Wonderbar, where have you been all my life?!?

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Review by 7Footer posted 03-04-2014 06:16 PM 10241 views 12 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Wonderbar, where have you been all my life?!? Wonderbar, where have you been all my life?!? Wonderbar, where have you been all my life?!? Click the pictures to enlarge them

A few weeks ago a co-worker and I were talking about axes and he sent me a video on YouTube called An Axe to Grind, its a documentary by the Adirondack Woodsman all about axes – care, maintenance, hanging, etc. It’s an hour long and I watched about half of it the first time, its very informative and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn the basics about axes.

Anyway, about 4 minutes in he starts cleaning his axe and something caught my eye, he has these things called the Wonderbar, its a rubber compound impregnated with grit, similar to a sanding block but about 1000x better and more durable.

A couple Google searches later and I found them on Garrett Wade , another great site with lots of cool stuff. Anyway my co-worker and I each ordered a set of the Wonderbar’s, $18 for the set is not bad because apparently they last forever, although Garrett Wade does sort of gouge you for the shipping ($9.50), but at least I got a free pocket knife for my first order.

A week and a half later my package arrived, I figured the best place to start was on some hand planes. I looked at my collection and noticed they could use some cleaning. So the first one I cleaned up was a old Defiance (maybe a Defiance knockoff) that I haven’t really used, the pic above is the iron, chip breaker and lever cap, took less than 5 minutes to get both sides looking clean and shiny. Then the cheeks of the plane took about 30 seconds to shine up, I was already sold!

Next the Hercules had some yellowing and weird gunk on it, so again about a minute on each piece and again its looking great.

Then an Ohio #5, which really needed some cleanup, but again this only took about 1 minute on each piece.

A Bailey #6, quick 30 seconds on each side.

I ended up cleaning almost all of my planes that night, and I had a great time doing it! I really didn’t think that much effort was required, although none of my planes were in-operable, I probably wouldn’t use the Wonderbars right away on rust-hunt finds, if something was badly rusted I’d probably still soak it in evaporust before polishing with the Wonderbar. But these little things are so damn handy, I can see using them for light maintenance on just about any metal, and they don’t leave the scratch marks like sandpaper does. They even work well on brass, I polished a couple of old Disston try squares that I had not been able to use because I couldn’t see the markings on the steel and now they look rejuvenated. I guess it’s time to make a plane till, I’m a little worried about hanging my Bedrock 608 with twine!

It also states on the package that you can use them wet or dry with oil or water, and I tried them with a little honing oil, wd-40 and water and still prefer to use them dry overalll. But I might try the fine block with a little oil to see if it makes a difference.

Couldn’t be happier with these little guys!


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2575 posts in 3110 days

17 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30629 posts in 3500 days

#1 posted 03-04-2014 06:20 PM

Always good to know products you can count on

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NiteWalker's profile


2743 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 03-04-2014 06:35 PM

I love those little blocks. I got mine from mcfeely’s.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DW833's profile


244 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 03-05-2014 01:49 AM

I’m not clear on which product you used. I see the rust eraser at Garrett Wade.
I see the Klingspor Sandflex Hand Blocks on Amazon.

Are they the same product? If they are different, did you use the wonderbar first to clean the rust.
Then use the hand blocks.

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3110 days

#4 posted 03-05-2014 02:09 AM

DW they are the same product, looks like just slightly different packaging between Amazon and GW. I bought mine on Garrett Wade, the ones in the first pic of this review are what I received.

All of the pics in this review the only thing I used on them were the 3 blocks in the first pic.


View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 03-05-2014 02:14 AM

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13565 posts in 3541 days

#6 posted 03-05-2014 02:33 AM

Is the 3 pack worth it or do you really need all 3 grits?

-- Rick M,

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1820 posts in 4021 days

#7 posted 03-05-2014 02:46 AM

You can order the three pack from Klingspor for $9.95 plus shipping.

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3110 days

#8 posted 03-05-2014 03:02 AM

I think they’re worth it Rick… However I could see myself ordering a couple more of the coarse blocks, I don’t think I’ll ever need to replace the fine but maybe I’ll wear out the medium eventually. But its nice to give it a quick scrub with the medium and fine after the initial cleaning.


View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4520 days

#9 posted 03-05-2014 03:09 AM

I got mine from Klingspor and absolutely love them. I used them to clean the table on the Unisaw I bought a couple years ago and I highly recommend them to anyone who has an old jointer, shaper, table saw or any other tool you want to resurrect. Just walk through the grits and you’ll be amazed at the job they do.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View waho6o9's profile


9036 posts in 3738 days

#10 posted 03-05-2014 05:10 AM

Coarse and Medium is what I used the most, with the coarse doing most all of the work.

Just for fun I’ve used the fine grit, but you really only need the coarse grit.

View brtech's profile


1152 posts in 4084 days

#11 posted 03-05-2014 11:28 AM

I’ve used these for years armoring (repair of sport fencing equipment). They are great for cleaning blades. They originally are from Germany. They have a lot of different names. You can get them from Lee Valley as well as the places cited above.

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4904 days

#12 posted 03-05-2014 02:39 PM

They are also great for cleaning off burned on food residue on kitchen pots and pans. I bought two sets, one for the shop and one for the house.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View jdh122's profile


1252 posts in 3979 days

#13 posted 03-05-2014 03:07 PM

Thanks for the review. I love the Forest Service video (it’s not by the Adirondack Woodsman but posted by him) – the bearded guy on it is great. He’s got another one on log construction that is good too.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4194 days

#14 posted 03-07-2014 05:19 AM

Good Review1 I’ll be looking for some of these for sure!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3030 days

#15 posted 02-08-2015 01:13 AM

Just ordered a three pack for under 18 dollars shipped.

Thanks for the info, 7.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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