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FROM THE April 2010 ISSUE

Adding life to sanding sticks

Q: I like to experiment with sanding sticks: hobby-related sanders, flexible nail-sanding sticks, and cheap emery boards, to name a few.  

I find that after the edges (which I always seem to use up first) have been “dulled,” the edges are hard to cut and reshape. I usually end up tearing them to bits.
Any suggestions?

Roger Batsto
      via E-mail

Ken: The boys in the workshop use sanding sticks a lot, too, but we’ve never really paid attention to reshaping them – until we got your letter.  

After some experimentation, we found that the best way to trim the edges and give added life to your sanding sticks is to slowly draw a sharp, new single-edged razor blade down the inside edge of the stick.  

We tried scissors, wire nippers, and various other cutters, but the razor blade worked best.

Your letter also asked how to make custom sanders that could fit into tight spaces and around delicate curves.  That’s an easy one:  

Any surface that glue will stick to can be turned into a sanding device.

From toothpicks, paintbrush handles, dowels, and craft sticks, to flat pieces of stripwood, you can cut out little pieces of sandpaper and glue them to any type backing that’s custom-selected to fit into even the tightest spots.  

Apply contact cement to both surfaces, and let it dry to the touch.  Push the two surfaces together for a permanent bond.  

You can use just about any grit of sandpaper.

These custom sanding sticks are easy to use, and typically are perfect for the job at hand – because you’ve designed them to fit just right.

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