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22 Comments

  1. BDWW
    May 20, 2016 @ 12:57 pm

    I’m a little leary of your statement that sanders are fairly safe. They are to a degree, but belt sanders especially require some respect. I’ve seen people grind fingertips to the bone on a belt sander. And similar to a lathe, never wear loose clothing around a belt sander, as it can get caught and drag you in.

    Reply

  2. Kathy
    May 20, 2016 @ 2:22 pm

    Must be a little strange but I don’t mind sanding. I use a lot of reclaimed lumber (I’m a bit of a dumpster diver) and I like watching a REALLY dirty board turn into something almost like new. I do spend a fair amount of time removing screws and nails but I can provide a bit of labor for free wood. I do hate the dust though. I do not at this time have an adequate dust collection system. That is on my bucket list.

    Reply

    • Kathy
      May 20, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

      I forgot to mention that I love the hexagon wall shelves. I might need to try that one.

      Reply

  3. Maarten
    May 20, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

    And Always be aware of beltsanders running wild!! 🙂

    Reply

    • Wolf Lahti
      May 20, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

      Aye – they are difficult beasties to tame.

      Reply

  4. Wolf Lahti
    May 20, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

    The grits I use:
    60, 120 or 150, 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000

    Granted, I generally sand bare wood to 320 (I find 220 a bit coarse), and 400 and higher are for leveling finish coats – and, of course, sharpening. A chisel or plane blade polished to 2000 grit is a wonder, though I now there are those to go to 120,000 and beyond.

    Reply

  5. Doug K
    May 20, 2016 @ 6:37 pm

    I use 60, 80, and 120 for most bare wood, and 400 and/or steel wool for finishing. There are exceptions.

    Now, the tools used depends on the workpiece. If have deep gouges in a small piece, I’m probably just going to run it through the planer — that much sanding is going to change your thickness anyway, and if you don’t sand the entire board evenly, you’ll end up with a wavy surface.

    The belt sander however is a very useful tool in my woodshop. I use it often on large panel glue-ups or table tops. Even with biscuit alignment seams often don’t perfectly align and a few passes with a plane, and then smooth out the plane marks with the belt sander, and then a quick pass with 60 grit on the orbital to remove belt scratches, then 80, 120 and finish.

    The other caveat to this is the type of wood you are using. If you generally work with pine, cedar, fir, or other soft woods, I would NEVER use a belt sander. You can remove a lot of material fast with 60 or 80 grit paper in soft wood.

    However, if you are working with hard woods like walnut, ash or hard maple, you will burn up your whole vacation trying to sand out gouges and ridges on a 24 x 48 panel with 80 grit paper on an orbital sander. Don’t be afraid of using your belt sander on hardwoods. Like all tools, you just have to know how to use it.

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  6. Russ
    May 22, 2016 @ 6:00 am

    AND buy the more expensive papers. Cheap ones clog up quickly and die quickly. Better paper is less aggravating.

    Reply

  7. kon_jelly
    May 25, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

    This was fantastic for someone like me that is just starting out. Any chance you want to do something similar for the basics of staining?

    Reply

  8. carlos encarnacion
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:33 pm

    greetings from Puerto Rico. God bless you
    i want to know how tough two pieces of wood glued stays with carpenter’s glue

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  9. Stephen Johnson
    June 12, 2016 @ 7:17 am

    Great article! Now you have me rethinking whether or not I need to use the higher grits on some projects. What you say makes sense. On my pen turning projects, I sometimes use exotic woods and some –Padauk for example –are very open grain. So after sanding, I’ll take my air compressor and blow out the dust before finishing. Or I’ll sometimes use denatured alcohol to wipe off dust and let it evaporate fully. I will use either a CA finish or friction polish on my pens.

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  10. Morton Turner
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    This is amazing article for someone like me, I’m glad that I found your article. Thanks a lot for sharing such a innovative post with us.

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  11. Deb Pearl
    January 12, 2018 @ 8:11 am

    Thank you for all the sanding tips. I have this small wooden project that I would like to do, but I don’t know a lot about how to sand things. I’m glad you mentioned that an 80 grit sandpaper is used for shaping and carving the wood, and can round edges. That will be really helpful for my project!

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