How to Sand Wood

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

| May 2014

Never fear finishing again! The Editors of Fine Woodworking will give you the skills necessary and confidence to apply finish with ease. Best Finishing Techniques (The Taunton Press, 2011) is an invaluable reference that offers foolproof techniques to guarantee a perfect finish every time. In the following excerpt, David Sorg explains how to sand wood with power- and hand-sanding techniques.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Best Finishing Techniques.

How to Sand Wood

Combine Power and Hand-Sanding for Good Results

The course of true love never did run smooth, according to Shakespeare, and smoothing wood true rarely causes love to course, it would seem. Boredom and fear are more common feelings among woodworkers when sanding their projects. But proper sanding is a crucial part of woodworking, so please read on for some tips and techniques that will turn your boredom into serenity and your fear into fun.

I’ll stick my neck out and state that no project should be finished without first being sanded. Even if you are a hero with the handplane or skilled with the scraper, you won’t be able to get a surface to be uniformly smooth and with an even sheen without sanding. Inevitably, there will be tiny depth changes from adjoining passes of the blade, while the sole of the plane can burnish strips of wood that may show up after a stain or a clear finish has been applied.

Those who rely solely on power tools will inevitably be left with planer- and jointer-knife marks and fibers crushed by the feed rollers. Router tables can leave gouges and scratches, and assembly often produces some errant glue splotches. All of these blemishes should be removed before a finish is applied, and sanding is the best way to achieve this. The most efficient way to sand a surface is with a combination of power-sanding and hand-sanding.

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