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Go for a smooth finish using wood sanders

When you get to the point where you're ready to do some sanding on a woodworking project, you can easily envision the finished project. After all, you're almost done. So it's tempting to cut some corners when sanding, but resist that temptation, and you'll be glad you did. Sanding removes any dings and scratches you've made in the wood while using woodworking jigsaws, woodworking chisels and other tools from Sears. It also removes any remaining splinters and prepares the wood to receive paint or stain.

The first step to talking about sanders is sandpaper. All sandpaper is marked by grade, also referred to as grit. The grade tells you how many granules of sand are on each square inch of the paper. The lower the number, the more coarse (or rough) the sandpaper. For example, you can use low-grade sandpaper (40 grit) to remove tough old paint from a piece of furniture. The higher the grade, the finer the sand. So a grade of 600 is all you need to buff out a small scratch. When sanding fresh lumber after you've constructed a prize-winning bookshelf, you start by using coarse sandpaper and then work up to a medium-grade before passing over the wood with fine grade. Follow the directions in woodworking plans and kits to know which type of sandpaper to use for each project.

There are two main types of sanding tools to choose from and Sears has them both. If you have a small project, a sanding block may be all you need. It's a piece of rubber or other material on which you can attach sandpaper. A rounded one allows you to sand flat surfaces on one side and rounded, curved edges with the other.

Step up to a power sander when a hand sander is not practical for the project at hand. A belt sander can tackle big or small projects based on the sandpaper grade used. A random orbital sander is a better bet for light sanding. Whether you use a hand or power sander, remember to sand in the direction of the grain.

Wear a mask when sanding to keep from breathing in wood particles. When using a power sander, also fire up a sander vac to collect the dust so you don't have to worry about breathing it in or sweeping it up. Wear goggles to keep wood particles from being lodged in your eyes and earplugs or earmuffs when using a power sander.

You need to remove the sawdust from the wood before staining or painting. Dry cloths don't work well; choose a tack cloth, a sticky type of cheesecloth. When one side of the cheesecloth is covered in dust, use the other. They're inexpensive, so you don't need to scrimp on using them.

So how do you know when the wood is smooth enough? Get out an old pair of pantyhose (make sure you check that they are old, or you may face fireworks later). Place it over your hand and glide it over all the areas you've finished sanding. If it snags, sand more. Sanding is an important part of the woodworking process. No matter what project you're working on, Sears has the sanding supplies you need.

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