Sanding means polishing or smoothing any relatively rough wooden surface with sandpaper. You can sand it down either manually or mechanically to give the surface a more delicate feel and look. Depending on the roughness of the target spot, you can select a finer or abrasive grit.
However, sanding any surface is not as simple as it looks, given the size, shape, and orientation of the object to polish. But if and when done with practical and tested tips, sanding may give a fun feel rather than leaving you fatigued soon.
The success and fun of sanding depend primarily on various factors that include the right sander, the right grit, and the application of several useful sanding tips. Anything that can help sand any object in a smarter way and keep the harmful by-products or side effects to the minimum is sought-after advice.
Surprisingly enough, it may come from a veteran professional, a weekend DIY warrior, or even a novice individual. Here, we have jotted down some 15 top sanding tips that will keep sanding fatigue far away and double the sanding fun.
1. Cost-effective Sandpaper Cleaner
After prolonged use, the sandpaper may lose its abrasion, and you may not encounter the rapid effect anymore. To go by tradition, the solution in this regard is to opt for newer sandpaper. But what if the sandpaper gets dust built up or dirty? The proper cleaning of the abrasive surface of the sandpaper will provide you with near-original efficiency. The soles of your old sneakers will prove to be the most effective cleaner in this regard.
Switch on your electric sander along with the magnetic dust collector and put the rubber sole of your old sneaker pressing against the spinning sander. You will encounter the expected result sooner. Not to repeat, you will find the cleaned sandpaper acting with the original effect.
2. Cut Sandpapers Small
Objects that require sanding vary in shape and size and so you can do away with small pieces of sandpaper while polishing a tiny surface. You even can sand away the bigger projects with small sandpaper pieces. Therefore, it is efficient to cut the sandpaper into small pieces as per the objects to sand. In this connection, three tools will prove pretty efficient to accomplish the said task. They include a table saw, a thin-kerf blade, and a utility knife.
With the table saw, cut 1/8-inch deep grooves on a thick wood sheet/piece and clean the grooves of the cut left-over with the thin-kerf blade. Now, add a stop block by one side of the wood piece. Now, you can cut the sandpaper after your chosen shape and size using a sharp utility knife. Put the grit side down while cutting the hard sheet.
3. Versatile Use Of The Sander
You can sharpen your tools with the help of a belt sander. Tools that have grown rust and gone blunt out of prolonged use or overuse, need sharpening badly. But you may not have a table grinder around you always. Despite the lack of a grinder, you can still do away with sharpening your tools with a belt sander. A belt sander equipped with a finer-grit sanding belt can even sharpen tools like a chisel.
4. Collect Sanding Dust
While sanding may make your furniture or any object polished and smooth that catches any eye at sight. And the task of sanding is not that tiring if you go by expert tips. But it produces a disgusting hassle. It creates sawdust that enters your lung and makes your working space or garage extremely dirty. It requires you to clean the set-up off and on. But what about keeping your body immune to dust invasion?
One trick can save you time, labor, and health. That will require attaching a PVC pipe to the free end of the shop vac pipe. Now nail the PVC, a pot magnet, and the worktable together. Thus the sawdust will go into the pipe through the PVC. That type of dust collection is crucial when sanding with a drum sander.
5. Hose Sander For Contours
You cannot sand a curvy contour with any regular sander. In fact, some surfaces or spots will refuse any power sander to fit on them properly. Now if any of your woodworking projects feature a crucial spot like a contour, you better handle the polishing with a self-made hose sander.
Find a discarded radiator hose that is straight and cut this into pieces with a hacksaw. Clean it well so that the sandpaper gets stuck around it properly. Now spray adhesive on the outer surface of the hose and on the backside of the sandpaper.
Now, roll the hose with a sandpaper sheet. This custom sander will prove pretty efficient for coarser and lighter-touch sanding.
6. Strip-Cut Sandpaper
If you run a carpentry shop, you have to deal with fancy designs made with partial cut and digging. That type of design includes tight spaces and crevices where you cannot put a regular sander. Only a strip of sandpaper serves your purpose more effectively than any sander.
For this, cut along a narrow strip from the original strip and attach duct tape to the opposite side. The duct tape addition will give it the strength to withstand the pressure while sanding and will not tear or break. To custom cut, the required strip, use a fresh or sharpened utility knife and a straightedge.
7. Label The Sponge Grit
If you have a lot of sanding sponges at your disposal, you should label the grits mentioning their individual grit number. Otherwise, you will face confusion and waste time when you need one. The packages bear the label but you can still make a mess by entering a certain sponge into another packet.
8. Folded Sandpaper
You can have the most effective sander with folded sandpaper. If you fold a quarter sheet of sandpaper, this will serve as the best sander with a combination of your hand. And it is not a big deal to make one.
Just spray adhesive over the backside of a quarter sheet of sandpaper and fold it after a while. They work just magic with sculpted and molded surfaces. The double-thick paper allows you to press hard and it will never break or tear easily.
9. Wooden Custom Sanding-Bow
Another effective custom sander is a wooden bow with a strip of belt-sander belt screwed up. That type of belt comes backed by clothing and so will not tear easily. These are very effective to deal with irregular shapes and sizes of furniture pieces. The lathe-turned projects, furniture parts, and contours find this wooden bow sander extremely efficient.
You can increase or reduce the tension of the bowstring (sanding belt) as per your need. The finer grits will improve the shine while the coarser grits will remove wood.
10. Pencil-Mark To Avoid Over Sanding
You should be very much careful while applying a power sander over plywood edge banding. You should go slow and ensure ultra-light pressure to avoid the wastage of expensive plywood. You better mark along with the glue joint with a pencil that will help you keep track of where and how the spot is being sanded.
This will save you time and money as gluing and fitting plywood pieces are a matter of hours.
11. Homemade Tight Space Sander
Louvered doors, shutters, and lots of other items feature tight spaces and crevices that will not allow regular sander to enter there. Only oscillating tools padded with sandpaper can serve the purpose here. But Sanders doesn’t come with the said tools to deal with minute detail. Moreover, those tools are pretty expensive to buy.
But amazingly enough, there is a cheaper way out. You can turn a blunt or dull blade into an efficient detail sander. Just spray adhesive over the backside of sandpaper to glue on and bite the metal. When the abrasion decreases, replace the dull one with a fresh one.
12. Scratch-Proof Flashing Shield
If you sand a larger project having raised sides, your orbit or rapid sander can cause scratch beyond any polish. To be clearer, when you are sanding the corners with upright wooden sides; the rapid movement of the metal body of the tool may collide with the raised surface leaving scratches across. The best and only effective way to avoid that hassle is to use something as a scratch-proof shield.
A sheet of metal piece or a plastic laminate put between the sander and raised surface will act as the real shield.
Therefore, if you don’t want to leave a surface dinged up while polishing the adjacent one; put a bar in between. Thus you can sand as relaxing as possible.
13. Double-Duty Drums
When you are sanding with a drum sander, you are just using one end of the drum. If you flip the drum over, the other end will be in action. Thus the middle part will remain unused while the ends will go useless at one point.
There is a way out.
Cut the sanding drum into smaller drums and use the smaller ones. Thus you can extend the sanding life of the component.
14. Scratch-Shield Carpet Cushion
Most wooden projects require both sides of a wood piece to be sanded. It entails additional alertness. To be precise, never flip the polished side of the workpiece over the dinged-up or coarse tabletop you work on. But what is the salvation in this connection?
The smarter way is to put a carpet scrap over the working platform and rest the polished part on it and start sanding the remaining coarse part to bring smoothness.
15. Old Is Gold – Hand-Sanding
The concluding part of sanding is hand-sanding. You can’t apply finish just after power-sanding your project. To achieve the smooth or polished level of a wooden surface, you must give the final hand-sanding touch. That is why and where a hand-made sander looms incredibly effective that is made of a wooden block and custom-cut mouse pad attached with finer sandpaper on it.
Apply a bit of photo-mount spray adhesive on the back of the extra-fine sandpaper to make the biting stronger between the pad and the paper.
These are the smartest and most cost-effective sanding tips to apply on any wood piece. If surf across the net ransacking blogs and sites, you may find huge numbers of sanding tips. But all of them are not cost-effective. While researching, we have come across all but limited only to tips that are cost-free or minimal cost while in writing.
Anybody from a pro-carpenter to DIYers and individuals finds those easily applicable to get their purpose mostly served.
So, Have Fun Sanding for Free.
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