How to Sand Wood – A Step by Step Guideline from Expert

how to sand wood

Wood Sanding

Many do-it-yourselfers sand wood as a part of their project, whether it is a home improvement project or furniture repair project or even a craft project. If the item is made from wood - sanding is usually necessary. Refinishing floors, tabletops or birdhouses all require the elimination of rough edges and surfaces. Sanding wood incorrectly can ruin the entire project. Using the correct grit sandpaper is also important to a successful outcome. So it is very important to for you to know how to sand wood.

Sandpaper Grits

All sandpaper is not the same. Each project or step of a project requires a specific grit, regardless if you are sanding by hand or with a power sander.

  • 1600-grit sandpaper - very fine - used for polishing surfaces including solid surface counter tops and jewelry.
  • 800 - 1200-grit sandpaper - another fine grit - typically used for polishing finish coats - both hand sanded and power sanded
  • 400 - 600-grit sandpaper - fine grit - used for the second to last finishing
  • 220 - 320-grit sandpaper - medium grit - used for general sanding on furniture or moldings as well as dry drywall joint compound
  • 100 - 180-grit sandpaper - medium, slightly coarse grit - first sanding on floors, molding and furniture - used to remove a finish coat or excess amounts of drywall joint compound
  • 80-grit and less sandpaper - very coarse - used to remove high spots and damage on floors, walls and furniture

How to Sand Wood

General sanding typically, require at least three sandings. One to remove the existing coating. The second sanding to smooth the wood and the third sanding to finish the wood.

  • Begin with a 100 - 180-grit sandpaper to remove paint, stain or polyurethane.
  • Wrap the sandpaper around a sanding block or use a power sander. Sand until the top finish is removed and bare wood has been exposed.
  • Wipe the surface with a tack rag to pick up the dust from sanding.
  • Sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block or loaded into a power sander. Follow the direction of the wood grain - do not sand against or across the grain because the wood will look fuzzy and feel rough.
  • Wipe the surface with a tack rag.
  • Sand the wood a third time with 320-grit sandpaper. Follow the direction of the wood grain.
  • Wipe with a tack rag.
  • A Quick Tips : Always wear a dust mask when sanding to prevent inhalation of potentially harmful dust

Sanding Tips Video

What Type of Sander Should I Use

Do-it-yourselfers and handy homeowners typically reach for a best power sander to put the finishing touches on a project. Some homeowners and furniture restores use their power sanders to remove paint, stain and varnish from a variety of surfaces including floors, moldings, banisters, tables or chairs. Before the advent of power sanders, woodworkers and craftsmen would sand surface by hand. This hand-cramping chore has been gladly substituted by do-it-yourselfers with power sanders.

There are many types of sanders from which to choose. Narrowing down the field is done based on the project. Some power sanders are optimal for specific jobs. Some sanders have more versatility than others. Choose your power sander based on your needs along with the amount and type of sanding you jobs calls for.

Belt Sander

A belt sander is the most commonly used power sander. It's powerful belt can quickly level high spots, remove layers of paint or flatten globs of dry glue. Because a belt sander can quickly rip through wood, care must be exercised in order to not gouge the surface. Belt sanders are notorious for releasing a ton of sawdust. Choose one with a dust collection bag to minimize the mess. According to me Ryobi Belt Sander is the best.

wood sanding techniques

Random Orbit Sander

wood sanding

Random Orbit sanders are as equally useful as a belt sander. Random Orbit sanders use sanding discs that come in a variety of grits ranging from extra fine to coarse. Coarse grit sanding discs will quickly strip away paint layers, while fine grit discs will leave the surface smooth and free of sanding marks.

Finishing Sander

Finishing sanders allow a do-it-yourselfer to move slowly over the surface. Finishing sanders give the user more control over the level of sanding being performed. You can say these are orbital sander for furniture.

wood sanding guide

Detail Sander

wood sanding procedure

Detail sanders have a triangle-shaped head that allows a woodworker to sand in small area. Look for a detail sander that come with extra attachments that allow you to sand curves on molding and furniture.

Handheld Rotary Sander

Probably the most well-known handheld sanding tool is a Dremel. Dremel holds that distinction because they earned it. A Dremel is unmatched in terms of versatility and ease of use when sanding small or intricate surfaces. Dremel tools also have available attachments that can be used for engraving, cutting or grinding as well as sanding.

wood sanding  tips

Sanding Block

Sanding blocks are powered by the user. A sanding block is a flat block that holds a sheet of sandpaper in place. The person sanding grips the block and smooths the surface by moving the block back and forth. The advantage to using a sanding block is the bottom is flat, which ensures a finish free of depressions and high spots. The down side of a sanding block is the amount of effort and arm strain needed to accomplish a task.

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