What are some of the tips and tricks for proper sanding techniques? Before beginning to sand a piece of wood you should understand a few important things. First of all, the objective when sanding a piece of wood is to remove unsightly scratches, dents, gouges or other flaws that are commonly found in all pieces of wood. Another objective is simply to produce a piece of wood that is smooth and silky to the touch.
Sanding pieces of wood is a progressive job that begins with a piece of sandpaper with a lower number grit, such as #20 to #50. Once the major abrasions are removed you can then proceed to the medium grit sandpaper, which numbers between #60 and #120. Finally, to reach the smoothness that you desire you use a fine grit sandpaper of #150 or higher.
You will find that wood has various characteristics depending on where it was originally cut. A sawmill that uses a planar with dull knives will require a coarser grit to begin your sanding process. Some sawmills produce wood that is pre-sanded and in this case you will not require that the original course grit to get started. Usually, when you purchase a wood product from a manufacturer that pre-sands their wood you can start your sanding process with a medium grit sandpaper.
You should never use a course grit sandpaper on a pre-sanded piece of wood because you will waste a lot of unnecessary time and energy. It is true, wood that has been pre-sanded will cost you a few more dollars than wood that is not pre-sanded. You will have to make a decision which product is more beneficial for you to purchase.
There are no set rules on sanding techniques except for starting with a lower number grit and proceeding to a higher number grit. A lot depends on how much pressure you apply when sanding and how long you spend on any particular area. These will be personal choices that you will make once you are more experienced in the art of sanding.
Stay tuned for part 2. We will give more great sanding tips for the beginning and advanced woodworker!