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  • Getting Fit Part 2

    Continuing our efforts from the previous blog, we have a fan-like drawing stuck on a piece of 1/4" ply to use as our template. Now we need to cut it out so it can be used as a template to cut some hook material for our power sanding block and, ultimately, the loop backed disks.

    I started by drilling 1/8" holes at the point of each 'dart' that needs to be cut. This just makes it easier and cleaner when cutting up to the point. I cut the circle out on the band saw and then cut all the darts to finish the cutting template.

    Next, I clamped the template to my bench with my PSA backed hook material trapped in between. Again, I cut around the circle, then notched out the darts. Use a fresh blade in whatever knife you are using, and cut firmly to obtain clean cuts. The clamped parts will need to be rotated, to get under the clamp, so be careful not to mis-align the template and material as you do.

    With the hook part cut, it can be applied to the hemisphere. Getting the center of the hook properly located on the apex of the dome is important, so take the time to get it right. Start sticking the hook down in the center and work opposite 'legs' down from center out. Be careful to press them flat, but do not try to stretch the hook tight by pulling, the tension caused will tend to pull the legs loose over time. (Don't ask how I know this!)

    PSA adhesives are generally formulated to set in 24 hours, so I taped all the legs tight  on the block and left it to set. Like most things in woodworking, patienIn the meantime, please feel free to comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.comce is key. So while you are waiting for the glue to set and for the next blog, please feel free to comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Getting Fit

    Nope, this is NOT about weight loss, exercising or New Year's resolutions. It IS about fitting sanding disks to odd shaped power sanding blocks. In a previous blog, I posted links to a couple of videos showing how to fashion your own power sanding mandrels. These were all basically flat mandrels, but have inspired me to try my hand at creating custom shaped power sandal blocks on the lathe. We will be posting a new video covering all of this on our YouTube channel soon.

    The first lesson I learned from this process is that circular sanding disks do not lay flat on hemispherical surfaces! I needed a way to figure out how to "dart" the disk to fit best on the domed surface of the block.

    I began by drawing lines from the center of the dome 1-1/2" down to mark out the final position of the disk edge. With four of these lines, I was able to measure the actual circumference of the dome where the disk would end up. This one measured 8-9/16". Of course, the disk circumference is about 9-7/16", So I needed to cut away several "V" sections from the disk, totaling 7/8" I created a drawing representing this, and pasted it to a scrap of plywood.

    The next step will be to cut this template out and use it to cut a piece of PSA hook material to mount on the block. The template will also be used to cut the "darts" in my 3" hook and loop disks to fit. So far, I'm pleased with the results of all this. Stay tuned to see how this all works out, and if you want to try this on your own, we will be posting a full video once I work out all the bugs!

    In the meantime, please feel free to comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Resolved:

    2015 is upon us, and 2014 is rapidly drawing to a close. This has been an exciting year for us, with moves and lots of other changes. We are looking forward to 2015 and have noticed a few things that we want to improve upon for the new year:

    First and foremost, with all of the changes, we have to admit that the blog has been a bit lackluster. Looking back through the archives, we noticed a distinct lack of the sort of how-to based posts we used to run. They are fun to do and popular with readers, so we resolve to do more of these in the coming year!
    With the physical store, we are looking at adding some new product lines that we think will complement our current offering nicely. Any suggestions those of you nearby the store would like to suggest will be given due attention.
    Lastly, we are known for our customer service, and we resolve to not lose that reputation. Nothing that we do is more important to us than keeping you happy. We know full well that you have many options for buying sanding supplies, and we appreciate that you buy from us!

    So stay tuned to this blog in the coming months, we are planning to start the new year with some useful turning projects that will be helpful for finish sanding you might need to do in the future. And please feel free to contact us with suggestions for information or how-to articles you would like to see. Feel free to contact us by commenting on this blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • Save Steps and Time

    While I generally prefer hook and loop backed sanding disks for their quick change convenience as I work through the grits, there are times when PSA disks are preferable. One of these cases is when power sanding bowls on the lathe using small disks. Depending on the shape of the vessel being sanded, it can be quite strenuous, with a lot of heat being generated with both the work and the pad spinning. Cloth backed disks are my choice for tasks like this since they tend to be more durable than paper backed and are less prone to being torn off when engaging the work at an odd angle.

    Woodturners of Southwest Missouri

    The issue with PSA of course, is that the disks are pretty impossible to re-use. You can buy multiple mandrels and keep each outfitted with a different grit, but even then, you need to chuck and un-chuck each mandrel as you switch pads. It would be a real time saver if you could use a quick change hex shank system like with driver bits. Well, you can!

    Kevin Krull

    I found several videos online from various people on YouTube describing ways to turn your own mandrels using longer hex shank bits. The lathe allows for making the body for whatever size pad you want to use, (we sell 1", 2" and 3" PSA disks) and even center drill the hole for inserting the hex shank. When combined with a quick change holder, your drill-driver can be used for power sanding and you can change from one grit to another nearly instantly.

    Robbie the Woodturner

    I love YouTube for all the information there as well as the inspiration! These videos have given me some ideas for other turned pad holders. I feel a video series coming on, stay tuned!

    Be sure to send along your questions, suggestions and ideas, we always want to hear from you. You can comment on this blog, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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