The Principles for Sanding Wood

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Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains why he loves sanding and how it helps him get into the zone. He explains what he looks out for in a quality sanding job, and how crucial sanding is for the final product.

How to Make a Lathe Turned Bowl

Tom explains the different uses of a belt, finishing, and random orbit sander. He discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each sander and outlines what jobs are best for it.

Facts about Belt Sanders

  • Before you start, be sure to stop.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground. This is an aggressive tool that can create grooves with any tilt.
  • Follow the grain.
  • Belt sanders are great for hard jobs on flat surfaces. This tool can quickly remove large amounts of material and is great for larger projects.

Fascinating Facts about Finish Sanders

  • For materials that require only higher grit and light sanding.
  • It can reach tight corners by oscillating back and forth.
  • It is slower and more gentle than other sanders. Large areas can be time-consuming.

Random Orbit Sanders Facts

  • A good compromise between a belt and finish sander.
  • Rotates in a circle at different speeds. This is why it’s called “random”.
  • It is quick and easy to get a lot off.
  • This is the best type of sander for working with a wide range of grits.


Tom showed how a belt, finishing, and random orbit sander all work differently.

Tools & Materials

  • Belt sander

  • Finishing the sander

  • Random orbit sander

About the Author


Darius Matsumoto

Hi, i am Darius. Woodworking is my another hobby for the last five years. I love to write woodworking project and also ideas.

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