Sanding Block Question

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 01-09-2013 12:57 AM 2850 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 2717 days

01-09-2013 12:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding blocks

I have built a bunch of sanding blocks (one for each grit) from some I’ve seen done by fellow LJs. Now the question is: should they have some sort of ‘padded’ base or should it be just bare wood? I’ve used that thin white floor underlayment as cushion for some in the past but don’t know what others recommend.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

34 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2703 days

#1 posted 01-09-2013 12:59 AM

I was taught to use a hard flat block on wood projects that have flat services. I have a couple of rubber pads but those are really made for sanding auto bodies so I keep them for that purpose.

View Handtooler's profile


1579 posts in 2159 days

#2 posted 01-09-2013 01:18 AM

Thanks Grandpa for the advise on the rubber sanding pad block. I’ll quit trying to use mine which I originally acquired to work auto body many years ago.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

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3259 posts in 2703 days

#3 posted 01-09-2013 01:21 AM

I am not saying that is a bad thing to use the rubber pad but it does change to fit the contours you are sanding. Not like a rag but you know what I mean.

View John's profile


47 posts in 2101 days

#4 posted 01-09-2013 01:50 AM

It depends on what you’re sanding. Ideally, the shape of the sanding pad matches the shape of your work. If you’re sanding a flat surface, a hard, flat sanding block is good. It also allows you to use it sort of like a block plane and make faceted edges vs. a softer block which will round off corners. A hard backing also allows you to put more pressure and really hog off material with a coarse grade of sandpaper.

I use firm rubber pads for a lot of tasks, and my shopmade wood blocks for others. I don’t bother with any backing on the wood blocks.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2314 days

#5 posted 01-09-2013 01:54 AM

If you think about it, any large surface you sand with a unpadded block will not conform completely to the surface being sanded. At least a couple layers of cardboard under the paper. You can get away with it on small pieces. I prefer ROS for large surfaces.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2382 days

#6 posted 01-09-2013 02:00 AM

I picked up a piece of granite once I was going to use for a sanding block once, but alas it dissappeared before I got it back home, it was in a trash bin too…

The key is you want your block to be harder than the wood you’re sanding so that it won’t wear, for profiles I typically use my hands, as I can make my hand conform to pretty much any profile so…

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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Don W

18754 posts in 2595 days

#7 posted 01-09-2013 02:01 AM

any i’ve made have been just wood (except these ) I didn’t put padding of any kind on them either, but I also haven’t really used them yet.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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5811 posts in 2320 days

#8 posted 01-09-2013 02:05 AM

1/16” cork is what I use per Karson, . By the way, this was my introduction to LJ.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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538 posts in 2392 days

#9 posted 01-09-2013 02:50 AM

before sandpaper the smoothing plane was used. i use 1 inch mdf or any scrap hardwood that is flat and contact cement the paper on, when the paper gets worn out i throw it away. when block sanding a flat surface you do not want any rubber or cork or anything soft as a backing. when contour sanding make a pattern block that fits your profile.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#10 posted 01-09-2013 03:09 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I had the feeling that my underlayment backing was causing my paper to snag and tear. I’ll try it without but I need to fill the hole in the center of the bottom or cover it with a thin strip of hardwood.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2651 days

#11 posted 01-09-2013 03:14 AM

Since I make lot of boxes, I dont use a sanding block per-se. I glue a full sheet to a 15×20” piece of MDF and move the box across the full sheet. I have a full set 80, 100, 150, 180 and 220. It really helps to keep the flat parts flat.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2388 days

#12 posted 01-09-2013 03:15 AM

I have two sanding blocks that are dimensioned such that I can hand hold a quarter sheet of paper. I faced one with truck inner tube and the other with 1/8” sheet cork.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3331 days

#13 posted 01-09-2013 03:21 AM

i like the sheet cork also andy, but to each his own, i like a little bit of cushion that the cork gives…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3007 days

#14 posted 01-09-2013 09:01 AM

I would tend to use just the bare block Andy. Of course it could depend on what you are sanding I would have thought. Straight and flat, bare block, any coutours then some form of “padding” may be more appropriate.

Too much of a cushion may not sand the area flat and simply follow the contours of the piece, much like a smoother plane on a long wavy board.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#15 posted 01-09-2013 04:44 PM

I’m gonna try the plain wood backing and report back to y’all.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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