Sanding is for the Birds

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Blog entry by Chefdavid posted 08-08-2010 05:10 AM 1877 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am new to LJ but not new to woodworking. I have been building and collecting the tools of the trade for about 7 years. I enjoy designing, than building, and finishing. The one thing that I truly do not enjoy doing is sanding. I have a palm sander, orbital sander, belt sander, oscillating edge/belt/spindle sander, and a hand sander. With all that cool equipment and my search to make it more enjoyable I have just ended up with more toys and dust. I am currently working on a loft bed for my daughter. It is the largest project to date, and the bigger the project the more sanding is needed. I guess least it keeps me out trouble with my wife!! Does anyone else think this way? If anyone has any tips or ideas please feel free to share.

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10 comments so far

View Don's profile


517 posts in 4156 days

#1 posted 08-08-2010 05:17 AM

When I was young and woodworking for a living I hated sanding becasue it was time consuming and monotonous. Now that I’m no longer dependant on my woodworking to pay the bills, I actually enjoy sanding. I find it very relaxing since it’s the one part of woodworking where it’s really hard for me to make a mistake and screw my project up.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4116 days

#2 posted 08-08-2010 05:34 AM

There are a number of other Blogs on here identical to this “Complaint” if you want to Search for them.

Personally, I enjoy all aspects of a project. The Quality of whatever type of Finish you apply will be dependent on the “Sanding or Finishing” that lies beneath it.

I find that a LOT of Hand Sanding that I used to do can now be done with my ROS and QUALITY Discs, then a quick, light Corner and Edge sanding by hand.

If you’re reffering to ALL Sanding INCLUDING everything you can do with a Machine, which appears to be the case, then I have no suggestions to offer. Perhaps it’s a “Mindset” thing?

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 4153 days

#3 posted 08-08-2010 05:38 AM

I did not like it much, until I bought my festool ro150 aggressive and gentle and no dust, and the disc last forever I know you don’t want a new sander, just saying I hated now I like and I didn’t get old in between (-:

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 4122 days

#4 posted 08-08-2010 06:01 AM

Sanding should be a last resort. Learn to use a card scraper and a smoothing plane and you should have little or no sanding to do. Your projects will not have the scraches that is the very nature of sanding.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4142 days

#5 posted 08-08-2010 06:14 AM

I don’t care for sanding much either. Mostly because of the dust. Anyway, I enjoy using a card scraper. I also have a Stanley #80 Cabinet scraper tool, which is essentially a tool for holding a card scraper. This really makes it easy to put a good surface on the wood. However, with card scrapers, you have to learn to sharpen them. It is not difficult, but it does take a little practice to get the knack of it.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4391 days

#6 posted 08-08-2010 06:47 AM

If sanding is for the birds them I must have some Eagle blood in me.

At one time I did not like to sand and thought of it as a dreaded task to get done. When a person makes flat surfaced projects…sanding can easily be accomplished with power sanders…I know because I have many…3 random orbit sanders, a belt sander, a ridgid benchtop belt/spindle sander and a 22” jet drum sander.
Once I started making sculpted boxes the realization came that unless I do alot of sand sanding the finished product would look like a cross grain swirl monster. My belief is that anything I do should be completed with absolute focus and concentration of each and every detail…and when grinding to shape the boxes sanding becomes a very very important step of the process. I somehow was drawn to a point where I actually get involved in the hand sanding and find that I can spend hours sanding and lose track of time in the quietness of the process.
My fingers and wrists can ache after hours of sanding…but as the old saying goes “No Pain-No Gain”

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4965 days

#7 posted 08-08-2010 01:33 PM

As far as power sanding goes, the quality of the machines you use along with the quality of the sandpaper makes a huge difference. It didn’t seem that way to me until I upscaled. Dust extraction can make it a lot more enjoyable too. A drum sander is an awesome tool.

But it seems like attitude is the main culprit here. It is kind of weird that woodworking takes so many disciplines. Design, stock prep, cutting and fitting, glue-ups, sanding, and finishing (there are really a lot more). I guess some people don’t do each of these themselves. The trouble is that sanding is in the middle of the list and might be hard to sub-out.

Personally I enjoy sanding, if it is not a really large job.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4023 days

#8 posted 08-08-2010 09:31 PM

Ah, the Stanley no 80, beats any beltsander pants down! I’ve learned to enjoy the sanding I do on my sculpture work. Put on good music and let the mind go…
Otherwise you must go for the tooled finish, like on some of those Windsors or Krenov cabinets!!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Chefdavid's profile


255 posts in 3938 days

#9 posted 08-09-2010 03:07 AM

Thanks for sharing all you comments and ideas! This truly helps me and maybe one day I will enjoy sanding like many of you!

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View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 3914 days

#10 posted 09-20-2010 06:33 PM

Oh, I thought this complaint was about hand sanding with a wooden block and square sheets! You use tools to sand? So, that’s what all this noise is about…

-- GX

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