How to Sand Wood: Step by Step Guide for Beginners with VIDEO

Have you ever heard anyone saying that he loves sanding?

I don’t think so.

Nobody loves or enjoys sanding. That’s because it’s plain boring. But we still need to do it.

To make matters worse, this tedious task can get difficult if you start sanding without gathering some basic knowledge about the process.

Here we step in. In this post, we are going to talk about sanding, the materials you need, the different ways of sanding, and much more.

But before we delve into the details, let’s get to know what sanding actually is.

What Is Sanding and Why We Need to Sand Wood? 

Sanding is the process of smoothing surfaces through continuous grinding with sandpaper. You can do it both manually and with the help of power tools.

But why sanding woods is necessary?

Here I will list the reasons why you need to sand woods.

To Get Rid of Splinters

Splinters can hurt. Badly.

For this reason, you need to remove any sharp projections so as to prevent them from turning into splinters.

And how can you do that?

Yes, you are absolutely right; by sanding.

Polishing the Surface

The uneven surface doesn’t make a good appearance. It makes your work look unprofessional and can even ruin your entire project.

That’s why you need to smooth the wood surface to give the workpiece a better look.

And sanding is the ideal option to polish your workpiece and make it visually appealing.

To Get the Wood Ready for Painting

You can’t do painting on rough surfaces. To paint a beautiful picture, you need a smooth and even surface. That’s why you will need to sand the wood to prepare it for painting.

For Giving the Workpiece Round Edges

Often you will find yourself wanting to give the wood a few round edges or some other shapes. And there’s no other better way than sanding to create edges around the wood.

To Peel Off the Old Finish

Suppose, you want to change the appearance of one of your furniture or wooden tools. The first thing you will need to do is to remove the original finish.

And grinding with sandpaper is one of the most effective ways to scrub off the old finish.

Different Sanding Techniques For Beginners 

There are various ways to sand woods. The most popular methods are:

1. Sand Wood with An Electric Sander 

A wide range of electric sanders is available for the sanding process. And the best part is each of them offers something different from the others.

For example, if you wish to cut a lot of woods in a short time, you need to go with belt sanders. Because they work fast and take a very little amount of time to remove material.

However, if you want to give your workpiece a smooth finish, then the palm sander is your guy. Palm sanders are geared towards precision and ideal for polishing.

For something versatile, you can choose random orbital sanders as they can do both finishing and stock removing.

Nonetheless, for creating curves and angles, my preferred option is the oscillating spindle sander.

That said, electric sanders are the most expensive option on this list. Some of the sanders can cost you upwards of 100$.

But the biggest advantage of getting an electric sander is that it saves you a ton of time. Unlike other methods, it doesn’t need hours to get the desired results.

So, if you are someone who values time over money, then I’d suggest that you get yourself a quality sander.

Materials We Need:

  • An electric sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Hearing protection
  • Face mask
  • Plastic

Step by Step Guide to Complete the Whole Process 

Step 1: Cover furniture, curtains, and other things with plastic to protect them from debris and sawdust.

Step 2: Wear the hearing protection to prevent ear damage.

Step 3: Put on the face mask to protect yourself from all the sawdust that escapes the dust collector.

Step 4: Make sure that the dust collection system is working before you start. If needed, hook the machine with a vacuum system to further ensure a mess-free working environment.

Step 5: Set the machine at your preferred speed. If you are a beginner, start slow. It would help you to reduce mistakes.

Step 6: Fire up the sanding machine and start grinding.

Step 7: Once you are done with the sanding, turn the machine off and empty the dust bag.

2. Sanding wood by Hand

As you can guess, you’ll need to use your hand for this method.

Nonetheless, it’s also the least expensive method since you don’t need anything other than a few rolls of sandpaper. Sandpapers of varying grits will be needed for this method.

In this process, you’ll scrape away the material by grinding the sandpaper against the wood with your own hand.

Needless to say, it’ll take much more effort and time than working with electric sanding machines.

Materials We Need:

  • Sandpapers of varying grits (80, 120, 220)

Steps of This Process

Step 1: The first thing you need to do is remove materials. And it would be a colossal mistake to remove stock with finer grits.

For finer grits would take too long to cut down the woods. That’s why you need something coarse such as 80 grits.

Nonetheless, if the workpiece doesn’t require you to remove much wood, you can directly skip to the medium grit.

Step 2: Once you have removed most of the material, it’s time to move on to the medium grit. A piece of 120-grit sandpaper should do the job.

Step 3: Finally, you will need sandpaper of fine grit to get rid of all the blemishes and give the workpiece an amazing finish. Keep grinding with the 220-grit sandpaper until you are satisfied with the result.

3. Sanding with The Help of Sanding Block and Putty Knife

This method also includes the usage of hands as you’ll need to push the sanding block against the wood using your own hands.

You can make the sanding block by attaching sandpaper on the bottom of a wood block.

However, the sanding block won’t be able to sand tough corners. For that, you’ll need to employ a putty knife.

Overall, this method can be an ideal method for beginners since it doesn’t take much effort and neither requires you to spend a lot of money.

Materials We Need

  • A block of wood
  • Glue
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper

Step by Step Guide to Complete the Whole Process

Step 1: First, you need to attach the abrasive paper to the block of wood with glue.

Step 2: Next, keep grinding the sanding block against the workpiece. Often, people make the mistake of not changing the sandpapers regularly, which can slow down the entire process.

So, make sure you change the sandpapers when required.

Step 3: Though a sanding block can remove stock, it can’t sand hard-to-reach corners. For that, wrap a piece of sandpaper around a putty knife. And then employ the knife to do corners that the wood block can’t reach.

How to Prepare Wood Before Sanding?

You need to prepare the wood a bit before you start sanding. Here I will talk about the steps you need to take to prepare the wood for the sanding process.

Remove the Dirt

You need to remove all the dirt and oil. If you are sanding hardwood floor, then you need to vacuum clean the entire room before you start sanding.

Pull Out Nails and Fasteners

If there’s a fastener or a nail inside the wood, you need to take it out. Otherwise, they could damage the wood.

Safety Issues to Consider When You Are Sanding Wood

It’s important that you take some precautions to protect yourself during the sanding. Here, we’ll detail the measures you need to take prior to the sanding process.

Wear Hearing Protection

As we all know, if we expose ourselves to excessive noise continuously, then our hearing abilities are bound to deteriorate.

And power tools are anything but quiet. In fact, some of them can be extremely loud and destroy your mental peace.

For this reason, you shouldn’t use a sander without wearing hearing protection.

Face Mask

No sander can ensure a dust-free environment. Dust is bound to find its way out, which can be a huge problem if you work without a face mask.

Not only it can be dangerous for your long-term health, but it can also worsen respiratory problems.

Moreover, the flying mask will also protect your face and eyeballs from flying debris.

Final Words

That’s about all you need to know in order to start your woodturning career.

As I have tried to cover all the important aspects of sanding in this article, I don’t think you should have any problem getting started.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and get some practical knowledge by sanding some wood.

And if you have something that is still bothering you, feel free to let me know in the comment section. I’d be glad to help you out. Gracias.

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