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  • The Way Wood Works: Birch

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, July 12, 2012
    The Way Wood Works: Birch This affordable wood is great for both high-end and utilitarian cabinetry. By Tim Johnson Birch is a hot item at the lumberyard these days, and birch veneer is the all-time most popular hardwood plywood.This isn’t a fad...
  • 12 Tips for Faster, Smoother, Better Sanding

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, December 2, 2009
    by Eric Smith People give me strange looks when I tell them I don’t mind sanding. Yeah, it’s dusty and a bit tedious, but I enjoy watching the fine detail in the wood grain pop out as I go through the grit sequence. That silky smooth surface...
  • AW Extra 9/27/12 - 21 Drum Sander Tips

    by AW-Editor     Monday, July 28, 2008
    21 Drum Sander Tips Maximize your drum sander's potential. By Dave Munkittrick Click any image to view a larger version. 1. Skip the scrape Eliminate laborious hand scraping of dried glue: contrary to popular belief, you can take glue-ups directly...
  • AW Extra 6/13/13 - 7 Tips for Better Drum Sanding

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, November 4, 2009
    7 Tips for Better Drum Sanding By Randy Johnson If you hate sanding (and who doesn’t?), a drum sander can be a godsend. Just feed in your boards, or even completed doors and other projects, and out they come, perfectly sanded, flat and smooth. And...
  • Q & A: Why Does My Wood Have Stripes?

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    Why Does My Wood Have Stripes? Q: I put a clear finish on a beautiful ash table I made and found faint stripes an inch or two wide going across each board. Any ideas on what caused them and how to get rid of them? A: Those stripes probably won’t...
  • Toggle Clamp Sanding Block

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, August 12, 2009
    I made this quick-release sanding block from four pieces of 1/2-in. -thick birch plywood. The top three pieces are glued together. Wrap a quarter sheet of sandpaper around the bottom piece and slip on the top assembly. The toggle clamp (www.rockler.com...
  • Quick Cure for Sand-Through Woes

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, July 13, 2010
    Aaaargh! It’s so easy to sand through the finish on an edge and it always seems to happen when I’m ready for the last coat of varnish.Here’s a quick and easy fix.Grab a touch-up marker and run it along the sand through. It’ll make...
  • Q & A: Planer or Small Drum Sander?

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, August 7, 2013
    Q & A: Planer or Small Drum Sander? Q: I’d like to try using more rough lumber, but I’m not sure whether to choose a portable planer at around four bills, or a drum belt sander at around eight.What insight can you offer to help me make...
  • Q & A: Shop-Made Sanding Blocks

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Shop-Made Sanding Blocks Q: Commercial sanding blocks all have some kind of padded bottom. Do my shop-made blocks need to be padded, too? A: Yes they do. Padded blocks have two primary benefits: They increase the life of your paper and they make it possible...
  • Fingertip Protection

    by American Woodworker Editors     Friday, January 22, 2010
    I discovered the hard way that sanding on a lathe can be hard on the fingers. Now, to protect my fingers, I cut the fingertips off a latex-dipped work glove and wear one or two of the fingertips while sanding. Not only does this protect my fingertips...
  • Q & A: Repair a Sand-Through

    by American Woodworker Editors     Monday, April 14, 2014
    Q & A: Repair a Sand-Through Q: I went right through the veneer when I was sanding solid-wood edging flush on some plywood shelves. How can I fix it? A: Sanding through a veneer happens to everyone sooner or later. Here’s an old cabinetmaker’s...
  • Cool Tip

    by American Woodworker Editors     Monday, March 8, 2010
    Changing the sanding sleeves on a spindle sander can be as tough as removing an old rusty bolt. Next time, try this trick: Put the drum in your freezer for 15 minutes. The cold will shrink the rubber drum and the sanding sleeve will almost fall off.
  • Super Sandpaper

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    Whenever I was sanding by hand, the sandpaper would roll or slide in my hands, eventually tearing and turning into small, useless scraps. I tried folding it every which way until I finally solved the problem with a little spray adhesive. Now I cut a sheet...
  • Q & A: Sanding Scratches Revealed

    by American Woodworker Editors     Monday, May 20, 2013
    Q & A: Sanding Scratches Revealed Q: What can I do to see sanding scratches before I apply stain? I always miss some of them until it’s too late. A: Doesn’t that drive you crazy? Just when you should be home free, wham! Now you’re...
  • Duct-Taped Sanding Block

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, August 18, 2009
    by John Vasi Sometimes I prefer to sand by hand using a rubber block. This method gives me a better feel for the work than using a random-orbit sander does. Blocks like mine have been around for many years, but I believe I’ve made an improvement...