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DIY Home Projects

Sanding Simplified: Tips for Choosing and Using the Perfect Sanding Tool

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 3 Articles

Sanding can be particularly satisfying. Especially when a rough structure becomes a finished piece, when old paint becomes beautiful bare wood, or when an antique desk is ready for refinishing.

But, there are choices to make when it comes to sanding. Having the right tool for the task will help make any sanding job go smoother.

Here are some guidelines from the sanding pros here at BLACK+DECKER:

For small details and surface prep, try a finishing sander.

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Finishing sanders come in both quarter sheet and detail models. They are ideal for intricate items or getting a surface perfectly clean and smooth for staining or painting. This is the right sander for things like sanding furniture legs, tight corners, and decorative items.

For fast sanding of large surfaces, grab a random orbital or belt sander.

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These sanders power through large areas on the first pass, and can remove paint or stain quickly. A belt sander is also great for reshaping materials. They can handle the edge of a sticking door and other down-and-dirty jobs.

To cord or not to cord?

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For big projects, try corded for non-stop power. For those more frequent, smaller jobs and quick touches around the house or out in the yard, cordless sanders are ultra-convenient and portable. And with BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* cordless random orbital and detail sanders, you can share a battery with other tools in your arsenal, saving space and hassle in your workshop.

What about paper?

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The sandpaper grit you choose is just as important as your sander.

Grit is rated by number; the lower the grit number, the faster the removal rate. For a rough surface you need to smooth quickly, look for a low grit number (60 to 100). For fine finishing, look for grit in the 120 to 240+ range.

For many projects, such as prepping a surface for staining or refinishing, you’ll want to start with a low grit to efficiently power through most of the material, then switch to a high-grit paper to smooth the surface for the final stain.

Most orbital sandpaper attaches in seconds with super-strong hook-and-loop fabric. For belt and quarter sheet sanders, the paper may attach with a clamp.

Additional things to know when sanding:

  • Never use a powered sander on drywall
  • Never use a belt sander for final finishing
  • Never use a belt sander one-handed
  • Always align the holes in the sandpaper with those on the sander platen so dust can pass freely into the dust bag