September 12, 2007

Lathe Woodworking

This idea was featured awhile ago in "American Woodworker" magazine and I was reminded of it the other day while watching a customer work on his lathe--sanding on a lathe can be hard on your fingertips!

To protect your fingers, cut the fingertips off a latex-dipped work glove and wear one or two of the fingertips while sanding. It serves a dual purpose--protects your skin and it also makes it much easier to hold onto the sandpaper. You can find these gloves at a hardware store for less than $10!
Safety Note: Don't wear the whole glove while working on your lathe. You could be seriously injured if the glove got caught on either your turning project or the lathe itself.

June 28, 2007

Drum Sanding

Drum Sanders are sometimes called thickness sanders and are manufactured by companies like Performax, Powermatic, Grizzly, Woodmaster, Supermax, General International, Oliver and Delta. Abrasive strips are cut from a continuous roll of abrasive cloth and wrapped around the horizontal cylinder on an abrasive drum sander.

There are three different ways that you can cover the drum on your sander. You can always purchase precut strips that are the exact length you need, and they have the angled ends precut to the specification of your sander. This method is the most convenient, but also the most expensive!

An alternative is buying rolls and cutting your own strips. You can use a number of different width rolls, but the most popular and easy to use are 3" or 4" wide. The key is to trim the leading edge of the abrasive strip so that the angled edge is equal to the circumference of the drum. If you want to use a wider or narrower strip, the angle will change, but the length of the angled edge will not--always cut the edge equal to the circumference of your cylinder. The trailing edge of the strip should be cut as a mirror image of the leading end. Of course, if you always purchase the same width abrasive, you can simply use your old strip as a template to cut the new strips. The downside to using a 50 yard bulk roll of abrasive is twofold. First, depending on the length of the strips you require, you will mot likely end up with some "waste" at the end of the roll, that you can use up on a pad sander or by hand. Second, sometimes bulk rolls contain an undisclosed seam that must be cut out if you encounter it, and again, you experience some "waste" in material. Usually the cost savings for buying in bulk more than offsets any extra material you end up with.

Another method, and this is ideal for a one-man shop, is to order continuous sanding belts that are a few inches longer than the length you require. Most often, custom sized sanding belts can be made up in multiples of only three or four, which makes them less of an investment than a whole box of precut strips or an entire 50 yard roll! Once you receive the belts, simply cut the joint away and angle the ends to match the circumference on your cylinder.

Whichever technique you choose to wrap your drum, make sure that you use a high-quality, cloth backed abrasive with a resin bond. You do not want to use a lesser quality abrasive than you would use on a belt sander, so avoid shop rolls that are manufactured with a glue bond!

For more information, give us a call at 800-814-7358 or visit us online at:

June 27, 2007

Refinishing Wood Cutting Boards

Sand your wood cutting boards once a year to get rid of stains & nicks! Just wrap a sheet of 120 grit aluminum oxide "cabinet" paper around a block of wood (which sands more evenly than using the paper alone) and give the board a good sanding. Use a rag (or compressed air, if you have access to some...) to clean the 120 grit particles off and resand your cutting board with a 220 grit sheet of aluminum oxide sandpaper. Once again, clean all the dust and particles from the wood and wash in hot, soapy water.

Once the board has completely dried, rub it with a food-grade mineral oil from the drugstore or hardware store to reseason. Let the oil soak in and repeat, until the wood cannot absorb any more oil!

To purchase sanding sheets, check out our online store at :

January 12, 2007

Finish Sanding Wood

Make sure you know the type of wood you are finishing before you start sanding...the type of wood you are sanding has a direct relationship to the grit used for the final sand! Soft woods such as pine and fir & closed grain hardwoods such as cherry, maple, birch and alder should be sanded with a 150 or 180 grit prior to the application of a finish. Open grained hardwoods like oak, ash, mahogany and walnut can often be finish sanded with a 220 grit.

The coarser the final grit size used, the darker the finish when using stain. Conversely, the finer the grit size, the lighter the finish will be. This also comes into play when sanding end grain. Always sand end grain one or two grades finer than the rest of the wood. Because end grain will take stain more readily than face grain (like coarser finished wood), by sanding to a finer finish you'll close the grain up a little and it won't accept as much of the stain.

Always test your finish sanding on a scrap piece of wood if possible. This will determine the correct sequence of sanding steps you need to achieve the desired color. Unfortunately, once the stain or color has been applied to your work, the only way to get it back off is to strip or sand it off and start all over again!

Questions? Give us a call at 800-814-7358 or visit us online at:

Basic Sanders

The basic styles of portable sanders haven’t changed very much over the years. We have some old advertising posters from the Rockwell Manuf...