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 In Finishing

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Sanding blocks. This solid cork sanding block from Denmark (left) was the model for my own wood and cork block (right).

Efficient, cheap and simple to make.

This magazine puts a lot of emphasis on hand tools – that is, tools without motors. Common subjects include handplanes, chisels, scrapers etc. But when it comes to sanding, it seems that most people use random-orbit sanders. These have motors! Why not sand by hand, also?

I love sanding by hand. Sure, I own pad, belt and random-orbit sanders, but I rarely use them. On large projects, I’ll sometimes spend 10 or 15 minutes with a random-orbit sander to get a rest and relieve the boredom. But that’s it. I’m quickly back to hand-sanding because I find it faster. It’s also more efficient because I never get “squigglies,” which are so prevalent with random-orbit sanders. I also enjoy the aerobic exercise.

The biggest downside of hand-sanding is working up a sweat and dripping on the wood. Drips can cause darker spotting under a stain or finish if the sweat-induced raised grain isn’t totally sanded out.

Alternatives

When hand-sanding a flat surface, you should always back your sandpaper with a flat block.


 

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