Pre carve wood prep help

I’m using reclaimed / used / treated wood to practice on and am noticing a lot of fluffy edges, tear out and generally poor finishes.

Tried planing first which improves it a bit, tried Sanding as well same result.

Is it just the life of the wood is different due to the use it’s had impacting its fibres and therefore it’s carve ability or is there something I could try?

It’s most likely very soft and full of moisture

Have had success using Shellac Seal Coat or Lacquer Sanding sealer prior to carving softwoods. They penetrate top fibers and reduce fuzzy’s and tear out. Thinning (10-20%) also helps penetration. Shellac is my favorite as any top finish can be used. Something to try.

I thought that could be the case even though it appears dried out.

I’ll give it a shot. I have a ready supply of wood to use so if I can find a way of making it work then it would be ideal.

As Jeff mentions above, a sanding sealer can help (I use liquid shellac diluted with methylated spirits - 1 part shellac, 10 parts metho).

Another good tip is to get some downcut spiral bits. They’ll tend to produce nicer edges to your cuts.