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  • Just Once, Please!

    Following in the train of our recent series on avoiding sanding, we thought it pertinent to pass along this sage advice as well: "If you MUST sand, do it once!" Seems obvious, but admit it, we've all had to go back and do it again. So this blog is about doing it right the first time!

    This starts with proper preparation. Masking off areas where glue may squeeze out is a good first step. If glue does squeeze out, DO NOT wipe it away! Even using water, it is nearly impossible to get the glue out of the pores. Better to let it dry most of the way, and carefully remove the drops with a sharp knife or chisel. Best of all is to use the correct amount of glue and eliminate the squeeze out altogether!

    When finish sanding, use a low angle light source to expose scratches. The light should be set to shine directly across the top surface of the sanding area. This will cause darker shadows where scratches are hiding. It is a simple trick, but try it and you will see how well it works. Scratches you miss when sanding will instantly appear as soon as stain is applied!

    Lastly, choose your "fixes" carefully. Fillers rarely match the grain perfectly, and even more rarely take stains and finishes exactly as bare wood will. Also, filling small gaps with glue and then sanding dust into the glue is an old Woodworker's trick for hiding flaws. But remember that when this trick was created, animal hide glue was the norm! It will absorb stains and finishes, but modern PVA glues will not!

     

    We always want your input and encourage you to share your tips, tricks and questions by commenting here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

     

  • Three Tips for Better Millwork

    In the last blog post I discussed how better saw set ups can minimize sanding and make better joinery. This time around, lets look at three ways you can achieve much better (read smoother) cuts when cutting millwork on the router table. The three methods share a common thread, that of eliminating vibration. Vibration is he enemy of smooth cuts. Vibration shows up as scallops in your cut profile, and especially when making moldings, sanding these out can be a lot of work.


    The first tip is to create a "Zero Clearance" opening in the fence, essentially burying the cutter in a sacrificial face on the fence. This supports the stock being cut right at the point where the bit exits the wood so tear out is pretty well eliminated. The extended face also supports the stock right up to the bit so vibration is reduced as well.

    The second technique is pretty simple too. You want to insure proper dust collection, especially at the fence. chips not being effectively removed from the cutting area create two problems: First, chips can get caught between the carbide edge and the stock so that they get 'slammed' into the stock creating vibration and leaving tiny dents that need to be sanded out later. Second, the excess chips can get caught between the stock and the fence which keep the part slightly away from the fence which also increases vibration by removing support. Having adequate airflow through the fence removes the chips and the problems they can cause.

    Lastly, runout will cause vibration and lead to more sanding. Runout is the small side to side movement allowed by the bearings in a shaft. EVERY rotating tool has some, but worn bearings or a bent shaft increases runout to unacceptable proportions. Insuring that your router is in good repair is important to getting the best cut. Checking your collet for dirt and grime helps too. excess dirt in the collet cause the bit to not seat properly increasing runout as well. Finally, there are times when you will need to use an extension. Just remember that every part added to the tool shaft has it's own runout, and these tiny measurements add up. Careful set up can help minimize the results.
    I say it with each blog post, but we are always eager to hear from all of you as well, so feel free to comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • Clean Cuts = Less Sanding

    In an ideal world, sanding is a finishing task only. A real drywall pro can 'mud' the screws and joints on a wall so that it requires just a quick sand before painting. I typically have to sand and re-apply the joint compound several times before I am ready for paint. I know fiberglass crews that can do much the same in their medium. And frankly, as a woodworker, I can do the same.

     

     

    Nearly anyone can cut two pieces of wood and join them together, but to cut them so that the joint is clean, strong and requires little to no filling and sanding requires attention to detail. Insuring that the saw is well tuned, with the blade set exactly parallel to the miter slot, and that the miter gage is set accurately all contribute to being able to create tight fitting, clean joints that require virtually no clean up after gluing.

     

     

     

    Here I am cutting a series of 22 1/2 degree angles to create an octagon as a test of the accuracy of my miter gage. The octagon will clearly show even a small deviation in the angle of the cuts since any error is multiplied by the number of cuts. Once the parts are dry fit together, it becomes very apparent that the cuts are very clean and fit together extremely well. In this case, any sanding of the joints would likely harm the fit rather than help.

     

     

    Any tool in your shop will cut cleaner and with greater accuracy when properly maintained and tuned. And never forget the blade or bit you are cutting with! the blade is where 'the rubber meets the road' and just like car tires, using the right blade for the material and cut will greatly enhance your fit and finish. Yes, we sell sanding supplies, and yes we want to sell more of them to you. We just figure that if you work more efficiently, you will have more need of, and cash for, more sanding supplies!

     

    Share your tips and tricks for reducing sanding around your workplace. You can comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • How to Not Sand

    The most efficient way to sand is to do less of it!

    Ok, it's true. We ARE a sanding supplies company, and we DO want to sell more sanding products, not less. But we also know that if we can save you time and money, either through selling you more efficient tool/supplies OR by giving you advice on how to sand more efficiently (or better yet, less), then hopefully we will gain your trust, loyalty, and a few of the dollars we are saving you!

    Coincidentally, I noticed this past week a thread on a woodworking forum where a member was asking about strippers. (no, PAINT strippers) His wife wanted a painted kitchen even though the kitchen doors, factory stained and coated cherry, were only a few years old. Obviously his wife watches way too much DIY TV, but after all the ribbing he took about the crime of painting cherry, the general consensus was NOT to try and strip the doors completely, but to clean, lightly sand and paint over the existing top coat.

    And this advice is good. Since these are UV Cured, factory coated doors. The finish on them is very good. It would take a LOT of work to remove all the finish, then sand and seal the wood for painting. Why not skip the intermediate steps and use the existing top coat as the base? I did just this a few years back for the cabinets in my home shop. These were NOT nice cherry doors, these were the awful 1987 tract-house cabinets that came with my home. I had removed them when remodeling the kitchen, and put several of them up in my shop to add some much needed storage.

    They were kind of grim, but I hit on the idea of painting the fields with chalkboard paint so I could use them for notes, cut lists and such around the shop.  Turned out to be a great idea, and highly useful. But being a bit lazy, I did not strip or sand the doors completely, I cleaned them well with TSP, then scuff sanded the areas to be painted, masked and sprayed away.

    We will be continuing this thread of saving sanding effort (without sacrificing quality) over the next blog or two, so as ever, we invite (beg) you to share your tips. You can comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • The Things We Do to Sand

    Maybe it's because it is Labor Day Weekend, I don't know, but I have been thinking a lot recently about the labor we put into sanding. Sanding should be simple, right? I mean seriously, glue some tiny sharp bits onto a piece of paper and rub away! But we all know it is not nearly that simple. There are different grits, abrasives, backers, glues, motions, pressures, wet sanding, dry sanding, even the shape of the grit can mean the difference in the sheen of a sanded surface. And what you need to sand is just as important as what you use to sand it.

     

    For a simple idea, it can get very complicated. And maybe that is why there are so many tips, tricks and articles devoted to sanding. I typed "sanding" into the YouTube Search bar and got "about 311,000 results"! Three hundred and eleven THOUSAND videos have been created about sanding! So over the next few blogs, I want to have a conversation about sanding tips, tricks and techniques, and I want to start with favorite tips to avoid doing it in the first place! What sort of tips can you share about not having to sand or at least re-sand, whatever it is you are working on?

     

    I'll give you an example: I needed to attach some parts on a recent project using wood pins. First, I used a backer block when drilling the holes for the pins. This keeps the bit from damaging the wood around the hole as it exits. Then, I put a piece of painter's tape over the hole before driving the pin in. The tape helps prevent my saw or chisel scratching the stained surface as I trim the pin flush. Simple steps that can save a bunch of aggravation along the way.

     

    So this is your chance to chime in with your solutions. What tips do you have to share for preventing or at least reducing the sanding chores around your work place? You can share by commenting here on this blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • We Love THIS Stuff Too!

    Ok, we've admitted it before. We tend to think mostly about sanding supplies as they relate to woodworking because that is our background. We do know that many of our customers are using the supplies they buy from us for finishing other materials and in other industries. We even shared some cool non-woodworking videos in our Newsletter a while back. But every so often, one of you will share with us some photos of your work, and it really brings home the point that you are not all working in wood!

    by WizWurx

    That happened this week, when Kevin from WizWurx sent us a very nice appreciation note. Kevin makes custom aluminum door sills for Chevy Trailblazers. He writes: "Got my order today.  Thank you for the great price and fast shipping on a hard to find product.  I'm sure I'll be ordering more from you soon.  This is the piece that I make, an aluminum door sill for the Chevy Trailblazer SS which is powder coated and polished." And he shared a photo of his work. We think they are pretty cool, and we just love it when you folks share this stuff with us!

    by Harold Ruthig

    So we thank Kevin for being a customer, for his kind words and for sharing his work with us, and we encourage all of you to share as well! Wood turners seem to be the most willing to share photos, but we are pretty sure that among our customer base there is a LOT of cool stuff being made, fixed or modified. You can share your photos (or just comments) with us by commenting here on this blog, through our  Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • Cranial Download

    Ralph Bagnall of Consultingwoodworker.com is guest blogging this week.

     

    As I mentioned in the last blog post, the International Woodworking Fair is next month in Atlanta, and I had promised to talk this week about the educational opportunities at the show.  This year there are more than 50 seminars being presented during the show itself, and even a handful of all-day symposiums (symposia?) available for the day before the show.

    These educational opportunities cover a huge range of topics from spot repair touch up techniques, to business marketing to pricing strategies.  There is also a "Tech Theatre" on the show floor where companies will be giving short (20 minute) demos and instruction throughout the show.

     

    From color matching to 3D printing, if you have questions or need to learn more about nearly any aspect of your woodworking business, someone at IWF is there to help you learn.

    I will be attending the show, and will be on the lookout for new sanding supplies, techniques or machines to share with you. I'll be sharing via the 2Sand Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as presenting an overview of the show here in the blog. So feel free to sign up to receive this info in whatever form you prefer.

    And if you know of any products that will be debuting at the show that are of interest, let me know, I'll try to find them and share info!

    You can perform your 'cranial download' here, on our new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • The "Really Big Show"

    Ralph Bagnall from ConsultingWoodworker.com is guest blogging this week!

    As you probably already know, the 2014 International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta is a month away. If you have never attended one of these shows, I highly recommend doing so. Even if you are not in the market to buy new equipment, it is worth the time and money just for the knowledge and inspiration.

    Companies from all over the world will be there showing off their latest offerings, promoting new machines, technologies and materials. I have been to the last several shows and never come away empty handed although I've never bought anything at the show. (My wife scored a really lovely leather handbag for $40.00 in 2012, but thats a story for another time.)

    You may not know this, but as an attendee, you do not need to simply wander the show floor looking into booths as you walk by. The IWF website lets you schedule appointments with vendors you want to speak with. Many larger vendors will host receptions and events throughout the show and you can ususally wrangle an invite. These are great opportunities to talk about solutions you need when you have the full attention of your host. Last time, I got invited to such a reception at Rockler's booth after the show closed and got to chat with Ian Kirby!

    I also never fail to be inspired by walking the show floor.  It is difficult not to be surrounded by so many new ideas, technologies and products. I also highly recommend paying attention the the Challenger Awards (given to the most innovative new products) and the Design Emphasis Awards. These are given to woodworking school students and the finalist projects are on display on the show floor. There are always some amazing pieces on display showing a lot of new talent entering the marketplace.

    But IFW is also an opportunity to learn new things in a more formal way. Next post, I will be writing about the various seminars, symposiums and demonstrations that run all during the show. In the meantime, if there are any particular new technologies or products you want to know more about, let us know! I'll be happy to share what I see at the show for those who may not be able to attend. Feel free to comment on this blog, on the new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • Where do you Sand?

    We are always looking for new ways to hear from you, our customers. We always want to hear what you have to say and what you want from us. This week, WoodWeb has a sanding poll running. They are gathering information on what machines you use for sanding and what abrasives you use. The cool part is that once you enter your votes and click the "Submit" button, you can see the actual results!

     

    We have not resorted to polls on here or Facebook or whatever, but we do try to offer you as many ways of communicating with us as possible so you can let us know what we can do to better serve you. I say it all the time in the newsletter and this blog, but you can leave comments here, post to our Facebook wall, Tweet us on Twitter, send an email to: RW@2sand.com, or even walk into our new store and talk to us face to face! We try to respond as quickly as possible when folks do try to communicate with us.

     

    Time for a new one?

     

    As you know from perusing our site, we carry a wide selection of sanding sheets, pads and belts in all sorts of sizes and grits. But did you also know that we can also make custom belts to your specifications? If you have an older, specialized or custom machine that is difficult to stock belts for, we can help.

     

    So remember, let us know anytime you need something special, or just want to tell us how we are doing:  Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

  • All Hands on Deck!

    No, we are not going sailing, we are referring here to your home's deck. Summer is approaching and your deck may need some maintenance and care so you can enjoy it all Summer long. Our friend Robert Robillard at "A Concord Carpenter" has a lot of great deck care, maintenance and repair advice that will guide you along the way.

    If your deck just needs a bit of refreshing, you may only need to power wash it and apply a new sealer coat. A Concord Carpenter shows you how with Thompson's Water Seal in this issue of his blog. He offers some great power-washing advice in the Deck Sanding post he published, along with advice on chemical cleaners.

    In his deck sanding blog, guest written by Olger Fallas Painting (photo left) Robert recommends using the lowest pressure that is effective to minimize potential wood damage when pressure washing, and avoiding chlorine based cleaners as they will damage and bleach the wood. For sanding, he recommends using 60-80 grit for the deck surface. Sanding the boards too smooth can interfere with the absorption of the stain and sealer. Of course, at 2Sand.com we have all of the sanding supplies you may need to get your deck ready for refinishing!

    But what if your deck needs a bit more attention than cleaning or sanding? Well, A Concord Carpenter can help there too! Robert has a whole category for decks including info on identifying and correcting more serious issues such as rot, improper construction and safety concerns.

    As always, we welcome your input too! What are your deck tips and tricks? share them with us by commenting on this blog, on the new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com

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