It seems that many people find sanding to be something difficult and annoying that they would prefer not to have to do. Consequently, they end up doing it quickly (and often, poorly) without realizing that the job would be faster and less difficult if they took the time to do it properly.
How To Sand Like A Pro
A common error is to start off with too fine a grit. They will then sand for what seems like forever, becoming frustrated and tired. Fortunately, there are some things to do—and some things to avoid—making life much easier.
- Slow Down
It is a fairly logical thought that faster speeds result in faster sanding, but unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. Increased speed and friction results in greater heat, which can have the effect of melting the bond between the grit and the paper. The result? Grit from the paper can become embedded in the wood, making your job that much harder. What’s more, some wood will stress crack from the heat, resulting in multiple fine cracks that won’t sand out. To eliminate them, you will need to re-cut the wood. The saying “slow and steady wins the race” is appropriate here.
- Use the Sandpaper Properly
Just as some people stubbornly try to get one more shave out of a dull razor, others will continue using sandpaper that has dulled. Good quality sandpaper may not be exactly cheap, but it is certainly cheaper than your labour. While you may think you are saving money by continuing to use your sandpaper past the point where it should have been tossed away, you will save more by being able to do your job quicker, easier, and better by changing it as necessary.
- Start off Coarse
For a quicker, easier job, start with a coarser grit than you think you need, and sand longer than you think necessary, removing all tooling marks and damaged wood fibres, then work your way to a finer grit. This will save you time and frustration in the long run.
- Check Your Work
Pause frequently to examine your work. Using a bright light at a 45-degree angle, watch for white marks. If you spot scratches that won’t come out, you may actually be creating them with buildup on your paper. This buildup can be removed from your paper by pulling courser sandpaper across it lightly. Or by using crepe rubber cleaning stick on your powered belt or disc sanders.
- Preview the End Result
When you feel satisfied with the job that you have done, you can preview the end result by applying a thin coat of lacquer sanding sealer and waiting for it to dry before inspecting your work. Whatever shows up at this point will be present at the end, but it will be a much easier job to sand the sealer than anything else you might put on.
If you are satisfied with the work, you can finish it off with a light hand sanding with 400 grit paper, after which you will be ready to apply any finish that you like.
Using proper techniques and quality products like Klingspor Abrasives will make sanding less frustrating and more enjoyable while providing you with a superior result.