How to Sand Wood

Learn how to sand wood combining power- and hand-sanding methods for optimum results.

Random-orbit sanders (top): For removing large amounts of wood from large surfaces, random-orbit sanders can’t be beat. They are less suitable for small areas, and their shape prevents them from reaching into inside corners. Pad sanders (center): Less aggressive than random-orbit sanders, pad sanders are easier to control, which makes them suitable for narrower and more confined areas such as table legs and the insides of cabinets. Hand-sanding tools (bottom): Sand by hand to finish the job. To keep moldings crisp, use commercial rubber profiles or shopmade foam ones to back the sandpaper. For flat areas, use a backing block made from cork or rubber to prevent your fingers from applying uneven pressure.
Photo courtesy The Taunton Press