We all have to sand from time to time. But doing it well can make the difference
between a job that looks amateur and one that looks professional!
Sanding solid timber is something many people have trouble with, so the first
thing to do is understand the material. Timber has a grain direction, and you
should sand along the grain if you want good results. Don’t sand across the
grain, because it will tear the fibres and look terrible when stained or clear
There’s a range of equipment available to make sanding easier. They all sand,
but each does it a little differently.
The belt sander uses a continuous belt of sandpaper so that it strokes straight,
and sympathetic with the grain. It can really power off lots of material and
it’s easy to operate, as the belt simply slips on, and there’s just one
adjustment. When you use a belt sander move it backwards and forwards along the
grain. Kevin used it to restore an old window.
The random orbital sander moves its disc in a random pattern. It’s quite
comfortable to use and can also power through the work. It uses disks of
sandpaper, perforated to extract dust from the work. The disks are held on with
Velcro for a quick change.
The orbital sander has a large, vibrating base so you can hold it flat on the
work. It also extracts dust from the work.
The other key ingredient is sandpaper. There are many available, just make sure
you choose the right one for the material you’re sanding so they’ll perform at
their best. Start with a course grit and work down to fine.
Of course, you could simply use a sanding block, but that takes lots of elbow
Kevin reckons that with the right gear you’ll get a better job quicker, and
you’ll love doing it too.