Sander Tips

by Tobe Walter
(New Jersey)

No matter what the action of the sander,it is best to finish sanding jobs by using strokes that parallel the wood grain. If you overlap the strokes by as much as 75%, you'll be sure to get good coverage. Pad sanders allow working into corners or flush against a vertical surface or edge.

This applies whether you are sanding a vertical or horizontal surface. It's usually the 'open' side of the sander that you can bring to bear against an obstruction, but the sanding action being used can also affect how you should work. Anyway, you'll know when you are wrong because the contact between the tool and the obstruction will cause excessive vibration and noise.

Sanding Edges When sanding edges, a two-hand grip helps to keep the tool level so you don't round off corners. If you apply too much pressure, the pad will 'bend' over corners and you'll have a convex edge instead of a square one. Edge sanding isn't difficult to do freehand, but when squareness is critical, you can use some of the ideas that were explained in the chapter on the belt sander.

Pieces can be clamped together and sanded as if they were a solid block. Bearing surface for the sander can be increased when sanding a single edge by adding side strips, and so on.

The object is to provide enough work surface so it will be easier to keep the sander on a level plane. Keeping Work Firm If you are working on a small part, and it is not secured in some way, it will probably move along with the action of the tool and sanding will be nil. Unless the work piece is substantial enough to stay put on its own it should be secured to something solid with clamps or gripped in a vise.

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