Sanding on the lathe

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Forum topic by Wildwood posted 02-02-2013 09:26 AM 1780 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2305 posts in 2130 days

02-02-2013 09:26 AM

Whether hand sanding or power sanding on the lathe few points need to consider. Buy quality sandpaper. Only reason we sand is remove tool marks and even out the surface for finish.

You can do as much damage with sandpaper as with your turning tools. Sandpaper not a substitute for good turning techniques.

Keep lathe speed at lowest RPM’s while sanding, use light pressure, and clean surface before moving to higher grit paper. High RPM’s generate heat and destroys sandpaper. Pressing hard and high RPM’s only burnish wood surfaces and leaves sanding scratches.

Base your sanding sequence on wood species and finishing product. I do not always start sanding with 80 grit sandpaper. Worn out sandpaper is not your next higher grit, switch out worn out paper with fresh. Do not move to higher grit until have removed scratches from previous grit. I have had to improve my lighting because shop light was not enough for my old eyes to see damage done with sandpaper.

This video shows great technique and gives great pointers on power sanding.

I use 2” backup & interface pads with 2 3/8” disk from Vince, and angle electric drill and air drill for disk sanding. Do not think will buy larger disk, because still end up doing some sanding by hand anyway.

-- Bill

3 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 12:41 PM

Thanks for the tips! I agree with everything but would like to add one step. I shut down the lathe in between grits. If the piece is REALLY scratchy, I will sand with the grain (lathe off) before moving to my next grit.

Also I would add to always keep the sandpaper moving. Not just moving along the piece, but rotate/flip around the sanding pads. Don’t use the same spot consistently. I also like to clean up my chips before sanding. I’ve had many instances where a little chip made it between the sandpaper and the wood. At that point it’s back to 120 grit.


View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2130 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 02:41 PM

Actually posted this message couple of days ago after reading a review on sanding discs. Have no idea why did not show until today. Not sure, what did wrong.

I stopped disc sanding years ago because swirl marks and wasting sandpaper. Back then, turners used those three or four inch disk kits you put on your electric drill and either bought sandpaper to fit the disk or cut your own.

So for years of avoiding power sanding thought might give it a go with new sanding discs, back-up & interface pads year or so ago. Made a big buy of Vince’s products because of many great recommendations. Again little frustrated by results until watched You-Tube video posted.

I buy sandpaper sheets in bulk every couple of years because end up with grits needed not sold at big box stores here. Have been happy with Klingspor’s AL, stearate & garnet sheets but may look at switching to FEPA or P grit papers next buy. Even with light touch with ANSI grade, get sanding scratches that are very hard to remove.

Nice to know info:

-- Bill

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2282 days

#3 posted 02-02-2013 03:12 PM

I just got some of those 1, 2, and 3 inch sanding pads. I think they’re great. I don’t know about using them on a spinning lathe, it seems that sanding with the lathe on would be harder than off because it produces lines with the lower grits. I keep the lathe off till I get to 240g.
The small pads are great for sanding inlays though.

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

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