Downstairs Built-ins Extravaganza! #8: Time to stock up on sandpaper!

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Blog entry by BethMartin posted 05-04-2009 04:26 AM 1440 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Making up for lost time. Part 8 of Downstairs Built-ins Extravaganza! series Part 9: Figuring out staining »

Okay, I am done cutting wood for a while. I’ve had about enough of that! Time to start sanding and staining so all these pieces of cabinets are out of the way and I have room to work on more parts. There is wood everywhere!

Here is what I finished up today…

This is the casing for the upper shelves that sit atop the drawers. It is ginormous! So I’ll be staining it before I glue it all together. This is the back of it facing up. The hardest part was fine-tuning the joints so that it all fits snugly. I was carrying those big doubled up shelves back and forth to the garage and they are heavy! I’m looking pretty buff now from the workout I’ve been getting.

This is the molding for the top with a little slot for the rabbet on the plywood. The molding that I’m using on this thing is simply a 45 slice off the corner of a board. I wanted very simple lines on this thing. (I know I need to sand out those saw marks. My saw is really wonky.)

And the molding to go on the bottom. (Don’t mind all the loose pieces, nothing is attached yet.)

So sanding questions…

OMG I have so much sanding to do. I already have a little palm sander – will that suffice? Or should I do it by hand with a block? What grits should I be using? I need to make a run to the store and get a ton of this stuff. While I’m doing all the sanding I’ll be making up some test boards with the finish. I seem to have a lot of scrap lying around!

Thanks for looking!

-- Beth

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 05-04-2009 04:44 AM

Hi Beth
Looks like things are moving right along. As far as sanding goes at least a Random orbital sander will make things a lot easier than just a pad sander(a sander with 1/4 sheet of sand paper that just moves back and forth)If you buy one the type that has hook and loop (velcro) disc are easiest to change the sand paper.
On hard wood (not plywood) start sanding at 60 grit for Farly rough surfaces and work your way through finer grits of sand paper in this order 60,80,100,120,150,180 you can go even finer if you wish but be careful because the finer you go the more it seals of the wood from finish. In time you will know when you can start at a finer grit than 60. It’s best to parctice on some wood before useing a new sander on your built ins.
Hope this helps.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3783 days

#2 posted 05-04-2009 06:24 AM

Listen to Jim, he has it right!

If you are going to continue to do wood working, a random orbital finish sander will become your friend! I wish I had purchased the type with hook and loop system when I started but I opted for the for the sticky, pressure sensitive adhesive type. The sanding disks were cheaper. The problem is that often you don’t “use up” a sanding disk before needing a different grit. A used disk never seems to stick too good the next time.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3741 days

#3 posted 05-04-2009 02:26 PM

Beth, Jim & Lew are right on the money. with hook and loop you can change sheets and still reattach without any problem. This is so useful that its worth it to go for one of the better brands and not some cheepie (B&D) also consider features like variable speed. its worth the investment. Also keep dust control in mind and wear dust masks, over time sanding dust can kill you !

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View robbi's profile


176 posts in 3983 days

#4 posted 05-04-2009 03:27 PM

I agree with all of the above and also think your project is looking pretty darn good!!

-- Robin, California

View John in SD's profile

John in SD

140 posts in 3840 days

#5 posted 05-04-2009 05:23 PM

Well, I guess if you are determined to sand all the saw marks away…....their right…..But I think I would start with a good scraper….and maybe even end with it too!!

-- Life used to be soooo much simpler!!!!

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 3405 days

#6 posted 05-04-2009 05:33 PM

Okay, I’ll be off to the store today to look at sanders and get sandpaper. But now I’m all intrigued by John’s suggestion. I didn’t even realize that scraping was an option, but I just googled it. I’m not sure what would be easier for me – but I do hate sanding! If anyone wants to chime in more about scraping, or give me some good links, I would like know more. Thanks!

-- Beth

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3751 days

#7 posted 05-05-2009 06:27 AM

Beth, I agree with the comments above, but I’m concerned about using that technique on the plywood. If you sand through that many different grits, there’s a good chance you could sand through the finish layer of veneer on the plywood. For the plywood you might consider starting with 100 or 120, then go straight to 180 or 220, depending on how dark you plan to stain the unit.

-- Martin, Kansas

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 3405 days

#8 posted 05-05-2009 05:02 PM

Woodhacker ~ that’s a good point. And I like your advice because it’s easier. :) I will be doing test boards too, so I’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t.

-- Beth

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