How to Sand Wood Faster

Sanding wood can be tedious, but you can finish this tedious task in half the time, and with better results, if you know a few tricks.

Speed ​​Up Your Woodworking Projects With These Sanding Tips!

Get a second sander

With two sanders, you can put both hands to work and, well, sand twice as fast, duh! Keep sanders together and think of them as one machine. If your hands spread into separate territories, you will pass some points and lose others.

Skip a grain

You don't need to use every grain of sand for coarse to fine sanding. Instead, use all the other beans; 80-120-180 or 100-150-220, for example.

Keep the surface clean

Connecting to a vacuum cleaner doesn't just reduce dust. In fact, it allows your random orbital sander to run faster. Even with the sander's built-in dust collection system, the sander rides on a thin dust pad that prevents full contact between sand and wood.

Therefore, by increasing dust removal, the vacuum cleaner improves the efficiency of the sander. On some sanders, connection to a vacuum cleaner doubles the sanding speed.

Slow and steady wins the race

For faster hand sanding, just press harder and move faster. But with a random orbital sander, this strategy will really slow you down. Too much pressure or speed creates small spiral scratches that you will have to sand down sooner or later (usually later, after the stain makes them visible).

A light touch and patience are key to avoiding these eddies. Just put your hand on the sander; Do not press.

The weight of your arm provides enough pressure. Move at the pace of a snail; no more than 1 in. per second. Going that slow doesn't feel natural and requires self-discipline.

So give this a try: Spread a tape measure the length of your project and watch the second hand on a watch as you sand it. After about 30 seconds (or 30 inches), it will get used to the correct speed.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to Sand Like a Pro

Source: Jonathan Katz-Moses

Know when to stop

How smooth is smooth enough? We pose this question to professional carpenters and cannot get a direct answer. (Carpenters are notoriously evasive.) "It depends ..." was the typical response. Here's what that means:

"Open grain" woods such as oak and walnut have coarse grain lines and a rough texture.

Therefore sanding to very fine grits is a waste of time. "Tight grain" woods such as maple and cherry have a smoother, more uniform texture. Therefore, they must be sanded with higher grits before the dangers of sanding disappear.

The finish is also important. For thick coatings like polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer, most of the types we've talked about stop at 150-grit on open-grain wood and 180-grain on closed-grain wood.

For oil finishes, which do not create much build-up, the higher the better; 220 in open grain, 240 in closed.

Bigger is better *

To 5 in. The Random Orbit Sander is the essential sanding tool for any DIYer. If you are a serious carpenter, you will love a 6-inch one too. version.

An extra inch may seem like it wouldn't produce a huge jump in sanding speed, but it means almost 45% more sanding surface, plus a more powerful motor.

Faster sanding comes at a price, of course - six-inch sanders are two to three times more expensive than five-inch sanders, and larger sanders are a bit more difficult to control, especially on vertical or narrow parts.


Sell ​​your shares early

Before cutting the boards for your next project, sand them all with 80 or 100 grit. You may spend a little time sanding the areas that will end up as waste, but you will come through in the long run.

Initial sanding (removing scratches, dents, and milling marks) is the heaviest sanding.

And if you sand boards before cutting or assembling them, you can use the tool that makes deep sanding faster: a belt sander. Sanding entire boards also eliminates the repetition of stopping, starting and setting individual pieces.

Save your sanity

Sanding syndrome is a psychological disorder caused by complicated attention to detail combined with brain-rotting boredom. Symptoms include drooling over the project, hearing voices on the whine of a belt sander, and seeing cartoon characters in wood texture patterns.

There is no sure way to prevent Sanding syndrome, but a little entertainment will help. Earplugs or earmuffs with built-in speakers block out noise from power tools and reduce boredom.

I searched online "stereo earplugs" or "noise isolating headphones" to explore a great selection. Prices range from $ 25 to $ 200.

Stack ’em and sand ’em

Group sanding with a belt or random orbit sander allows you to smooth multiple edges in one pass. As a bonus, the wider surface prevents the sander from sharpening too deep in one spot or leaning and rounding the edges. This trick also makes sanding a self-correcting process; all parts will end up exactly the same.

How to use a sander: sand along the grain

Sanding's first commandment: sand with the grain. But when you have a lot of wood to grind, break this rule and run the belt sander diagonally along the grain (about 45 degrees). Instead of scratching the wood fibers, the belt will tear them away. It is incredibly fast and dangerous. Be careful not to go too deep and wait for it to sand afterward with a light sanding to smooth out any remaining “plow marks”.

Premium paper works faster

The best sandpaper has sharper grain particles, which penetrate the wood faster. And not just a little faster, a lot faster. Premium paper removes wood two to three times faster than standard paper. It costs a bit more, but the grain stays sharp for much longer, so it really saves money whether you use blades, discs, or belts. Norton 3X, 3M SandBlaster, and Gator Ultra Power are three common lines.

Avoid glue stains

Glue stains are cruel. When you think all the tedious sanding is done and you apply paint or even varnish, they will look like faded spots. Getting rid of them means more sanding. On a flat surface, glue droplets are not a big problem. It will remove them automatically as you go through the normal sanding process. But in hard-to-sand places like inside corners, prevention is the best strategy, and a little masking tape will save you a lot of work.

Tools needed for this project

Have the tools you need for this DIY project in place before you begin; it will save time and frustration.

  • Belt sander
  • Forks
  • Dust mask
  • Hearing protection
  • Orbital sander
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Sanding block
  • Shop vacuum

You may also want stereo headphones.

Materials needed for this project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your supplies ready in advance. Here is a list.

  • Scotch tape
  • Sandpaper

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