Shop-Made Sanding Blocks
Commercial sanding blocks all have some
kind of padded bottom. Do my shop-made
blocks need to be padded, too?
Yes they do. Padded blocks have two primary
benefits: They increase the life of your
paper and they make it possible to use
pressure-sensitive-adhesive (PSA) paper.
Cork is the easiest way to pad a shop-made
sanding block. Cork is flat, firm and stiff
enough to sand a plug flush or flatten a
finish. The bit of give in a cork bottom
provides some shock absorption for the
individual grains of abrasive so they are
not so easily knocked off the paper. This
helps your sandpaper last longer.
It’s also much easier to remove PSA
paper from a cork bottom than from bare
wood. PSA paper can be cut exactly to fit your
sanding block, so there’s
no waste. Regular paper
has to be cut oversize so
you can hold the paper
onto the block with your
To make a padded
sanding block, glue a
piece of 1/8- or 1/4-in.-
thick cork (available in
hardware stores or home
centers) onto the wood.
Wood glue works fine as
an adhesive; just be sure
to keep the glue layer very
thin because cork is
porous and the glue can
easily seep into it.