Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Using and Re-Using Sandpaper

  I've seen many discussions recently concerning the use of sandpaper, and one of the widely circulated axioms of wisdom seems to be, "Use it up, and throw it away!"  The idea is to prevent the unknowing from overloading and using a bit of sandpaper beyond its useful life.

  What is often missing in this advice is precisely how to extend the life of one's sandpaper. Of course, it does wear out, but there are a couple of things I've been taught to prevent having to buy stock in a company that produces the stuff.  First off, here's a photo of a handy storage system that can be carried around the shop to different workstations. It's helpful in not having to search through piles of used pieces.

It is simply a piece of 3/4" plywood with 1/8" wide grooves cut into it on the table saw.

   For a fine finish, it is important that a new sheet of sandpaper be gently raked over a sharp edge of something like a table saw, or the front edge of the ways on a lathe before use. Even drawing the paper over the square edge of a board will help to make the uneven distribution of granules on its surface become a more consistent size. The old rule of increasing the sanding grits in stages and not skipping a reasonable grit is sound advice,  and gently drawing each one over a sharp edge helps to give a smoother surface to the abrasive, so going from grit to grit in stages will leave fewer gouges from use of the previous grit. 

  It is also important to clean off the remaining sanding dust from the workpiece before starting with the next grit of sandpaper.  And here is the real secret to extending the life of all those used bits of paper:  a crepe block placed near your work, so when the sandpaper becomes loaded it can quickly be drawn across the crepe block and doesn't become so overloaded with dust that it is ineffective.

This particular crepe block comes attached to a plastic base that can be screwed down near a bench area, or screwed onto an independent block of wood and clamped near multiple work stations.  I found this one at Klingspor.

 With the two of these devices set up near the lathe, sanding becomes an efficient process that is highly repeatable and not the nerve-wracking, disorganized effort so many people seem to make it.

  I'd also like to mention a great resource for sanding advice of all kinds, from the Wood Central archives of Russ Fairfield, a well-known wood turner and teacher who recently passed away and is much missed.

©Barb Siddiqui, use with permission only


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Humble Box by BarbSWoodworks on Etsy

Here's a link to a new Treasury I've put together on Etsy, of many talented woodworkers' artworks.
Take a moment to view their fine work!

The Humble Box by BarbSWoodworks on Etsy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Website Products

I've been busy making new products for the website, and have many more ideas waiting in the wings!
 See them at:  BarbS Woodworks

Friday, June 3, 2011