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HOW TO SAND WOOD With or Without Sandpaper

Rules To Follow For Sanding Wood And Not Damaging Material

Discover in the following text the rules to follow to achieve a proper sanding and also how to choose the right sanding.

How to Sand Wood ?

IMAGEN DE COMO LIJAR MADERA / IMAGE OF HOW TO SAND WOODOne of the tasks that beginner carpenters struggle with is mainly learning how to sand wood. Sanding can be a tedious process, but it is vital to the overall quality of the carpentry project. In the following paragraphs, you will learn how to sand wood through a variety of methods, from manual sanding to the use of specific types of electric sanding machines. Once you master these wood sanding techniques, you can develop your projects and get an excellent finish.

How to Choose Sandpapers to Sand Wood ?

The first thing you should know when preparing to sand a project are the types of sandpaper or sanding discs needed to do the job. You should select the indicated sandpaper or abrasive disc according to the material you are going to sand. Always start with the use of the coarsest water sandpapers up to the finest, always according to the objective of the sanding.

You can also find sandpapers for plaster walls in our Accessories Department for sanders. Also click and find Accessories for Drills, Grinders and Chainsaws.

Using Random Orbital Sanders to Sand Wood

Many people who are fond of working with wood, and also carpenters, have at least one random orbital sander. The action of this sander helps eliminate scratch marks that can be created by hand sanding or with a repetitive pattern sander (like a regular veneer sander).

Leaf sanders are sometimes considered an ugly stepchild of the random orbital sander, specifically because they use a repetitive pattern to move the sanding pad. However, for many initial sanding tasks, a sander is quite adequate.

In addition, a sander can use a regular 1/4 or 1/2 sanding sheet, which makes it much more economical than a random orbital sander (which requires specific sanding discs).

Using Oscillating Shaft Sanders in Wood Sanding

For sanding curved cuts (such as those made with a band saw or a jigsaw), few tools can match the capacity of the oscillating spindle sander. This special sander is essentially a drum sander whose spindle moves up and down as the drum rotates. This oscillating action exposes the wood much more to the sanding drum, extending the life of the drum and reducing the sanding lines in the wood.

After cutting the curves with a jigsaw or band saw, the cuts should be sanded. The best results are achieved with the oscillating orbital sander, a tool intended for this type of sanding task.

How to Sand by Hand for a Perfect Final Touch ?

After using progressively finer sandpapers through the sanding process with your random orbital sander or plate sander, the last step before finishing the sanding process should always be to give the project a good hand sanding (as a minimum). You can use the Water-Based Varnish for a luxury finish.

Not only will hand sanding the project before finishing allow you to adjust some points that may need a little extra care, but it can also help eliminate the last sanding marks caused by the electric sander.

How To Sander Wood With Drill ?

It is very important to know which sanding accessories you can incorporate to your drill. Keep in mind that if you are a person who works a lot with wood, it is very prudent and beneficial for you to invest in a good sanding power tool. Random orbital sanders are the most popular.

The available orbital sanding accessories really work well, but in reality they are only suitable for basic and fast jobs. They should not be used as replacements for power sanders for people who do a lot of sanding work.

Now we can take a look at what the different sanding accessories are and what they are actually used for:

The Sandpaper Drill Adapter

The most popular is the circular pillow that is placed on the drill mandrel.

The Drill Backrest Pads

The metal part (cane) enters the lower part in the mandrel and then the pads are attached to the surface, which in this case are made of a rubber material. That part is known as the back pad and these types of sanding accessories can be used with any type of drill.

They vary in size, but the most popular is one with a diameter of 2″. They cost around $5 and will contain certain types of pads. Buy one of these and then you can get different types and grades of adaptable pads.

Sanding Plate for Drill in Wood Sanding

These are becoming more and more popular like a lot. They adapt to all types of drills and come with a set of different discs that you can use for things like removing paint and sanding woods and metals.

These are ideal for smaller jobs at home and for any type of light sanding.

How to Sand Painted or Varnished Wood ?

Varnish, lacquer, shellac and other transparent layers are applied to protect wood furniture and the floor from scratches and stains. If applied correctly, these products produce very good results, but what if you want to re-expose the wood grain for refinishing, repairing or restoring?

In this case the first step would be to remove the existing finish from the wood. There are many different finishes to the clear coat, and if you don’t know how the wood was initially treated, it can be difficult to distinguish between the types of finishes.

But no problem, we have three ways to remove the varnish from the wood even if you are not sure what type of finish you want to remove:

1. Removing the Finish on Wood Sanding

Removing the finish using a sander works very well for paint, acrylic, varnish, lacquer and shellac. Actually sandpaper is very effective, it is able to remove almost any wood finish. It can be used to retouch hardwood floors, or it can be used to remove varnish from much smaller surfaces: a table, for example.

For larger, flatter surfaces it is very efficient to use a power tool such as a random orbit sander; for irregular areas, use hand paper or a sanding block.

If you want to remove the finish from a piece of furniture you plan to paint, start with 150 grit sandpaper to polish the surface and finish with 220 grit, making sure to remove the dust with a rag cloth or a slightly damp rag.

2. Removing Solvent Finish After Wood Sanding

The use of solvents is very good for shellac and lacquer finishes.  Shellac and lacquer are alcohol-based finishes.

Shellac can be removed with alcohol. If alcohol does not work, try lacquer thinner. If the piece was made by a quality furniture manufacturer after 1930, a slimming product is the best place to start, since this type of furniture was usually finished with shellac or lacquer.

Apply the solvent with a cloth to dilute the lacquer from the surface of the wood, then lightly scrape the residual finish with a plastic spatula.

3. Removing the Finish with Chemical Removers

Chemical removers work very well for polyurethane (acrylic), varnish and paint.

Chemical paint or varnish removers are very effective and will not damage wood. But be careful: historically, these products contain the active ingredient methylene chloride, a strong caustic chemical that can cause serious damage to the eyes, respiratory system and skin (not to mention the environment).

You must work with appropriate safety equipment in a well-ventilated area.

How to Sand Wood With a Grinder ?

Sure, the angle grinder is an incredible tool to consider when working with metal, but what do you know about using an angle grinder on wood, how useful is the angle grinder when it comes to working with wood? Let’s take a quick look and see.

When it comes to carving, shaping and sanding wood, there are many effective tools to consider. However, only one can be adapted to carry out the three common carpentry tasks with ease.  The angle grinder

If you’re a woodworker looking for a quick and easy method to quickly carve, then shape and finally sand large grooves and even chainsaw clippings, the angle grinder is the tool for you.

However, keep in mind that the angle grinder may remove a lot of wood intelligently and, like all power tools, when using your angle grinder on wood, be sure to wear safety goggles and other appropriate and much-needed safety accessories.

And for finely detailed joinery projects, you may want to consider other less aggressive tool alternatives such as delta sanders.


When using your angle grinder to work on wood, always consider the amount of wood to be removed and how quickly you want to remove that wood. This will help you determine which joinery accessory to use.

Remember, most angle grinders have operating head speeds of up to 13,000 revolutions per minute; some even faster. With the right accessories, these powerful hand tools have the ability to remove a large amount of material in a hurry.

Therefore, always consider which of the following angle grinder accessories will be used for your specific joinery project:

  • Abrasive Fin Discs
  • Abrasive discs
  • Wheel carving

Carpentry Tools for the Angular Grinder

Abrasive Fin Discs

Abrasive fin discs are just a lot of small pieces of sandpaper attached to a rigid backing disc that can be attached to your angle grinder. While the first abrasive fin discs for high-speed angle grinders were developed in the late 1970s and were somewhat coarse, the new versions offer a lot of diversity.

In terms of material removal capacity, service life and sanding quality, the fin discs are as versatile as the angle grinder itself. Fin discs designed for use in wood are very similar in nature to fin discs designed for use in metal. The main difference lies in the abrasive material used in each disc and the rigidity of the backing material.

Use carpentry fin discs on your angle grinder as you would sandpaper. To remove deep scratches, start with coarse sand to the thinnest 100 -120 flap discs and finer grain sanding for the final finish.

Abrasive Size Discs

When it comes to shaping wood, nothing works better than abrasive carving discs.  These abrasive carving discs incorporate carbide teeth that work against grain in all types of wood. These extremely sharp conical teeth provide excellent surface removal on wood and are easy to control with almost any angle grinder.

Carving with Toothed Wheels

Sprockets are specialized tools designed specifically to work with wood and other non-ferrous materials. The carving wheels are generally very toothed with something similar to chainsaw teeth or sharp steel and alloy teeth.

The attachments of the grinding wheels are very aggressive and will make their way through the hardest woods and other soft non-ferrous materials with ease. Remember to exercise extreme caution when operating an angle grinder and sprocket.

How to Sander Wood Quickly ?

Sanding wood can be boring, but you can finish this tedious thing you do in half the time, and with much better results.

You can use two sanding machines simultaneously, so that sanding becomes much faster. Keep the sanding machines together and think of them as one machine. This trick can only be used in a few very specific cases.

Skip sanding from one sandpaper thickness to another. Start sanding from coarse sandpaper to fine sandpaper. Instead, use any other grain; 80-120-180 or 100-150-220, for example.

Keep the surface clean. Connecting the sander to a vacuum cleaner not only reduces dust. In fact, it allows your random orbit sander to run faster. Even with the sander’s built-in dust collection system, the sander relies on a thin dust cushion that prevents total contact between sand and wood.

Therefore, by increasing dust removal, the vacuum improves the sander’s efficiency. In some sanding machines, the connection to a vacuum doubles the sanding speed.

Slow and constant sanding will make the result faster and more efficient. For faster manual sanding, simply press harder and you will advance faster.

If you use a random orbit sander, you must use another strategy. Too much pressure or speed creates small rotating scratches that you will have to sand sooner or later (often later, after the stain makes them visible).

A light touch and patience are the key to avoiding these swirls. Just place your hand on the sander; do not press down. The weight of your arm provides enough pressure. Move at a snail’s pace; no more than 1 inch per second. Going slowly is unnatural and requires some self-discipline.

So try this: stretch a tape measure throughout your project and watch the second hand on a watch while you sand. After about 30 seconds (or 30 inches), you’ll get used to the right speed.

It’s important to know when to stop. How soft is soft enough? We asked that question to professional carpenters, and we couldn’t get a straight answer. (Woodworkers are notoriously evasive.) «It Depends…» was the typical answer. That’s what that means:

Open grain» woods like oak and walnut have coarse grain lines and a rough texture. So sanding with very fine grits is a waste of time. Close-grained» woods such as maple and cherry have a smoother, more uniform texture. Therefore, they must be sanded with higher grits before the sanding scratches disappear.

The finish also matters. For thick coatings such as polyurethane, varnish or lacquer, most of the types we are talking about stop at 150 grains in open grain woods, 180 in closed. For oil finishes, which do not create much accumulation, higher is better; 220 in open grain, 240 in closed.

You can use five-inch sanders, which are inexpensive and easy to use.  The 5-inch random orbit sander is the essential sanding tool for any DIY enthusiast. If you’re a serious carpenter, you’re sure to choose a 6-inch one.

An extra inch may not look like it would produce a big jump in sanding speed, but it means almost 45 percent more sandpaper surface, plus a more powerful motor.

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

Before you cut the boards for your next project, sand them all with 80 or 100 grain. You may waste a little time sanding areas that will end up as debris, but you’ll get through very quickly. Initial scratches, dents and milling marks to remove sanding are the heaviest job.

If you need to sand boards before cutting or assembling them, you can use the tool that makes deep sanding faster: such as a belt sander. Sanding entire tables also eliminates the repetition of stopping, starting, and setting up individual parts.

Music makes the job easier. Sanding syndrome is a psychological disorder caused by minute attention to detail combined with boredom. Symptoms include drooling on the project, hearing voices in the hum of a band sander, and seeing cartoon characters in wooden grain patterns.

There is no sure way to prevent Sanding Syndrome, but a little entertainment helps. Earmuffs or earplugs with built-in speakers block power tool noise and reduce boredom.

How to Sander Pine Wood ?

According to do-it-yourself experts, pine wood is easy to work with but complicated at the time of finishing. Pine wood has its advantages and disadvantages in furniture construction. It has to its favor that it is easy to find in most shops and that it is relatively cheap.

It is also easy to model and cut. Perhaps something that does not point in your favour is the fact that in many cases it is difficult to finish.

Sanding is the basis of any finishing project. While pine is easy to water, it is also easy to damage. Soft wood between growth rings can wear faster than rings if not sanded properly. The best method for sanding pine is to use a variable speed randon orbital sander. Set it to the lowest speed and let the work be sanded, without resting on the work surface. Start with P100 sandpaper and work gradually up to P180.

If you are building a pine piece of furniture, sand the boards before assembling the project. This will give you easy access to all sides and edges and allow you a comfortable sanding position, i.e. on a workbench for example. This will also save you a lot of sanding work after assembly, where you will have to work in corners and tight spaces.

The first step in any finishing job is to sand the smooth surface. Once the surface is smoothed with the P180, you must complete the job by hand sanding. A random orbital sander will inevitably leave small marks of circular eddies on the surface of the wood. Hand sanding will remove these eddies. Use P180 sandpaper sanding in the direction of the grain. Cross sanding can easily scratch the pine, leaving very obvious marks on the surface.

So sand with the grain and move gradually to 220 grain paper until the job is complete. On curved or milled surfaces, use rubber backing profiles for the paper, or create your own backing block that fits the shape you’re sanding.

Because pine is so easy to scratch, it’s best to avoid belt sanders or any high-speed sander, as they can damage the wood. In the event that you scratch the wood, you can moisten and heat the area and increase the grain of the wood to repair it. To do this, use a very small brush to apply a small amount of water to the scratch or dent. Then use a hot wash covered with a soft cloth to heat the area, lifting the grain from the wood. Then sand as usual.

Once sanded, wipe off the dust with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner.

Due to its combination of soft and hard wood, pine tends to absorb stains, which can cause irregular stains. In pine, you could also extend the tine or stain to the end of the grain or vein of the wood. To minimize this, it is best to seal the wood before staining. Sealing will help prevent softer wood from absorbing additional stains.

Apply a light coat of sealer. For sanding and sealing, it is always important to apply the products to a similar piece of wood. This will allow you to examine the results and adjust your product selection or application method to obtain the desired result. In other words, don’t experiment on your furniture.

Keep in mind that a seal coat is not absolutely critical, but if applied correctly, it could result in a more uniform tone.

Eliminate Fine Sawdust at the End of Sanding

After you finish sanding your carpentry project, you must remove all traces of sawdust before applying the paint or paint finish of your choice.

One problem faced by all woodworkers is how to remove all sawdust from the surfaces of their project before starting the finishing process. Whether you plan to paint, stain or apply natural oils as the finish of your carpentry project, you’ll still need to remove even the finest grains of sawdust and sand before finishing begins. It is important to remove as much sawdust as possible, some of the remaining sawdust may mix with the finish, causing a variety of possible problems depending on the amount of sawdust left.

You can start by blowing the project using an air compressor hose or using a shop vacuum to clean as much as possible. This will help remove sawdust from all corners and cracks within the project joints. Then use a clean, dry cloth to finish removing excess sawdust.

A final step would be to use a clean cloth with alcohol. The alcohol will help collect even the finest dust and, since it evaporates very quickly, will not discolor the wood in any way. It is even safe to use in projects that will be used for food, such as a cutting board or a hardwood bread tray. To take care of your work areas, full of expensive tools, from unexpected visits you can install a wifi ip camera, you will feel really calm.

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HOW TO SAND WOOD in Floors or Furnitures. By Hand, Before and After Painting. Using Sander and Grinder
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