanding belt
  2. To sand contoured surface – flexible sanding
  3. To smooth the surface – sanding disk
  4. For hand sanding – sandpaper sheet (80 grit)

Secondly, you need to prepare the workspace for sanding to eliminate mill glaze.

Because if there is any glue residue on the wooden surface it’ll stop the stain from penetrating the wood surface.

Also, make sure to clean the whole wooden surface, with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. This is important to sand uniformly throughout the surface.

When you do the sanding, make sure to sand parallelly with the wood grain to avoid making scratches. Sanding should be done very lightly because mill glaze will be easily removed with a slight touch of 80 grit sandpaper.

Applying excessive pressure can damage and can make scratches as well. You can repeat the sanding until you feel satisfied with its appeal. After this process is done, you should get a smooth bright surface with no mill glaze.

Once you have done the sanding, clean the whole wood with a microfiber cloth until there is no sawdust left on the surface. Because any leftovers can make uneven finish or paint in the end.

Now I hope you have a better understating from A to Z, how to sand any wood to eliminate the mill glaze and to sand with even color.

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding wood surface

Let’s have a look at the wood types we commonly use, to get an idea of the removal of mill glaze from them.

How Do You Remove Mill Glaze From Pressure Treated Wood?

 Apart from cleaning and sanding the pressure-treated wood to remove mill glaze, we can use wood deck cleaner with light pressure washing.

Here before the light pressure washing, I recommend you scrub the wood with a stiff brush to clean the surface. After the scrubbing is done you can use light pressure washing which will easily remove the mill glaze.

I have to say this method is so much easier to remove mill glaze compared to the sandpaper method. Also, it is good for health due to no sawdust is release throughout the process.

After the light pressure washing the wood is kept drying out.

But there are some occasions I have noticed even after the wood is dried out completely, some number of fuzzy residues can remain on the surface. If you experienced this, a light sanding is recommended to remove fuzz.

I think this happens due to mistakes done in light pressure washing.

Above the same method can be applied to cedarwood and pinewood as well.

Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze
Sanding to remove mill gaze


As we discussed above the best way to remove mill glaze is light sanding with 80-grit sandpaper.

When it comes to mill glaze, nothing beats sanding to eliminate it.

Hope you learned everything you wanted to know about, Does sanding remove mill glaze?

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Does Pressure Washing Remove Mill Glaze?

Yes, pressure washing removes mill gaze. Use a wood cleaner with a pressure washer to remove mill gaze and other residues from the wood surface.

First, scrub the wood surface with a bristle brush and then apply a wood stripper over the surface. then pressure washes it to remove the mill gaze completely from the wood.

Finally, add a brightener to give a fresh look to the wood surface.

Does TSP Remove Mill Glaze?

Yes. TSP removes mill gaze. First, mix one part of TSP with 3 parts of water and add it to your garden-style pump sprayer.

then spray the wooden surface until mill gaze takes off from the surface and then let it soak for 20 minutes.

Then pressure washes the surface to remove TSP completely from the wood. Then let it dry. This way you can remove mill gaze while giving an enhanced look to the wood.

How Do You Remove Mill Marks From Lumber?

To remove mill marks from lumber sand the entire surface with 80 grit or coarse sandpaper until the marks are gone.

Then, light sand with finer grit sandpaper and wipe down the surface to remove sawdust and other residues.

Did I Cover all you wanted to know about Does Sanding Remove Mill Glaze?

When it comes to woodworking, mill glaze is a common problem for most beginners, because it is a very special circumstance associated with milling like new cedar, and pine cupboards.

Sanding removes mill gaze. I simply recommend you do a simple water drop test as I discussed above to determine whether your wood is affected by mill glaze or not.

If the water doesn’t absorb to the wooden surface, simply do light sanding which will solve the problem quickly. No need to waste your money on different chemicals available on market.

Here I have discussed how does sanding remove mill glaze, what grit size you should use for the task, how to do mill glaze test, and how to remove mill glaze from common wood types pine and new cedar.

Hope this article helps you to get a better understanding of how to remove mill glaze properly using sandpaper without any issue.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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