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ShopCam HiLites for 11/27/00
Tawny Talc

What is it about sanding which makes every woodworker turn up their nose? Is it the boredom? is it the tedium? (Boredium?;) And no matter how you look at it, sanding never seems glamorous. When you deliver something to a customer, they never say, "Nice sanding job!" When thieves break into your shop, they never take your sanders and leave your boombox behind. And in all the time I've spent woodworking in pro shops, no apprentice has ever come up to me and asked, "Can I help you sand?" (And it's a good thing - I might faint from the surprise!)

Still, with all it's well-deserved bad reputation, sanding does have it's up side. Unlike crisp hand-cut dovetails, nearly all woodworkers end up doing sanding about the same way. It's hard to imagine anyone gloating to themself they are a better sander than you are. And when you show up to watch football with your buddies, and they ask you what you did the day before, just mention sanding and someone might just offer you the best seat in the house. But most of all, sanding is the best way to get rid of unwanted guests. When someone you don't have time for just drops in, you say, "Great! I can use some help sanding." They'll be gone in five minutes - guaranteed!

All I did today was sand.

Even though nearly no one likes sanding, we all have our preferences for efficient suffering. For hand sanding, I really like the discarded PSA discs from my ROS. After you peel them off, just fold them in half and you're ready to go. They really last and last, even if you're using them to break hardwood edges.

A neat trick for getting that perfectly even gap, run your sandpaper between one part and another while nudging them gently together.

Here's a closeup of a drawer face corner after sanding with 150 grit. I'm thinking this will be fine enough. thought there are a few very faint scratches, since we aren't staining, they won't show under the finish - I hope!

My walnut putty isn't really the color of walnut. In fact, I don't think I've ever met a putty which was actually the color of the wood I'm working on. Hey, that's an idea for a new business I'm just tossing out there. How about calling it "Real Putty"? Just a thought.

Anyway, I smeared some putty on some wood and played with a couple stains to get a touch-up system going. When in doubt, I always go darker for filling holes. They look like pin knots.

After getting all the doors, drawer faces and lower cabinets sanded, the two lower backs are finished with the ROS. No hand sanding required.
Then come the drawers. All they need are their edges rounded. I do the bottom edges too, in case Mr. D. ever wants to pull out a drawer full of files - they won't bite into his hands.
Next come the shoe moldings. We're making progress.
The final parts we knock out today are the base cabinet tops. The plywood was already sanded earlier so all I have to do here is the edge. This leaves the shelves, upper cabinets, and fireplace surround as the only other pieces ready for finish sanding. After getting them done tomorrow, I'll cut out to my neighbor's to finish turning the columns. Mr. D. says he likes them the way they are. He's the boss!

If you have any questions or comments about Mr. D's Walnut Wall Unit, please post them at the Info Exchange.

Jim Mattson

Onward to the Next Installment

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