Sanding exposed plywood edges with power tools/bits

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Forum topic by InstantSiv posted 06-19-2015 06:07 PM 1769 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 1559 days

06-19-2015 06:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question sander sanding

I’m tired of sanding by hand and a ROS works(kinda) but I quickly develop cramps in my hands. Looking for ideas on how to sand plywood edges with power tools/bits. The pieces of plywood are pretty large so it will be stationary and the tool/bit is mobile.

Things I’ve seen that I want to try:

-Flap wheel, I have one for a dremel so it seems promising. Want to try a bigger one.
-Sanding star, Not sure if this would really work.
-Those mini spindle sanding drums that a lot of people chuck in their drill presses, I don’t think it would work if done by hand. Probably have to rig up a fence to ride along the plywood piece to stabilize it.

Any ideas?

5 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9249 posts in 1450 days

#1 posted 06-19-2015 06:10 PM

Ros is the best I can think of. The faster it sands, the more material is coming off. I’d be nervous about messing it up.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MrRon's profile


4710 posts in 3207 days

#2 posted 06-19-2015 08:07 PM

I would say a straight line sander would be best. Any hand held sanding device like a ROS will rock on the edge of the plywood, rounding over the edges. A trim bit in a router would also work. The best of all would be a stationary horizontal belt sander.

View Redoak49's profile


3193 posts in 1952 days

#3 posted 06-19-2015 08:24 PM

I agree with MrRon about rocking on the edges and getting some rounding. A lot depends on how flat you need the edges. If they need to be flat and square, it will be difficult.

First, use a really good saw blade made for plywood and get the best cut possible,this will greatly reduce sanding time. I have made sanding blocks with a layer of felt on the wood and shaped to fit my hands. Use good sand paper….I use Norton 3X which cuts quickly.

Lastly, Klingspor has sanding mops or Mac mops which can be used in a drill or drill press. I use these but it slightly rounds the edges.

Hope this helps

View Chemrick's profile


7 posts in 1047 days

#4 posted 06-22-2015 06:06 PM

If the edge is straight and could be passed through a table saw with a fence, this is a great option.

As you can see in the directions, the disk is slightly conical and you tilt it slightly (5 degrees if I remember correctly) so the edge is at 90 to the table and run it rip fashion on the table saw. Shopsmith also had a setup like this that worked very well. It leaves a very smooth finish indeed and helps remove any saw marks the blade makes. It actually looks almost burnished when you do this. You do have to account for the material loss in the final product so I just cut it rough on the ts, sanded one edge and finish cut the back side if I needed a “finish” ply look. I sometimes make kids furniture out of baltic birch ply and leave the edge of the ply showing and this method makes it look very nice. I also use the disk if I’m making shop made trim pieces out of solids because it cleans up the back side of the cut making the trim near perfect. Nothing more aggrivating than 45’s that don’t match due to a slight deviation in the trim.

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2540 days

#5 posted 06-22-2015 06:22 PM

If you can figure out a way to use the bearing you can have a glass smooth


You can also use a track or a rail for a smooth finish.

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