Making Sanding Ball Covers #1: How to make replacement sanding ball covers

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Blog entry by Jim Jakosh posted 06-11-2013 01:02 AM 13194 reads 10 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Making Sanding Ball Covers series Part 2: Another easier method for making sanding balls »

I was having a problem finding a method to easily sand out the inside business areas of wooden spoons I was making. Hand sanding was fine for the final finish but to shape sand and smooth out all the rough marks was too tedious.
I saw the Guinevere Inflatable Sanding Balls on line and broke down and bought one and a set of 3 covers. The inflatable ball is $40 and the covers are 3 for $10. Man was that the answer to that spoon sanding. I did 16 of them in less than and hour !!!!!!!!
I tore up one cover and then finished with the finer ones but they did not go as fast. I was going to buy more of the coarse ones and then I thought- I can make them….so here is the approach I took to make them in case anyone else might want to make some for this system or your own ball sanding system..

This is the inflatable sanding ball and cover:

You can fill it with their air pump or your air jet at low pressure:

This is a cover that had gotten torn and I cut it apart to see how they made it.

It s made of a sandpaper cover that is glued to a cloth band down past the rubber ball area. I started by measuring all the parts and then made a mandrel to assemble the cloth ring and the whole cover on the other end.
The band is made from 5/16 cotton T shirt material and it glued to the dimension using a drop of wood glue:

I made a couple aluminum fixtures for drilling and cutting the sandpaper covers. They were made on the drill press and band saw. There were 9 5/32” holes drilled in the sandpaper blank and then the blade fixture was used to mark the shape of the 8 blades that I cut out with a scissors.

This is the nylon assembly fixture:

I made a mask and a holding fixture to spray glue the 2 pieces:

I load the band on the assembly fixture after the glue dries and then I put the sandpaper cover on the pilot on top to center it. Then I start bending down the blades one at a time until they are all stuck to the band and then the competed cover is slid off .

It is best to use fabric backed sandpaper for good durability. Once you have the fixtures, you can make them for all different grits. I have seen systems that are made using a rubber ball glued onto a wood shaft and the ends of the paper are nailed into the shaft. the nails are far enough away from the round end so as not to interfere with the sanding.

I hope you get some good ideas from this. Ball sanding really makes inside contours easy to finish!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

18 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10100 posts in 4052 days

#1 posted 06-11-2013 01:21 AM

Nice going!

COOL way of making them… I can see that it took a little finagalling…

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2054 days

#2 posted 06-11-2013 02:46 AM

Thanks, great info.

-- Joel

View doubleDD's profile


7387 posts in 2043 days

#3 posted 06-11-2013 03:09 AM

Hey Jim, my brother bought one of these Guinevere sanding ball kits recently and hasn’t gotten back to me what he thought of it. He was saying he could probably make the sanding disks himself too and save some money. This is good info that I can pass down to him. So in your opinion it would be worth it to build it.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4149 posts in 3575 days

#4 posted 06-11-2013 03:41 AM

Nice job Jim.
You just saved a bunch of guys a bunch of dough.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2514 posts in 3683 days

#5 posted 06-11-2013 04:03 AM

Thanks for sharing Jim, don’t know if the balls are sold out here, must have to help your economy and buy online.
Would double sided tape help out with the set up?

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2934 days

#6 posted 06-11-2013 05:13 AM

First time I hear about this system. It could be very useful. Thanks!

The consumables are definitely not cheap.

Is the nylon assembly fixture something you had on hand or is it sold with the system?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#7 posted 06-11-2013 07:54 AM

Very creative and money saving solution Jim.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20488 posts in 3105 days

#8 posted 06-11-2013 10:52 AM

Glad you all liked this.
Dave, this method is the cat’s meow!! I cannot find a better way to sand inside radiused areas. There is no other tool I have that gets in there without putting a groove or scratch from the end of a drum. I have shaping balls with carbide fingers on them for the Dremel, but the result is not that smooth. I used them just before the sanding balls. I feel it is worth it to make the covers because I can use any grit and get a lot of them out of one sheet of paper .

Ian, I had to make that nylon fixture. Guinvere sells the covers and not the means to make them. It could be cut on the lathe out of hardwood and then waxed. I used nylon because I thought it would be easy to clean the glue off. I did not get any on it because the glue is dry when I slip the parts on to assemble.

Bob, you maybe could use double sided tape, but with my clumsy fingers and those little pieces, I think it would wind up on me with it sticky on both sides.It would be worth a try next time. I like that contact cement because it is a permanent bond. A bit messy spraying, though. Oh, Bob, I got the lathe back together last night and she works great.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2804 days

#9 posted 06-11-2013 01:21 PM

Looks like that’ll work very well. Thnx for sharin

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Grumpy's profile


23928 posts in 3851 days

#10 posted 06-11-2013 11:59 PM

Well done, great idea & result.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View oldnovice's profile


6854 posts in 3368 days

#11 posted 06-12-2013 12:31 AM

I have got to get one of those sanding balls as they look like an answer to a lot of irregular sanding issues. Now that you have shown a neat way to make your own, why not!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2667 days

#12 posted 06-13-2013 12:41 AM

Nice one Jim
Have to remember that one .

-- Kiefer

View Ronald G Campbell 's profile

Ronald G Campbell

961 posts in 2004 days

#13 posted 06-18-2013 12:32 PM

Very well done Jim

-- Ron Campbell

View CalebMexquite's profile


9 posts in 2436 days

#14 posted 06-18-2013 02:28 PM

Why not just use a cabinet scraper to clean the spoons out? That’s what I’ve used and it’s a breeze.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20488 posts in 3105 days

#15 posted 06-18-2013 05:54 PM

Hi Caleb,
I suppose they would work but with the arthritis I have in both thumbs, it is hard to put concentrated pressure on. The drill I use with the sanding balls I can wrap my hand around and get it done quickly and without much pain.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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