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  • The "Really Big Show"

    Ralph Bagnall from 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.

  • 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:, 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Change is Good but not Always Easy

    As I mentioned in the last blog, we are continuing with all of the changes to the family. The websites are revised and updated and we recently switched this blog set up. Don't ask me the details, I really do not know them all, but if you tried to access our blog over the past week or so and had trouble, we apologize. Things should be running smoothly now, but if you do find any hiccups, please be sure to let us know!


    Meanwhile, for those of you who came to us through the site or newsletter, all of that will be changing over to the 2Sand branding. The link is already redirected to, and this month's newsletter will be the final one, if you are on that list, your name will be automatically added to the newsletter list. We are trying to make this all as seamless as possible for you, and we appreciate your patience as we work to become more efficient. We know you are smart consumers (you buy from us after all!) and that you appreciate that our efforts toward efficiency will result in our providing you with the best possible selection and service at the lowest price.


    Meanwhile, we invite you to check out our YouTube Channel and subscribe to it. We just posted another video on how good dust collection is about more than just maintaining a clean work space. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on all the changes, tell us about any issues you may find during the transition, or share whatever is on your mind. We hope to get back to providing more informative content in this blog very soon!

    Contact us by commenting here, the new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • And Now for Something Completely Different

    With a nod to Monty Python, we are pleased to announce the new website! We've been promising big changes and this is the pinnacle of our efforts! We now have a new physical store location, new warehouse, a new YouTube Channel and finally a new website to make your entire shopping experience better.



    The new website features a greatly improved filtering system that allows you to rapidly find exactly what you need. Simply choose a product category on the left side of the site, then filter through sizes and grits until you find what you seek. Just a few clicks and you are there.



    We have also combined our websites as well. You may be familiar with our sister site That site is no longer active as a stand alone. The link now brings you directly to We have decided to simplify everyone's lives by having one stop for all your needs. And for those of you in the Gaithersburg, Maryland area, you can even find a map to our new store!


    We have worked hard to improve our level of service to you and hope that you are as happy with the results as we are. As ever, we invite your comments and observations. Get in touch here on the blog, the new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Tax Day Entertainment

    Yes, it is April 15th as I write this. Tax Day. The magic day when business owners and the self employed get to write not one but TWO checks to our Uncle. One to pay the rest of last years taxes, and another to pre-pay what we hope to earn over the next three months even before we actually earn it! But rather than get ourselves all worked up, we decided to provide a public service to our customers by announcing our new YouTube channel! We have been promising new things for 2014, and this is one of them. has an official YouTube channel. Just one video at the moment, but we plan on adding them regularly.


    Our premier video is on making a dirt simple honing plate for keeping hand tools properly sharp during use. I own and use a power sharpening system, and many folks use water or oil stones for sharpening, and both these options are still needed. But when working at your bench chopping mortises, you need to refresh the edge pretty regularly to work efficiently and keep the cuts clean. I have found that walking back and forth to the sharpening station breaks the 'stride' of my work, and oil or water stones are too messy to keep on my bench while working. So I keep a honing plate on hand for refreshing the edges.


    The honing plate is nothing more than a sheet of wet/dry sandpaper mounted to a scrap of MDF. It provides a smooth level surface for touch ups on my tool edges during use. It is not for setting initial bevels or repairing nicks and other damage, that would take forever. But when I feel my blade is not biting properly, a few seconds on the honing plate gets me right back to work.



    So while you are standing in line at the Post Office waiting to get your returns postmarked, you can kill a couple minutes watching the first of many how-to videos we plan to bring you! We have plans for others, but we also invite you to let us know what you would like to see. Products you want reviewed, techniques you with to learn, whatever. Share your ideas with us and we will add them to the list. As always, you can  share by commenting here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.


    Watch the Video

  • Too Cool to Not Share

    OK, we are a sanding supplies company, and although some people might tell you that all we talk about is sanding, that's not quite true. We do have other interests, and this week proves it. We found out about two new products that are simply too cool not to share.


    The first is a lighted outlet cover that was shared by Pro Tool Reviews called SnapRays. This is one of those ideas you sometimes find that make you wonder why your brain does not work that way! I have a hallway in my house that screams for this, and one or two in my shop would also be welcome. Someone is going to make a fortune off this. I have no idea what they cost, but since they tap off of the brass "hot leads" on the sides of the outlet, there is no actual wiring to do, it's totally DIY!




    The second cool thing we came across was woven veneer. Not strips in a basket weave, but actual veneer cloth. Woodworking Network carried an article this past week about Ki-Ori Tennage, an actual fabric woven from veneer. This is a modern take on a traditional Japanese textile process. What makes it stand out to us is that it is flexible like a fabric, but looks like actual wood even when formed onto 3D shapes. It is expensive and not easy to find yet, but there is a LOT of interesting potential here. I have ordered a sample kit of this new material and am looking forward to getting my hands on it. Not sure if I even have a use for it, but we will see.



    We live in an interesting time when innovation is sometimes hard to keep up with. Fortunately, sharing interesting things with our friends and customers has also never been easier, as proven by the new things you heard about today! We, as always, invite you to share with us as well and we will pass along anything we think is noteworthy. Feel free to share by commenting here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Clever Tips

    It seems clear to us that these blog posts and our newsletter get the most attention and response when we offer tip, tricks and 'How-to" information rather than just our obviously insightful commentary on the world of Sanding Supplies. So a fair amount of my work is scouring the internet to find interesting things to share with you. (My wife has a different term for this work I do, but that is another topic) This week, Wood Magazine came out with a very clever tip on using an electric toothbrush as a tiny detail sander. You can read it here.



    This got me thinking again (see our post on Sandpaper 'Mashups') about clever shop applications for household items, and not just sanding as we discussed in the Mashup blog. Electric carving knives are wonderful for cutting and scultpting foam. Wax paper is a bit outdated in many kitchens but no known glue or finish will stick to it, so I always have a roll in my shop. and way back in 2011, we even posted a blog on using a vacuum freezer bag as a micro veneer press. Toothpicks, chop sticks and cuticle sticks can all be found in my shop along with a seamstress's fabric tape measure. I have had the privlege over the years to be able to measure a number of furniture pieces in museums, and the fabric measure is safer since it is much less likely to scratch, and flexible enough to easily take curved measurements.


    So in our continuing efforts to bring you interesting and relevent information, we always ask you to share your ideas with us too. What clever uses have you found around the shop for common household items? Feel free to share them by commenting here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.



  • Winds of Change

    Wow. This winter has been just brutal all around North America and even our UK friends have been hard hit. I think we are ALL ready for a change, specifically a change to Spring and the milder temperatures it brings!


    But there are other changes afoot as well! We have been hinting around in this blog about changes we are embarking on here at and we can finally begin sharing the information with you! We are well into the opening of a "brick and mortar" storefront for! We secured a facility last year to upgrade our warehousing and shipping operations, and it has proper space for a retail storefront and showroom! We are very excited about this, and we even have a couple of candid shots of the shelving being installed as I write this.


    The physical location will, admittedly, have the most impact for those of you who are geographically close to us, but we believe that this new "click and mortar" organization will have benefits for all our customers. We are looking at not only using this new space for retail sales, but we are also looking into ways to use it as a classroom and a 'hands-on' try-it space as well. We want to devote some space to an area where actual customers can try out sanding supplies or new tools and help us decide which should be included in our product line and which may not be worthy! This real life feedback from end users should allow us to really tailor or lines to the best quality and value products for all our customers.


    Much of this is still sort of nebulous and we are refining these ideas as we move forward, but stay tuned (boy, there is a saying that young people have no idea of it's origin) and we will keep you informed of the progress we are making! As always, we welcome your input. You can contact us by commenting here, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Back To School?

    Last month's post  about trade shows got me thinking about personal and professional developement. It is an issue that is always on my mind. I am convinced that learning does not and should not end with a graduation ceremony. But I have also found that as trades people, we often find ourselves working alone in our shops or with a small circle of co-workers that we interact with regularly. These fairly closed orbits can make it tough for new information and ideas to find their way to us.


    Books of course have always been a big part of learning, and since Guttenburg invented the movable type press, the scope and availablitity of books for learning has continually been improving. Trade shows too, at least the best ones, offer seminars and lectures to help attendees learn new things. And often retailers where we buy our tools and materials offer classes in various subjects of interest to their customers.


    Pre-internet, these were pretty much the range of learning opportunities for trades people outside of formal schooling. But the web has opened up a great many learning opportunities. YouTube is almost like magic these days. Need to know how to adjust the parking brake on a 1985 Mustang? Search YouTube, someone has filmed the process. And through search engines you can find information on nearly any technique, tool, material or process that you wish.


    But it still comes back to you wanting to learn it. In my home woodshop, I like to choose the projects I build not because I know I can do it, but because I am not quite sure I can, and will need to learn new skills to sucessfully complete the job. At that point I can begin scouring YouTube, Google, online forums and such to find what I need. In the last year I attended trade shows, used the internet and even sat in on some seminars presented by vendors to learn new things. One was a day long program (including a nice lunch!) on the current state of 3D printing. That is a technology that is advancing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up to date, but it opened my eyes to a lot of things.


    So where do you go for personal and professional development? You can share your ideas for self improvement by commenting here on this blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

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