Sanding Wood Better and Faster

Sanding Wood Better and Faster

As always been said, the better preparation, the better the outcome, and the faster it’s done. In sanding, the kind of wood, its condition, and the way you intend to finish it afterward all affect how you should sand it.

Sanding wood always follows the same basic procedure: clean up the surface with the coarsest grit you have available. Next, sand everything with a finer grit and repeat the process until the surface has been sanded with the finest grit sandpaper. That’s basically it but there are things to be done in between that make the whole process tedious and bulky.

To help you sand your wood better and faster, here are a few good tips to guide you.

Where to do your sanding?

  • Location. Basically, location is everything. Sanding is a messy job and it can’t be done anywhere else than a safe, uninterrupted, and well-ventilated space. 

Choose a place that won’t be overly busy to work on your wood project, especially when you start sanding your wood. Pets, children, and their friends’’ fingertips could unintentionally leave prints on your finish.

  • Ventilation. For a flawless finish, you might want to get rid of the dust. Sanding dust can still get into your wet stain or finish even if you use an air compressor to blow it off your wood project or brush it onto the floor. Instead, carefully remove it once and for all by using a vacuum’s bristle attachment. Or use a moist cloth to wipe away the dust.

Sanding along with the fibers of the wood

Your wood will develop grooves as you sand it with different grits of sandpaper. Sanding along the fibers of the wood results in less noticeable, shallower grooves.

The finish will be affected if you don’t get rid of all the grooves you made when sanding the wood. Because you won’t require as much time to erase the grooves left by each layer of sandpaper, sanding with the fibers will speed up the entire procedure. The grooves will be deeper and take longer to remove if you sand against the grain.

Sanding with a sandpaper

There are many different grits of sandpaper available, so depending on what you’re sanding and the finish you want to achieve, you’ll want to start with one and end with another.

Generally speaking, you always begin sanding with the coarsest sandpaper grit and work your way up to finer grits. Finer grain sandpapers will eliminate any scratches left by the coarse papers and provide a smooth surface, whilst coarse grit sandpapers will remove significantly more of the wood.

Type of sandpaper to use

There are a few standard grits for woodworking projects that you’ll utilize when sanding.

For example, if you plan on sanding previously painted floors, you might want to start the sanding procedure with a very coarse grit or a medium grit if you are repairing wood furniture and are only prepping it for a new coat of paint or some wood stain.

As the furniture will be painted after sanding, there won’t be much sanding required. Sanding is only intended to slightly roughen the surface so that the paint will have a nice surface to adhere to. You can use 120-grit sandpaper for this, 400-grit sandpaper after the final layer of paint, and 240-grit sandpaper in between applications of paint.

Knowing what grit to use is one thing, investing in a quality one is another. If you’re doing it yourself, you undoubtedly want to cut costs wherever you can, but don’t skimp on the sandpaper.

Cheap sandpaper won’t hold up as well as high-quality paper since it will lose its grit before you’ve even fully started the task. Long-term, you’ll need more sandpaper, which could result in higher costs for you.

Sanding with electric sanders

There are situations where hand sanding wood will produce better results than machine sanding and times when machine sanding is the best option. For example, flat surfaces can be sanded much more quickly and easily with a power tool, while curved or complex regions can be much harder to sand with a mechanical sander.

There are three types of sanders: orbital, belt, and mouse. Each has a unique function as well as advantages and disadvantages.

  • Orbital Sanders. This type of sander moves in a random cylindrical motion. The motion keeps the sandpaper from sanding the same path twice, preventing swirl marks from appearing. When utilizing a random orbital sander, you also don’t have to mind the grain direction.
  • Detail Sanders. Although mouse sanders are the least practical mechanical sanders, they are excellent for sanding furniture and particularly intricate places like tight corners. 

If you’re using a mechanical sander to sand, you should do the final layer by hand because you can get rid of any little scratches that are left behind.

  • Belt Sanders. As the name implies, a belt sander uses sandpaper that is looped and moves continuously like a conveyor belt. They should only be used at the beginning of the sanding process. They are normally powerful and effective for fast sanding of flat surfaces like tables, but they aren’t suitable for fine sanding work.

When it comes to sanding there isn’t a single technique that can be used for all types of wood and furniture, the same as with the use of one sandpaper or sander. Like, sanding small, complicated wood projects is best done by hand. 

Electric orbital or palm sanders are for big, flat surfaces, but can also be dispensed with and for flat surfaces, you can alternatively encircle a scrap piece of wood with your sandpaper. On any wood project other than floors, strong belt sanders can cause more harm than benefit. Usually, they leave behind more scratches than they remove.

No matter how much you loathe it, you’ll never be able to avoid having to sand something. Sanding is an essential step in prepping your woodwork for your DIY project, whether you’re creating your own furniture, patching a hole, or getting some wood ready for painting.