Woodworking Tip Of The Week

brian forbes westfarthing woodworks author biography about me experience

This edition of the woodworking tip of the week is all about sanding. Let’s face it, most woodworkers do not like sanding. Even on the lathe, where the machine does most of the work, sanding is still a chore. However, if you make a few changes to the way you approach sanding, it can go a lot faster and the results can be much better.

The Book Store is Now Open!   Happy Building!

woodworking tip of the weekThe number one thing I see when people are frustrated with sanding is that they are not using the right grit. When something comes off the belt sander, the scratches are deep. If you start with 220 at this point, it will take forever.

Look at the piece first, and make a decision on the severity of the scratches or tool marks. If there are deep scratches, or chisel marks, then start with a rougher grit. The extra sanding power will help grind through those rougher areas. It will take less time to get an even surface, and it will be far less frustrating.

When you transition to another grit, make sure the surface looks good. If you transition before all the rougher tool marks are removed, it’s too early. Get the surface to the point where the only scratches you can see are from the paper you are using, then switch.

woodworking tip of the weekAnother mistake I often see, (and have done myself) is not paying attention to the grain. Sanding with the grain does not make less scratches. What it does it make them less visible. Scratches across the grain can be seen from space, but the same scratches going with the grain are nearly invisible.

At first sand in any direction needed to remove the marks. Then, finish up by sanding with the grain to eliminate cross grain marks. If you do this small extra step, the piece will look better. Sanding in circles or at a 45 degree angle to the grain removes material much faster. In a situation where lots of wood needs to be removed, sanding like this helps reduce the time commitment. Finish by sanding with the grain, and the end look will be the same.

Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!

If you think about it, most people sand with a palm sander. Even if you move it with the grain, the pad is moving at hundreds or thousands of movements per second, and it’s going in every direction but straight. You can’t move it fast enough to overcome the random pattern it creates. If you sand by hand with the grain afterwards, the surface will look better, and you will remove any random swirl marks.

woodworking tip of the weekI’m about as cheap as they come when talking about conserving supplies, but change your sandpaper often. Once it loses the gritty feeling on the surface, it’s useless. Change it out, and the few seconds lost will be made up ten times by sanding with fresh paper.

I have fallen into this trap myself, and just kept going even though the sanding had lost the zip it had in the beginning. It only takes a few seconds to change the paper, and it’s worth it. If you buy your sandpaper the right way (which I explain here) you will save more than enough money to make up the difference.

End grain sanding can be especially time consuming. The real challenge with end grain is more mental than physical. Most times, people will give up on the end grain when it’s close enough to good for their taste. If they were to just keep going a little longer, the marks would eventually come out, and the piece would be perfect.

This woodworking tip of the week will save you time sanding. If it feels like you are sanding forever and getting nowhere, these tips can help.

This is probably my most common tip, and the focus of the woodworking tip of the week because sanding is a real chore sometimes. If you choose the right grit, work it in the right direction, and change your paper often, you will have great looking pieces in far less time.

The woodworking tip of the week comes out every Saturday, and in a previous edition I cover how to Make a Cork Faced Sanding Block. This will help as you try to craft smooth surfaces by hand.

Once you create a beautiful, smooth surface, you will need to finish it. My 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing explains how. This is for beginning wood finishers, is a free PDF document, and explains hand applied finishes. These products make an expert out of anyone, and are very easy to learn.

Do you have any woodworking tips to share? Let us know and we can all become better woodworkers. Happy building.

Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!

 

Post Author-

brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
  • 7 Published Books Available on Amazon
  • 750+ Helpful Posts Written
  • 1 Million+ Words Published
 

You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

woodworking and guitar making books
 

Filter:AllOpenResolvedClosedUnanswered
Forum Guidelines (Please Read)
ClosedWestfarthing Woodworks asked 4 months ago • 
466 views0 answers0 votes
How to Make a Kitchen Helper Learning Tower
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 1 week ago • 
63 views1 answers0 votes
Non Toxic Wood Glue Question
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 1 week ago • 
59 views1 answers0 votes
Exterior Wood Door Finish
AnsweredWillieOsgood answered 2021 years ago • 
130 views1 answers0 votes
Tea, Vinegar and Steel Wool
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 1 month ago • 
199 views1 answers0 votes
Wooden Whiskey “Glass” Buffing
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 1 month ago • 
150 views1 answers0 votes
What is a Board Foot?
OpenBrian asked 4 months ago • 
119 views0 answers0 votes
How do I Get Started in Woodworking?
OpenBrian asked 4 months ago • 
98 views0 answers0 votes
Where can I learn some basic hand tool woodworking techniques?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
273 views1 answers0 votes
Can I learn to use chisels on wood by myself?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
273 views1 answers0 votes
My First Mold
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 3 months ago • 
207 views1 answers0 votes
Ordering a Catalog?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 4 months ago • 
304 views1 answers0 votes
My Forstner Bit Seems to Wander
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 4 months ago • 
318 views1 answers0 votes
Where can I get the best woodworking tools?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
356 views1 answers0 votes
Where do you get woodworking wood?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
263 views1 answers0 votes
What does a Woodworker Do?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
190 views1 answers0 votes
Why is Wood Not the Size it Says On the label?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
188 views1 answers0 votes
How to make money woodworking?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
313 views1 answers0 votes
Briar wood order help needed. Desperately.
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 4 months ago • 
342 views1 answers0 votes
What did woodworkers use before sandpaper?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
412 views1 answers0 votes
What’s the best way to keep wood from warping?
AnsweredBrian answered 4 months ago • 
390 views1 answers0 votes

An Exclusive Member of Mediavine Home

Westfarthing Woodworks LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.