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Life as an Amateur Woodworker #76: A Tip When Making Simple Sanding Blocks

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Blog entry by PhilBello posted 04-10-2016 09:49 PM 1005 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 75: Made a start on the Dining Room Suite Part 76 of Life as an Amateur Woodworker series Part 77: Back to work! »

Before I get underway, the first tip has to be…It doesn’t matter how careful you are, accidents still happen

I started cutting for my sanding blocks, don’t ask what happened, I don’t know, I just know I was aware I was about to have a kickback on the table saw, I was using push blocks, tried to get out of the way, and in doing so, lost one and a bit finger tips!! The tip, is to make sure you keep a tube of Superglue in your First Aid Kit, after washing the wound, I poured half a tube over the wound, and other than a little throbbing, have had no pain, and no further blood loss. Saved a hospital trip, and other than being limited as to what I can do, being left handed (fingers on LH)...Great stuff!

Right, back to sanding blocks, I needed at least one to continue with the work on the dining room suite, so decided to make four. I used scrap 2×4 for the blocks, scrap ply for the knobs, and I had the T-nuts and bolts in stock, so it cost nothing on the day!

I started off with two lengths of scrap 2×4 each measuring 11” long on the table saw. (This was when I had the accident) Why 11”? well standard sandpaper sheets are 11”, it is my intention to use a 1/4 sheet on each block, and eventually these 11” blocks will be cut in half.

The idea is to cut the 2×4 in half in each direction, so as I said above, they will accept the cut sheets, but rather than covering the whole block and wasting sandpaper, I am cutting the block to make like a sandwich, the idea being that the sandpaper will wrap around the bottom half, and be kept in place by the top half.

So the first job was to cut the blocks to the required length of 5 1/2”, I them cut these in half again, but the lower half is thinner than the top, to accommodate the sandpaper

labelling each pair with a letter. I then drilled a 1/4” hole through each pair, and inserted a T-nut in the lower of each.

many designs cut a shallow dado in the bottom piece, and cut their top piece narrower to fit in the dado, the idea being to pinch the sandpaper in place. However why make work for yourself, there is no need for that, you can, as I have done, simply run a bead of hot glue down each side of the lower piece, this acts like a not slip gasket, and stops the sandpaper from pulling out from between the wooden sandwich.

I then made some simple knobs out of 3/4” plywood and epoxied a 1/4” bolt into each. These slot through the top half of the sanding block, into the T-nut below, once you have your sandpaper in place, they are tightened, and your sandpaper is going nowhere until you want to change it.

I now have four sanding blocks, one with a shaped end for getting into tight corners. I can either put in different grit in each, or load them up with the same grit if I have a big project, such as the dining table and chairs, that way I am not wasting time changing sandpaper. The only addition to this may be that in the future when I have my router out for a bigger job, I may put a roundover on the tops to make them more comfortable in my hand, but they work, and I should have done this before starting the dining room suite.

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright



14 comments so far

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3390 posts in 1664 days


#1 posted 04-10-2016 11:02 PM

Hello Phil
Its the LJs drugo back!

I see what happened so in suggesting a fix (snicker) I can only assume as you were cutting the lengths you had a stand off fitted to the fence?

The superglue is a valuable item in the workshop FA kit

-- Regards Robert

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#2 posted 04-10-2016 11:54 PM

Hi Robert,

I had the 11” lengths cut and was trimming down the width (3 1/2” to 2 1/2”), I have a feeling my fence was a fraction off, and the wood was binding, which threw it up.

I’m afraid I am one of those who give Health & Safety a dickie fit, I never use my blade guard, I find it more of a hindrance than a help. :D

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View BigDaddyOf5's profile

BigDaddyOf5

27 posts in 998 days


#3 posted 04-11-2016 12:19 AM

I recently had to readjust my fence due to binding. Thankfully, i didn’t suffer any bodily injury. just screwed up a couple hardwood pieces i was ripping down to width. definitely something i need to check on more often before i begin working. my father-in-law worked with a guy that always used to say “never assume any of your equipment is set up right.” you never know what might have gotten thrown out of whack between projects.

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#4 posted 04-11-2016 12:30 AM

I agree with you BD, I often use my table saw as another bench, I usually check on my fence, because I know there is a bit of movement in it, but I couldn’t swear to having done so this time, in fact the evidence points to me not having done so!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3390 posts in 1664 days


#5 posted 04-11-2016 12:47 AM

Phil Add a removable stand off block to the fence, hold it there with a clamp, and use a ripping guide so when you dock the timber the offcut finishes in the void plus the depth of the standoff block

Or use a drop saw not your table saw

-- Regards Robert

View jesinfla's profile

jesinfla

274 posts in 598 days


#6 posted 04-11-2016 12:49 AM

Thanks for sharing these – I was going to look for ideas on how to make them this week – saved me lots of time :)

-- They said I could be anything... So I became Sarcastic! They also said making drawers is easy... I think they lied :(

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#7 posted 04-11-2016 01:05 AM



Phil Add a removable stand off block to the fence, hold it there with a clamp, and use a ripping guide so when you dock the timber the offcut finishes in the void plus the depth of the standoff block

Or use a drop saw not your table saw

- robscastle

Good points Rob, I will make myself a ‘Stand off Block’, I use my Compound Mitre saw a lot, probably more than the table saw, but trying to save myself work, and it only having a 10” blade, I opted for the TS, had I cut them down to the 5 1/2” first, I could have done that!

Cheers Phil

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#8 posted 04-11-2016 01:07 AM


Thanks for sharing these – I was going to look for ideas on how to make them this week – saved me lots of time :)

- jesinfla

Glad to be of help :) ...Just don’t follow my practical solutions, they hurt… hahaha!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View ShogunJimi's profile

ShogunJimi

37 posts in 357 days


#9 posted 04-11-2016 12:36 PM

They make a medical version of superglue – called “new skin liquid bandage” it works pretty good.

-- Only a woodworker will value a good screw-up

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#10 posted 04-11-2016 01:24 PM



They make a medical version of superglue – called “new skin liquid bandage” it works pretty good.

- ShogunJimi

Yes, it may be better for you, but I bet I wont find it in the Colombian equivalent of the Dollar/Pound Store! and my cheapie works :)

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View BigDaddyOf5's profile

BigDaddyOf5

27 posts in 998 days


#11 posted 04-13-2016 12:17 AM

btw, great idea on the sanding blocks. i know the spotlight ended up falling on your accident. i may have to build a few of these for myself.

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#12 posted 04-13-2016 12:07 PM



btw, great idea on the sanding blocks. i know the spotlight ended up falling on your accident. i may have to build a few of these for myself.

- BigDaddyOf5

Cheers BD…they certainly work! :)

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 856 days


#13 posted 04-13-2016 05:26 PM

Nice sanding block project.

This is one reason I sold off my table saw and embraced hand saws. Even though I built lots of projects using the table saw, I was terrified of it, knowing what could happen in a split second. Being a stringed instrument musician, I highly value the integrity of all my fingers….

-- Ed

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

389 posts in 1427 days


#14 posted 04-13-2016 07:22 PM

Thanks handsawgeek. I can understand your reluctance to risk the fingers!!!...lol

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

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