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 In Tricks of the Trade

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In my work as a luthier, I sand a lot of curved surfaces. I’ve found that I can make perfect sandpaper backing pads from “kneeling cushions” sold for garden work. Available at home-supply stores or on Amazon for a few bucks, these 1″ x 7″ x 16″ foam cushions can be cut up to make any size sanding pad you want, and you can get a lot of them from one cushion. One of the best things about this stuff is that it can easily be bent in use to suit all kinds of contours, including curved edges and mouldings. Or, if you want to keep a pad flat, simply hold or epoxy a flat backer on top of the piece as you work. The foam also resists water and mineral spirits, so it’s great for wet-sanding finished surfaces. — Bil Mitchell

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