my Old Workshop

Sanding secrets from the pros 2

Last time we looked at a few of those amazing sanding tips those workshop guys seem to have so much time to come up with. But, actually, some of them are pretty neat. Here are a few more.

To make sure you’re sanding the entire surface of a piece, draw a bunch of squiggles over the surface with a soft pencil. This way, you’ll know if you’ve missed any spots. You can also mark “high” areas on a piece with a pencil, and direct your attentions to that area till it’s level.

Another tip to keep things “on the level”. Just as you do when you’re sanding a seam in drywall, place a light close to the surface of the piece and shine it across it at a low angle. It will quickly pick out any high spots, low spots or rough spots you need to pay attention to.

To keep a piece from moving while you sand it, you can clamp it to your bench, but often you won’t need to. Use non-slip shelf padding or a “macrame-style” underpad instead. Just place it on the bench, put your piece on top, and sand away.

While it’s work to change paper, and you might be tempted to leave it on the block a little longer, it’s much more efficient in the long run to change it often. As the paper gets worn, the particles become dull and begin to polish the wood, which is not only slow — it actually makes it harder to sand with the new sheet.