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