Woodworking Tool Tips: Sanders

There is one thing that will take a wood working project from completed to finely finished and that is sanding. Most people do not like the arduous task of sanding their completed wood working project; however it is a necessary step if you want to create a quality, professional looking project.

People who do not completely sand their projects will find rough spots where the varnish does not adhere nicely, and it will be a constant reminder that they rushed through this crucial step.

The good news is that you do not have to perform all of the sanding by hand. There is a wide variety of sanders available to help you complete this step.

The belt sander is a useful for tool for large pieces of wood and it is generally used to smooth rougher pieces and bring wood to the proper shape. It is important to remember that the belt sander is an intermediate step in the sanding process and is by no means the end of the journey.

A belt sander will not provide you with the smooth finish that you are seeking for a finished project so it is important to finish it up with an orbital or palm sander.

To provide you with the smooth finish that you are looking for in a wood working project, you will want to utilize a finishing block or a random orbital sander. These sanders are able to bring wood down to the smoothness that you require.

A random orbital sander is generally better for larger areas and you may require a finishing sander for tighter spots. If you can only choose one sander for your shop, it would be best to go for the smaller machine. It may take a little longer to complete the sanding, but you will be happy with the results.

If you have a project that has a lot of tight crevices and angles you may want to invest in a profile sander which is a relatively new machine. This sander comes with different profiles or bits that you attach to reach in the areas that you need to. For example, if you have an angle, you can attach an angle profile to provide an effective sanding job in the groove.

When you are using a sander you should start with relatively coarse sandpaper and work your way down to a finer grit. Be careful not to jump from a coarse to a fine grit without stepping down gradually however as you will be left with swirls in your wood that you cannot remove.