These incredible tips from The Family Handyman readers and editors will help you complete your woodworking projects faster and better than ever before!
“I do a lot of finish-sanding freehand, without a sandpaper block, so I can smooth edges and get into nooks and crannies. But the finer grits are usually bonded to thinner paper and, at least for me, the paper is too thin and ends up tearing long before the grit wears out. So I apply duct tape to the back of the sandpaper. The sandpaper is still flexible enough to sand a tight radius and it’s far more durable. You can use this super-strong sandpaper like a shoeshine rag.” — Chuck Merchant
Save yourself some time and hassle during your next woodworking project with one (or 41!) of these genius sanding tips from editors and readers of The Family Handyman.
Get Dents Out of Wood
Dents in wood surfaces can be annoying. But fret not, they can be fixed! Simply soak a washcloth in water and ring it out a bit so it’s not sopping wet. Put the damp washcloth on the affected area. The water will wick through the wood, and that’s fine. Now, with your iron on its highest setting, place it on the damp washcloth over the affected area, and make small movements back and forth and in circles. Press down firmly and continue until your wash cloth is dry. It won’t take long to evaporate. At this point, the wood fibers are absorbing the water and should expand back to where they were originally. Continue this process and repeat by adding more water until the dents rise up to be flush with the rest of the material.
Here are more instant fixes for nagging problems around the house.
The Brown Paper Bag Trick
You can always make a finish smooth by rubbing with fine sandpaper and rubbing compounds, but that is a lot of work. And there’s almost always a little dust that settles onto the last coat of finish before it dries, even when you spray fast-drying lacquer. And with slow-drying varnish, there’s always dust stuck to the finish.
Unless you’re aiming for the ultimate in smoothness, rubbing the surface with a folded brown paper bag is usually sufficient. A brown paper bag is abrasive enough to flatten the dust nibs but not so abrasive that it scratches the finish—as long as the finish is fully dry. As long as the dust isn’t excessive and as long as the particles aren’t large, you can make the surface feel smooth with this paper bag trick. You’ll be amazed at how well it works!
Cutting sandpaper is a quick way to dull your scissors or utility knife blade. Instead, I fastened a hacksaw blade to the edge of my workbench. I slipped a washer behind the blade at each of the mounting holes so a sheet of sandpaper to easily slides in behind the blade. I fold the paper where I want to cut, just as a reference. — Kim Boley
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