The Only 3 Sandpapers You Really Need | SANDING BASICS

Even if it's a rough "coarse"
you'll get a "fine" grade in– –Micro Jig. Maker
of the Grr-Ripper. Work safer. Work smarter. Hey, it's everyone's favorite
part of woodworking. Sanding! And by everyone, I mean nobody. Sanding and sandpaper
is a big subject. Big enough that there are actually
entire books devoted to the topic. Seriously. Think about that if people
find your hobbies and interests odd. But I'm going to limit this
video to the most common things you'll use in a home workshop. All sandpaper, whether it's a sheet
or for a power sander comes in varying degrees of coarseness.

The bigger the number, the
smoother or finer the paper. And there's a lot of grades available. Thankfully, you don't need
them all for woodworking. I recommend keeping just
three on hand, and in roughly these proportions. 220 and 80 grit combined
make up about half my stock and 120 grit makes up
the other half. Technically, 80 grit sandpaper
is considered a medium grit, but I consider it coarse in my shop
because I don't use anything rougher. It's great for quickly removing
sections of wood.

This is especially useful if you,
say, joined a couple of boards together that aren't quite flush. 80 grit is aggressive enough
that you can use it for shaping and carving. It's also great for
rounding over sharp edges. Sometimes the faces of boards
may have scratches or dents which are easy to
remove with coarse paper. And 80 grit is useful for stripping
paint and other finishes. It might take a bit longer, but
the sanding tasks I just mentioned can also be
done with 120 grit paper. For some shaping tasks it's
a better choice since it's less aggressive you can maintain
better control over the smoothing. It's also a good option if you just need
to ease over sharp edges slightly. Unless there are major gouges,
or dents, or uneven spots 120 is often the only grit of
sandpaper I use on my projects once they're assembled.

It's the best of both worlds.
It evens out rough areas and smooths the wood to a
finish ready surface. Of course, there are exceptions.
For instance, after sanding with 120, I will sand wood even
smoother with 220 grit paper if I'm going to apply an oil
finish such as tung oil. But if you're going to apply
lacquer or polyurethane I see no need to waste the
time sanding the wood any further than 120. The finish itself is what's going to
give you its silky smooth feel. And if you're painting a project, you
can relax about almost all sanding. Just sand out the dents and
unevenness and imperfections, and the paint will do the rest.

Keep in mind that most fine grit
sandpapers are for finishing and not usually used
on bare wood. Sure you can work your way
through all the grits of sandpaper all the way up to 1200 grit
if you like, and you're project will feel incredibly silky smooth,
and you'll love it. But you'll want to apply a
protective finish to most projects which will cancel out all that
sanding work you did. Again, an exception might be
for tung oil or linseed oil which will soak into the wood. Note that I don't include Danish oil
here which is a polyurethane blend. I use 220 grit sandpaper for
sanding between coats of polyurethane finish so that
each layer can bond to the next. For lacquer, the finish I use
the most, you don't need to sand between coats because
each layer fuses to the next.

After applying a few coats
of lacquer, I lightly sand the surface with 220 paper
before applying the final coat. This is really important for
removing any drips and especially all those little bumps
and dust particles you can feel when you rub your hand
over the surface. A light sanding before applying
the final coat of any finish is what separates a good
finish from a great feeling finish. Also, do the same thing for
small painted projects– toys and such. Lightly sand
the paint before applying a second or final coat, and
you'll be amazed at how different the surface feels. Here's how to fold a sheet
of sandpaper and extend its life by keeping the grit
from rubbing against itself. The least expensive way to
sand is to buy sheets of sandpaper and sand by hand. You can wrap the sandpaper
around a sanding block, or you could just use your
hand as a sanding block. But for most projects, hand sanding
will get old really quick. Instead, consider buying
a random orbit sander. This is the most useful and
versatile sander you can own.

Its motion is called random orbit
because it doesn't just spin, but moves around in random
directions helping to prevent circular sanding
scratches on your work. It uses sandpaper disks that attach
with hook and loop or Velcro. These holes are there to suck up
a lot of the sanding dust as you're sanding. It either collects into this container,
or you can attach a vacuum hose. Sanding is a no brainer. Just flip the switch, and move the
sander around the surface of your work. A random orbit sander can cover
large surfaces such as tabletops pretty quickly.

Check your progress
with you hand until it feels smooth. Also, examine the wood from
a low angle to see if there's any imperfections you might have missed. This is a belt sander. It's super
aggressive, and I don't recommend it for much woodworking. It's
very easy to gouge your work piece and often causes more
damage than it's worth. It's best for construction projects
or very rough carpentry where you need to remove
a lot of material fast. Or just for racing. [lauging]
Well, that was pretty fun. That alone might be a good
enough reason to buy a belt sander.

One way you can use it effectively
in a woodworking shop is to mount it upside down
and take the work piece to it. That'll give you
a lot more control. I have two benchtop sanders that
are relatively inexpensive and very handy to have. First, this
combination strip sander disk sander. If you're interested in
getting a benchtop sander this is the one I recommend. It's my
go to sander for all kinds of tasks. I often use the disk for shaping
and removing material. It's especially handy for sanding
off ridges left by band saw cuts and for sanding curved pieces
down to exact lines. One of its main benefits is
that it has a tilting table. This helps you keep your
pieces square while sanding, or you can tilt it to create bevels. When I first bought this sander
about 15 years ago, I thought I would probably never have a need
for this one inch belt sander on the side, but as it turns out,
wow, that is very handy to have.

You can use the table to help
you sand wood, but mostly I tend to sand freehand up here for hard
to reach spots and even to carve shapes. And it's really handy for
grinding and sharpening tools. One limitation is that you can't sand
inside curves with a disk sander. For a hand sanding solution, you
could wrap sandpaper around a dowel or a can, or you can
get these various diameter sanding drums that fit
into a drill or a drill press.

You can also get pretty good
results with a random orbit sander if the curve isn't too tight. A number of years ago, a
viewer to this show sent me this oscillating spindle sander which
makes sanding inside curves a breeze. It comes with a number of
different sizes of spindles that are easy to change out.
It has a spinning up and down movement to maximize all
the paper and reduce circular scratch patterns in your board. Sanders are some of the safest
power tools in the shop with one exception. The fine
sawdust that sanding creates. Aside from the short demos in
this video, whenever I'm sanding I make sure that I have good
airflow through my shop, and I attach my
shop-vac to the tool. And I always wear
a filter mask. So, that just scratches the surface ha, of sanding. There are all kinds
of sanders I didn't mention and even more techniques
and uses for sandpaper.

What are your favorite
sanding tips and tricks? Leave them down in the comments
so you can help out others. If you enjoyed this video, please
take a moment to share it and subscribe to Woodworking For Mere
Mortals for new videos every week. And if you're just getting started,
be sure to check out the rest of my basics series. Thanks for
watching everybody. I'll see you next week..

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