The first step in preparing the counter tops was “production sanding” them. A production sander is something I learned about over at the Hobby Shop at MIT. It’s a cross between a sander and a planer. Basically it can take rough wood and make it smooth and create two parallel surfaces. This is a great machine for anything with “figure,” or in the case of the oak, just too large for the planer I could access. I used a place out in Waltham called Custom Doors, and the bill was reasonable, around $60 I think.
Next step was to apply wood filler (basically epoxy) to the holes in the wood. Unlike many I love the look of knots and other “imperfections” in wood. However, you don’t want these features to allow moisture into the wood or it will warp and crack. So we used epoxy to fill the holes out. It took a few applications (coat, sand, repeat), but looks ready for final sanding and finish now.