This is How to Make a Sandpaper Stick. In this step by step tutorial, you will learn everything you need to make a set of sanding sticks. These are super useful to have in the shop, and you’ll be glad you made them. Enjoy.
What Good is a Sandpaper Stick?
A sandpaper stick is a very useful tool to have, and thankfully it’s also a very easy tool to build in your shop. Don’t waste any money buying these, just do it yourself. After all, At the most basic level, it’s just a piece of sand paper stuck to a piece of wood.
We’re not here to do things at the basic level however, so this tutorial will show you how to make a sandpaper stick with one secret ingredient that makes them nearly last forever. It’s not expensive, and you might even already have one in your shop.
The beauty of sanding sticks that they provide a rigid backing for your sandpaper, which helps you remove material with more precision. It also helps you remove material more aggressively, which means less time spent sanding.
You can make a few of these very easily, and from a few different grits. You can have course, medium, and fine sandpaper sticks right on your bench ready to use at all times. I promise, once you have them, you’ll find 1000 uses for them.
Some of these uses include:
- Sanding two surfaces until they are flush quickly.
- Bringing an inlay level to a project.
- Sanding in corners and hard to reach places.
- Breaking sharp edges and pointy corners before finishing.
- Flattening smaller projects.
- Much more efficient sending any time you use them.
See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood
Finding the Sandpaper
Instead of making you wait too long, I’ll open up with the secret to making sanding sticks that last very long time. The problem with most sanding sticks is that they use sandpaper. This is actually not the best choice for making a tool.
Even the best sandpaper doesn’t last very long. If you want to get longevity out of your sanding sticks, then you need to buy a replacement belt for a belt sander. These come in a lot of different grits, and they are not expensive.
If you have one in your shop already, go ahead and use it. If not, then before you start this process I recommend buying your sanding belt. Don’t waste any time making these out of sandpaper, because they will not last long, and you’ll be disappointed.
I recommend that you purchase the following grits. 80 grit, 100 grit, 220 grit. These are going to be the most common grit levels, and they will serve you in a wide range of sanding needs. You can use the 80 for rough stuff and then all the way down to the 220 for fine work.
If you can only do one, then get the 80 or 100. These are going to be a little more aggressive, and they will help you for more things than the finer grit.
See Also: 12 Awesome Uses for 80 Grit Sandpaper
Making the Sticks
Once you have your sandpaper belt, now it’s time to make the sticks. You can call them stiks or blocks or anything else, but it’s just a piece of wood that is a certain size. Depending on what kind of projects you make, the sizes can range wildly.
For most people, a set of sticks that are about 2 inches wide and 8 inches long are pretty useful. You can also make some smaller squares that are maybe 2 inches x 2 inches and even a rectangle that’s 2 inches x 4 inches .
If you do smaller work, and you need smaller sizes, then cut some blocks that are perfect for the type of woodworking that you do. Also, if you need something really big, like a 4 inch x 12 inch block, then go ahead make that too.
This is the part where you get to customize the tool to your specific needs. If you have no idea what you need, then I recommend making a small assortment. Make a couple smaller squares and rectangles, and then a couple longer rectangles.
After you cut your pieces, sand the edges on at least one surface so that way they look nice, and they are easy to hold. The final surface that will attach the sand paper needs to be flat, but it doesn’t need to be pretty.
See Also: 7 Helpful Wood Sanding Machines
Putting them Together
Once you have all of your sticks cut and created, now you need to add sandpaper to at least one surface. This would be the surface that you sanded flat in the previous step, and all you have to do is cut a piece of sanding belt to match.
This is pretty easy to do with the set of heavy duty scissors, or a razor blade knife. Work from the back side of the sandpaper belt so that way you don’t ruin your blade. This will dull scissors, so make sure they’re heavy duty and that you don’t care a lot about them.
Cut a piece of sandpaper belt for every one of your blocks, because you can glue them all up at once which saves a lot of time. Once you have all of your pieces ready, organize them next to the blocks before you proceed to the next step.
Depending on what type of backer your sanding belt has, you might be able to use wood glue to secure them to your sticks. Most sandpaper that has a cloth backing without any type of coating will work this way.
However, if you don’t know, or you just want to be sure, then use two part epoxy. All you have to do is buy some five-minute epoxy, mix it together according to the instructions, and spread a layer between the standing backer and the piece of belt.
Press the two of them together, and then place the block face down on a flat surface with a small weight on top. The weight will hold the two pieces together long enough for the epoxy to bond, and that’s really all you need.
You can also stack of several blocks at a time and then put one or two weights on top of the entire pile. This will allow you to glue up multiple sanding blocks at once, and possibly even all of them at the same time.
Allow the sandpaper sticks to dry completely or cure completely according to the directions from the manufacturer. This is important, because you are going to put a lot of stress on your sanding sticks when you put them to use.
It’s much better to allow the project to fully cure, and then use it. Besides, any time that you might save will be eliminated if the sanding belt comes off of the wooden block.
See Also: Heirloom Sanding Block Tutorial
Final Trimming of Your Sanding Stick
After your glue has completely cured, now all you need to do is a little final trim work. This is to make the block look more professional, and even if it’s just for you it will make you appreciate the tool even more.
First, trim the edges of the sanding belt so that they are flush to the edges of the block. You do not want to see any overhang, or any spots that are not covered. Take your time, and use a razor blade knife for this process.
After that, sand the exposed surfaces of the sandpaper stick in order to remove any scratches or defects. Again, making yourself a tool doesn’t mean that it has to look bad. You deserve a nice looking tool, especially when you take pride when you make it yourself.
Finally, apply an oil finish to the exposed surfaces. Do not coat the sandpaper belt, but it’s OK if you get a little on the edges. Use a simple oil finish or w wipe on varnish, because these will leave a very natural look.
Allow your project to dry completely, which usually takes a few days for most finishes. After the cure, you can use these sanding sticks anywhere you like.
See Also: 14 Easy Tips for Using Wiping Varnish
How to Use Your Sandpaper Stick
Most of the time, sanding stick is held in one hand and used very similar to a sanding block. Some of the longer sticks can be laid out flat, and can sand a larger area. You can hold them, or lay them flat, it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that you get the sandpaper to do what you need it to do. Between pressure from your hand, and the stiff backing of the wooden block, this will be one of the most efficient sanding tools you’ve ever used.
It’s surprising a lot of times, that even people who are used to power tools can see the immediate results of a sanding stick. Take the time to use these in your shop, and you’ll be very happy with the type of results you get.
See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – Sanding Sticks
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know exactly what it takes to make sandpaper stick, head out and get yourself a sanding belt. Better yet, pick up all three grades that I mentioned earlier in the post, that way you have a full array at your fingertips.
Make several different shapes of your wooden blocks, and apply the sandpaper belt with the adhesive of your choice. Let them fully cure, and then prepare the surface refinishing. Apply the finish, and you will be left with a beautiful look.
These are addicting, and they are also easy to replace. They won’t wear out very fast, but when they do, all you need to do is toss it, and make another one. Besides, if you used epoxy and did it right, it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult to remove the sandpaper anyway.
So that’s it, and I hope you enjoyed the step-by-step tutorial on how to make sandpaper sticks the easy way. Enjoy the little trick about using a sanding belt too, because every time you see one with sandpaper on the surface you will know that there is a better way.
If you have any questions on making a sanding stick, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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