Sanding against the grain will scratch the surface in an obvious way. No matter which sander you use, go with the grain.
A belt sander takes off the most material and it's the most aggressive of all the sanders. It's best used when you need to remove a large amount of material such as paint or when you need to correct the shape of your material, like when making a piece of bowed wood flat.
Mark your piece with a pencil. Once the pencil marks are gone, it's time to switch grits.
Plan to increase your grit number gradually. Don't jump from a rough 80 grit to a fine 220 grit. If you do, you will not be able to get rid of the deeper scratches made by the rough grit. The scratches will be especially visible once you start staining.
When you're ready to move to a different grit, clear your surface of dust again. This allows your finer grit to work more quickly and efficiently because it's not rolling around on rough dust.
Always wipe down and vacuum your surface after sanding. If you try to paint or stain with a dusty surface, you risk messing up your finish as dust gets trapped in your paint or finish coat.
Once you're done with your highest grit, clear the surface of dust. Then take a damp cloth and run it along the grain of your surface. Any splinters or ridges should be highlighted when wet. If you do see any, allow the surface to dry and then run your finest grit over it again.
Let the machine do the work. Applying too much pressure can hinder your sander's ability to do its job and can create an uneven surface or swirling if you press too hard.
Don’t rush, especially during the fine finishing stages. Move constantly, but slowly.
Always allow your sander to reach full speed before placing it on the material. Removing the sander while it's running will also help prevent swirling. Please refer to owner's manual for directions on each sander instructions.
Always make sure the arrows on your paper are going the same direction as the arrows on the belt sander.
You can purchase full sheets of sandpaper for your 1/4 sheet sander. Cut your full sheet into four equally sized sand sheets. If done correctly, you should have sheets of sand paper for your 1/4 Sheet Sander.
No matter what kind of sander you're using, always keep it perfectly flat. Tipping it on its side will cause gouging.
It's easy to tip a sander when you get to the edge. To help prevent tipping, put the edge of your wood against a piece of scrap wood that's the same thickness. The scrap wood will support your sander so it doesn't tip and gouge your wood.
If you're new to sanding, practice on scrap wood so you know what to expect from your sander and from the different grits.
Dust collection is important to make your sanding more efficient. Empty your dust bag often. Try not to let it get more than 1/2 full.
Most kinds of projects don’t require a mirror shine, and it's OK to use about three to four levels of sand paper grit. For example: Start with 80 grit to remove most blemishes, move to 120 to smooth the 80 grit scratches, then finish at 180. For even better results, jump up to 220. Most waterbased stains look great with 220 finishes. Feel free to keep going beyond 220 grit if you feel it's necessary!
Stain works by filling the tiny grooves in the wood. A super fine finish means less grooves, and so there are fewer places for the stain to go. If you want a lighter stain, go with an extra smooth finish.
Don't try and skimp on sandpaper use. Replace old paper with a fresh piece as soon as you notice the old piece isn't working as well. You'll save yourself a lot of time if you keep fresh paper on your sander.
Stain will highlight imperfections in the wood. If you rush through the sanding process, you're likely to wind up with scratches and gouges that could have been avoided.
The veneer on plywood is thin, and if you start with a rougher double-digit grit, you'll likely break through the veneer. Start with about 150 grit.
Sanders can and will take off varnish and paints, but if you want to preserve the shape of your peice, start by stripping and see how far you can get before attacking old color with a sander. In a lot of cases, the stripping agent will allow you to just take off the exisiting color, and then you can sand with a fine grit paper to prepare for the new color.
This website and the information contained in it is NOT designed to replace your manual. You need to read your manual and completely understand all requirements before operating your sander.
Sanding creates a lot of dust and can cause particles to become airborne. Use eye protection and a dust mask for your protection.
Always remove the battery or plug before adjusting the sandpaper or sander.
1/4 Sheet Sander
Less aggressive than the belt or random orbit sander, the sheet sander is great for finishing work on larger surfaces. It can also get into corners easily because of its square shape.
Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper
This type of paper uses a kind of grit that renews itself as you work. It tends to last the longest. This type is commonly found in a hardware store.
A belt sander is the most aggressive handheld sander. It might be used for stripping paint or sanding extremely rough wood.
Commonly used for shaping wood. It's the roughest option that removes the greatest amount of material.
"Coarse" means rough. Coarse grit sandpapers have the lower grit ratings like 40 or 80 grit.
Corner Cat Sander
A corner cat sander puts out less aggressive power, making it ideal for finishing jobs. Its triangular head helps it sand in tight spaces.. It's triangular head helps it get into tight spaces.
The smallest and least aggressive of the power sanders, the detail sander is best for finishing jobs in tight areas.
Fine grit refers to a smoother, less coarse sandpaper. This type of sandpaper has a higher grit rating, such as 220 or 300 grit.
The finish is the condition of your wood's surface. A rough finish is one that's rough to the touch, and a smooth finish is smooth to the touch.
This type of paper uses a mineral that tends to wear out quickly, but it also produces the smoothest finish.
A gouge occurs when you remove too much material from one spot, creating a dip in surface.
The grain is the texture or pattern of lines in a piece of wood. If you run your hand in the same direction as the texture, you're rubbing with the grain. If you run your hand across the texture, you're going against the grain.
Grit is the roughness rating on sandpapers. It refers to the amount of abrasive points per square inch. The lower the number, the rougher, more aggressive the sandpaper.
See Corner Cat Sander
Random Orbit Sander
A random orbit sander moves a circular sanding sheet in a vibrating, circular pattern. Its random motion helps you sand without leaving circular marks behind. Considered to be one of the most versatile sanders, it can be used for a lot of different kinds of jobs. It can be used for removing varnish or finer finishing applications.
Silicon Carbide Sandpaper
This type of paper is usually recommended for plastic or metals.
A colored chemical that when applied, dyes your wood a desired color.