Tools - Sanding Tools - Sanding

Most Common Mistakes

  1. Allowing a power sander to dig into wood being finished. To avoid this, the sanding machine should always be moving over the wood.
  2. Putting the belt on a belt sander backward. This tears the seams.
  3. Using an inappropriate grit of sandpaper for the desired effect.

Finishing is usually the last step in building a project. The finishing tools are designed to smooth something to its desired finished state.

Sanding Block Sanding block or block sander. This is wrapped with the appropriate sandpaper and hand rubbed across the surface.

Sanding cloth. This is essential for curved or round objects. It's easier on you and gives a much more even finish.

Orbital Sander Power orbital sander. This power tool is found in most workshops. Sometimes called a pad sander, it is the ideal all-around sanding tool. Use it for rough or finish work on walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, or other woodwork.

Belt sander. The belt sander is designed for quickly sanding rough work on large areas, or wherever heavy-duty sanding is needed.

Disk sander. The disk sander is useful for fast removal of wood on uneven surfaces. Disk sanding attachments can be purchased as a drill accessory.

Belt Sander Sandpapers. Sandpapers run from very coarse (20 to 40 grits per inch) all the way up to the very fine (600 grits per inch). The materials used in sandpaper range from flint and garnet emory to aluminum oxide and silicon carbide.

Flint is best for hand sanding painted or pitchy surfaces which can clog the paper.

Garnet emory is for hand sanding clean wood.

Aluminum oxide is fast and longer lasting when power sanding wood. It can also be used on plastics and fiberglass and for polishing stainless steel, high carbon steel or bronze.

Silicon carbide is harder than aluminum oxide and is best used for hard plastics, glass and ceramics, or grinding and finishing brass, copper and aluminum.

Emory cloth. This is another option for metal polishing.

Steel wool. Steel wool is available in #3 coarse to #0000, which is very fine. For a glassy finish, use pumice or rottenstone (decomposed limestone).

Generally, you will want to start with a coarse paper and work to a fine paper for the smoothest finish. Whenever possible, sand with the grain.

Tips on Sanding

  1. When using a power sander, do not press down on the machine. Let its own weight do the sanding. Pressing down inhibits the natural action of the machine.
  2. Whenever operating any power sander, engage and disengage the machine from the material being sanded while the belt or disk is still in motion to avoid gouging the wood.
  3. Wrap a padding material around a stick or dowel, then wrap sandpaper over it to use on inward curves.
  4. When sanding wood, seal any heating and air-conditioning ducts and electrical outlets with plastic sheets and/or duct tape. Wood dust can ignite.

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