When is the best time to sand your woodworking project? Should I wait until the end? Should I sand several times in the middle?
This kind of depends on what you are building, but in the majority of cases the best time to sand your project is right before you apply your finish.
When you’re in the process of building, and you are still adding pieces, and working with your project, the potential for damage and scratches is pretty high.
What you don’t want to have occur is you spend an hour sanding something, and then you proceed to the next step or you have to attach it to another piece, and you end up creating dings or dents that need to be sanded again.
If you do this every time, you could end up sanding the same surface several times because it becomes damaged or scratched due to your building process.
Instead of doing that, build your entire project and then sand it at the end. This way, you’ll only sand once, and it will be a lot easier.
The only exception to this rule that I can think of immediately is tight corners and hard to reach places. It’s better to sand these before you put your project together because a lot of times it’s easier to do it before the pieces are assembled.
Sanding is a chore, but it’s definitely part of woodworking that is really important. Lots of people skip this step, or only do it with a halfhearted effort.
In reality, the sanding phase is where you prepare for a finish, and it’s in this last leg of the race that you determine how well the project will look.
Instead of dooming your project to a lifetime of looking average or poor because of scratches and dings that you didn’t stand out, take the time to sand it nicely, and you’ll be happy that you did.
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