Sanding Tips Part 2
by Tobe Walter
As a Sharpener A pad sander will never replace an efficient grinder or honing machine, but when it is fitted with a hard pad and a very fine emery paper, it can be used to do touch-up work on butt or lathe chisels, plane blades, knives. This is not a grinding operation—it's not suggested that you use this technique to renew edges, but it's a handy way to maintain the keenness of cutting edges. Apply the tool very carefully so you don't cut into the abrasive or the pad.
Sanding Finish Coats A pad sander is a fine tool to use to smooth surfaces between applications of finishing coats, and to even add a subtle patina to final coats of lacquer enamel, shellac, varnish, or whatever. How you work on the final application will depend on the material involved and the gloss, or lack of it, you want. A common procedure is to use a ready made 'rubbing compound'; a standard material that is available in auto supply stores and many hardware stores.
The compound, which feels like a very fine powder, is sprinkled over the work surface and then gone over with the sander using a piece of carpeting in place of the regular pad and paper. Burlap may also be used, and it is often possible to use the material simply by wrapping it tightly about the base of the machine and gripping it tightly with one hand as you use your other hand to move the tool about.
For a superfine finish on furniture, you can do wet sanding with a silicon carbide, superfine grit, waterproof paper mounted on the sander. There are many lubricants you can use for wet sanding, but many professionals still adhere to the clean water and soap combination. The technique involves rubbing the abrasive paper with ordinary hand soap and wetting the work surface with a sponge.