Many pieces of furniture carefully assembled in hobby workshops across America are less than perfect because the woodworker failed to correct defects in the wood before completing the project. Sanding is one step that, although seemingly small, can make a huge difference in the overall quality of the item. Here are some tips that will help you make the best of what you’ve got to work with, wood wise.
1) Fix Bruises Before Beginning.
Flat pieces of wood often have indentations where pressure has been applied over a small area. These are known as bruises. If not addressed early in the woodworking project, these dents can spoil an otherwise wonderful piece of work. Just apply some water to the bruised area and let the wood absorb it. This will allow the wood fibers to swell, which will in many cases undo the damage and eliminate the bruise. Sand the area back to an even finish after the wood has completely dried.
2) Keep Sanding When Saw Marks Disappear.
Saw marks and those left by the planer will vanish fairly quickly when you begin sanding, but will reappear when the finish is applied unless you sand beyond that point where you can no longer see them. Sanding a little longer is one way to ensure the finished product will be as beautiful as intended. A little elbow grease now beats ruining your piece later, or living with saw marks where you don’t want them.
3) Always Sand With The Grain.
On long flat surfaces, a block of cork or soft wood can be used to apply an even amount of pressure over the length of the piece. Curved surfaces can be sanded by folding a quarter sheet of sandpaper three times. Use only the pressure of your fingers. Remember that the final finish is going to reflect the quality of your sanding, so be thorough and diligent with this step.
4) Sand First, Assemble Second.
Always sand the pieces of your project before they are assembled, especially when a corner is going to be created. It’s almost impossible to adequately sand a corner after it has been assembled, so think ahead and sand appropriately along the way.
5) Protect your fingers.
Cut the thumb and first two fingers off of an old pair of lightweight leather gloves, and use the cut off pieces as finger cots. This will allow your hand a full range of finger motion while protecting your nails and skin from becoming sore while using sandpaper or emery cloth.
Source by Janelle Kleppin