Sanding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Sanding is fundamentally a simple process,and it’s surprising how many woodworking professionals are careless and make mistakes like over-sanding table top edges. Using the wrong tools or the wrong type of sandpaper are other mistakes that woodworkers are prone to making.
Poor choice of tools
Sanding tools have their pros and cons, and it is important to understand them before beginning the sanding process.
For instance while a belt-sander is good for good for getting rid of high spots on glued up panels, it is not a great tool for the final sanding. On the other hand a palm-sander is not the right tool for woodworkers to use during preliminary coarse sanding,but is a good tool for all-round sanding. A random orbital sander is the best tool for removing mill marks and other defects.
Sanding through the face veneer
This is a fairly common woodworking problem and generally occurs when an edging strip is being leveled off. Over sanding of the plywood occurs where the strip is slightly below the plywood surface. Besides doing a better job of applying the edging, it is important to avoid rocking the sander while standing close to the edge.
Staying in one spot too long
Whether sanding with a machine or by hand by hand you must keep moving to avoid ending up with an uneven uneven surface may not become apparent until after applying the finish. It is important to get into a rhythm and keeping to it. A little extra sanding in an affected area can smoothen out a dent or deep scratch in the wood.
Using excessive pressure
Power sanders do not require the application of excessive downward pressure as the tool itself is quite heavy. A woodworker should focus on guiding the tool and not bearing down on it. If there appears to be a need to apply more pressure to get the work done it may be time to replace the sandpaper or consider using a coarse grit. Using the right grit is very important as well because a grit that is too coarse will leave deep scratches which will have to be removed by excessive sanding. If the grit is too fine, time will be wasted in sanding to remove the mill marks.
Overuse of sandpaper
Either out of sheer laziness or because of getting caught up in the job of sanding, many woodworkers don’t change the sandpaper until it actually wears out. Whatever the reason,  using a worn out sandpaper only adds to the time which could be spend more productively for tasks such as scraping dried glue off  the workbench. An easy test to check whether it’s time to replace the sandpaper is to run a finger over the sandpaper. If there is a marked difference between the used and the unused part then it is time to make the switch.
Sanding in the wrong direction
While sanding against the grain is generally good advice, certain circumstances require woodworkers to sand this way. For instance when a board is initially sanded the surface has to be leveled and the mill marks need to be removed.
Sanding against the grain often removes stock faster than sanding with the grain. However on completion of the initial cleanup the process should be reversed. In some situations such as a joint where the two pieces join at right angles, a random orbital sander with fine grit sandpaper may be required
While all woodworkers commit mistakes at some point, the goal should be to learn from these mistakes and reduce them in the future. Not only will this reduce costs and improve time efficiencies, but give a boost to the morale of the woodworker.

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