Sanding Block Class - Mason Dixon Woodworking Club

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Project by Karson posted 04-06-2009 05:56 AM 15400 views 72 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On Sat April 4, 2009 the Mason Dixon Woodworkers put on a sanding block class.

I first made these sanding blocks about 5 years ago. and they are posted here.

Click for details

We are always looking for some nice workshops for the woodworking club and I suggested these.

I brought all of the wood, nuts, washers, bolts, sandpaper and cork backing. They brought their enthusiasm.

I cut up some Sapele, South Americian Mahogany, Maple, and Walnut. Some of the blanks were not thick enough so I laminated some with spalted maple on top of Walnut or SA Mahogany on top of Maple etc.

Here are the dimensions and the order that we did the work.

1: Cut bottom block to proper width and length using 5/8” stock the size is 5/8 X 4 1/2×2 1/4
2: Sand one side of the edge stock and cut to 4 1/2” long. 2 sides for each bottom size 1/4 X 3/4 X 4 1/2
3: Cut the top stock to 4 1/4” size is 1 1/4 X 2 1/8 X 4 1/4. The thickness can be less than the 1 1/4” size if needed I wouldn’t have it less than 7/8 or so.
4: Glue the sides on the bottom. 4 1/2” sides together. We used glue and micro pins to hold it while the glue dried and we could keep working.
5: Mark the center of the top block and drill a 1/4” hole all the way through.
6: Using the top block as a guide center the top block between the edges and ends of the bottom block and drill 1/4” hole through bottom block.
7: Drill a 5/8” forstner hole in the bottom of the bottom block in alignment with the previous drilled 1/4” hole. The hole is about 3/8” deep
8: Put a 1/4 – 1” carriage bolt in the recessed hole and pound down until seated in hole.
9: Fill hole with and carriage bolt head with Automobile body putty (Bondo).
10: Drill 1 1/8” and 1 3/8” holes in top of top block centering over the previously drilled 1/4” hole. The 1 1/8” hole should leave 3/8” of wood thickness in the bottom. The 1 3/8” hold should be 1/8” higher up. This is a stepped shoulder for the washer and wing nut in the hole.
11: Rout center hole with 1/4” round over bit to ease shoulders. Hand held veneer trim router. Holding block in vise.
12: Rout 1/2” round over on four top edges of the top block. Start the rout on the end first.
13: Sand all edges, corners and smooth body putty to be level with the bottom of the bottom block.
14: Put the two blocks together with fender washer and 1/4” wing nuts.
15: Trim cut bottom to be flush with the top block using a chop saw
16: Do final sanding
17: Put PSA 1/16” cork on bottom of bottom block. Finish if desired.

If making multiple of these blocks at the same time number them so that the top and bottoms can be matched up when assembling. Because of the way the center hole is drilled they are a matched set.

The blocks that were made were usually a mismatched assembly. Maybe maple for the bottom block with Sapele sides and SA Mahogany for the top.

The eight blocks that I have shown were made for the class. Three of them were partially completed and shown at the club meeting to show everyone what we were going to do.

I made one to show everyone all of the steps before anyone else started. I then made a couple while it was slow during the class.

The day previous when we set up the workshop Pat made three of them in 15 minutes. The wood blocks had been previously ripped to size.

In the class we had: 4 drill presses all set with the correct depth and the wood block was centered on a 1/4” dowell on a base allignment block so all holes were drilled in the correct place. the drills were 1/4, 5/8 Forstner, 1 1/8 Forstner, 1 3/8 Forstner.
2 table saws set up for ripping top blocks to 2 1/8 and bottom blocks to 2 1/4”.
1 band saw with a cutting sled to cut bottom and sides to 4 1/2”.
1 chop saw with stop block to cut tops to 4 1/4”
2 router tables with 1/2” roundover bit to round over top block.
1 Pony trim router with 1/4” roundover to roundover center holes in top block.
5 belt sanding machines to do finish sanding.
1 Pin Air gun and 1 air compresser. The pins were 3/4” long

The Bondo work was done outside to minimize the odor from it’s chemicals. They set up in about 15 minutes so work could get completed.

All tools with the exception of the drill presses and the trim router were hooked up the central vacuum system that is stored in the 2nd floor of the shop.

Some of the pictures.

Ed Nock

DustyAl was there but I didn’t get a picture of him.

Jack Dalton

Jack is prowdly showing off his top block where he rounded off the bottom of the top block instead of the top. He called that a Karson – I don’t know why.

My blocks in preparation for spraying with a clear finish.

The blocks in order top left working across then down.
Spalted Maple with maple base and tiger Taple sides.
South American Mahogany with Maple base and SA Mahogany sides
SA Mahogany with SA Mahogany base and sides
Laminated Walnut and Maple top with Maple base and Walnut sides
Sapele top with Sapele Base and sides
Sapele top with SA Mahogany base and sides
Spalted Maple top with Maple base and Tiger Maple sides
Spalted Maple laminated with Walnut top and Maple with Tiger Maple sides

It’s interesting that all of the laminated stock went first, but the spalted wood didn’t go till later in the morning. It may have been that I had already cut them to size and they were in a plastic tote. I also had Tiger striped Sweet Gum laminated on Walnut and also some on Maple and I don’t know if any of them went.

I have enough wood left to make a bunch of Christmas Presents.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

18 comments so far

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5416 days

#1 posted 04-06-2009 06:06 AM

great idea…putting in my favorites—-so when its not bed time before the big week ahead…i can go back and read the details…

But the picts do look good…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


23326 posts in 5014 days

#2 posted 04-06-2009 07:51 AM

Looks like you guys had a good party going.

Just curious, but isn’t that a pretty simple project for seasoned woodworkers?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5739 days

#3 posted 04-06-2009 02:16 PM

But not with exoctic woods.

It’s also a day in the shop and away from the family. That part is priceless.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 5215 days

#4 posted 04-06-2009 02:29 PM

Is there a substitute for the bondo? I never purchased it does it come in small quantities?


-- Ron Central, CA

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5739 days

#5 posted 04-06-2009 02:36 PM

You could use regular old wood putty and you could propably use spakle compound (Dry Wall), or Epoxy or sawdust and Titebond. If you were to use spakle you might need to epoxy the bolt head into the wood so it doesn’t come loose.

You just want to fill up the hole so it’s smooth on the bottom. I used Bondo because it hardens in 15 minutes and we could contuinue with the making of the blocks.

You can buy Bondo in quart qtys. I’ve seen it at Walmart. It’s probably called a different name.

I’ve never had the can harden, but I’ve had the mixing tube go bad, I believe because it froze. I use about a golf ball size of mix and 1” of hardner. But for these, a spoon full is usually enough for 3 or 4 blocks. I did about 10 at a time.

We just used the stationary belt sander to sand it flat. The bondo doesn’t clog the sandpaper at all, but make sure you have the Dust Collector working.

I use Bondo all the time in the shop. Making jigs, sanding blocks for curved pieces. Put some sahran wrap on your curved molding and then put some Bondo on the Sahran Wrap. When it hardens you have a curved piece that fits the molding. Put sandpaper on it and sand away.

It alos works great on edges of particle board or Melamine to fill in all of the holes so it can be sanded smooth for painting etc.

When Veneering I fill in surface imperfections and sand smooth, before the veneer is applied.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5557 days

#6 posted 04-06-2009 03:31 PM

Good idea. Thanks for the Bondo tip too!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dustyal's profile


1322 posts in 4814 days

#7 posted 04-06-2009 04:37 PM

I had a great time at this workshop. I made up four blocks myself and will do another here at home. It’s nice to have blocks with different grits all ready to go. I picked up some skill/practice using tools that I haven’t tried… a joiner, forester bits, smaller router, etc. It’s nice to use power tools that are quiet with minimal vibration… and to have a crowd working the machines at one time is a great testament to the pre-organization that Karson mentioned. My hats off to those gentlemen. Now I must admit… having the stop blocks and depth stops set up ahead of time probably reduced my potential for error making substantially.

Of course anyone would be envious of Pat’s shop that can hold all of those tools along with crowd of guys working them at one time. Much appreciation goes out for his kind generosity.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5094 days

#8 posted 04-06-2009 08:57 PM

You guys sure do have a lot of fun!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


23326 posts in 5014 days

#9 posted 04-06-2009 09:02 PM

I didn’t think of the chance to use new tools and new wood. It’s obvious about the party time :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4897 days

#10 posted 04-06-2009 11:05 PM

I sure wish we had a group like that around here. Wouild be nice to do something like that. Thanks Karson for the post.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 5215 days

#11 posted 04-07-2009 04:08 AM

Thanks Karson

-- Ron Central, CA

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4916 days

#12 posted 04-07-2009 05:16 AM

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5190 days

#13 posted 04-08-2009 02:12 AM

Great blog Karson.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6879 posts in 5318 days

#14 posted 04-09-2009 02:08 AM

Hey Karson;

That’s quite a woodworking club!

What are you doing with all those young guys? LOL

It’s just like you to supply everyone with materials.

Your generosity is going to get you into heaven for sure.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


23326 posts in 5014 days

#15 posted 04-09-2009 07:20 AM

Cabinetmaster, there can be a group like that, but some one has to get it going. I’ve been running shooting matches for the last 25 years. My wife has been a Campfire volunteer for longer than that. She has a purely unselfish motive doing it for the kids, but our daughter is involved with her kids. I do it because i want to play too and nobody else will ;-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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