Sanding is a vital process in woodworking, construction, glass making, or restoring acrylic and polycarbonate plastics. The idea of a sanding block is to create a steady base that lets you apply constant pressure on an abrasive surface to give a smooth finish. But to get the best sanding finish, you must apply the right type of sanding block. The simplicity of a sanding block makes it easy for wordsmiths to use them efficiently. However, this lack of design complexity is also responsible for the overwhelming amounts of sanding blocks in the market. We can help with this, but before going into how you can filter the trash and select the best sanding block for your project, here's a list of the best sanding blocks in 2021 to narrow down your options.
Every woodsmith or professional in the construction, glass making, or plastic refining industry knows that a sanding block is an important tool to own. Sanding blocks are portable and handy, and the best ergonomic models will allow you easy handling and control. With a sanding block, you are certain of a smooth, perfect finish better than anything ordinary sandpaper offers.
The significant parts of a sanding block are the surface grits and the base. The surface grits are the different sizes of abrasive materials on the sanding blocks, and they can be coarse, medium, fine, or superfine. The base is the block on which the surface grits are attached. It is often forged out of highly durable sponges, rubber, or other artificial materials that give them perfect balance to give a fine finish. Some models come with clips that firmly attach the surface grits to the base.
Like most products, there are many models, types, and sizes of sanding blocks. And these are factors that affect the efficiency and durability of these tools, so they cannot be ignored, lest you find yourself with a shabby or unsuitable sanding block that ruins your work. This buying guide will help you with all the details you need to make the perfect sanding block purchase, so note all the talking points.
What are the factors to consider before buying a sanding block?
The base of the simplest sanding blocks is often forged out of wood or cork. And while these are good options, there are better options that you should explore. Consider buying sanding blocks with base materials forged out of sponges, conundrum, or rubber; these materials offer better finishing and grip comfort than wooden sanding blocks. If you will be sanding inconsistent materials or concave and convex shapes, rubber sanding blocks should be your go-to because they can bend and adjust to fit any shape or surface.
Sanding blocks come in various surface grit sizes, but the size you need depends on your project. To avoid the back and forth process of selecting a particular grit size, go for sanding block sets. Sanding block sets come in multiple grit sizes, including fine, coarse, fine, and superfine. Others with up to six grit sizes offer extra options that you can easily choose from.
To enjoy the best value from sanding blocks, choose one with grits on both sides. That way, you can use either side of the sanding block to achieve the required finish, thereby increasing your sanding block's functionality and resourcefulness.
As you well know, sanding can get quite dusty, especially if you're a woodsmith. This often leads to the added stress of cleaning up and wearing a mask while sanding. A simple solution to this is to purchase a sanding block with a dust extractor or suction to remove all the shavings immediately they are produced. If you're asthmatic, getting a sanding block with dust extraction properties should be a no-brainer.
To avoid frequent sandpaper changing, select a sanding block that efficiently utilizes both expensive and low-cost sandpapers without wastage. Sandpaper-efficient sanding blocks can be more costly than the ordinary models, but they are worth every dime- something you will find out over time.
Application in dry and wet sanding
Wet sanding and dry sanding are two distinct operations that require different sanding blocks. However, if you often engage in both sanding operations, you should go for a sanding block that operates efficiently in both conditions.
There are some ergonomic features you should consider before getting a sanding block. Here they are:
The size of a sanding block has a significant effect on its functionality. If you need more sanding maneuverability or will be sanding in a relatively small area, go for a small sanding block. On the other hand, larger sanding blocks of about 7.3" and above will allow you to apply more pressure and sand large areas within a short period, thereby saving you time and reducing fatigue.
The weight of your sanding block will determine how long it takes for you to start experiencing arm fatigue. If your sanding block is too heavy, you will experience hand fatigue within a short time, and if it's too light, you will need to apply extra pressure, which inevitably leads to hand fatigue too. So, consider selecting a sanding block that weighs between 2.5 and 5 ounces. Sanding blocks within this range are neither too heavy nor too light and will not cause hand fatigue.
Select a sanding block with a skewed back. The uneven shape of the sanding block will help you see what you're working on a lot better and reduce the likelihood of making mistakes.
The grip of a sanding block is another ergonomic feature that you must consider. Before choosing a sanding block, make sure that it is contoured on all sides or has a padded handle. These features enable firm grips and comfort while sanding.
A: A homemade sanding block is not ideal for sanding, but making one is quite simple; all you need is a block of wood and basic sandpaper. Simply attach the sandpaper to the bottom and sides of the block with glue or staple pins. Alternatively, you can hold it with your hands.
Q: How can I clean a sanding block?
A: To clean your sanding block, blow some air into it to remove the shavings and dust on its surface. Afterward, soak it in warm water and wash it with household detergent. Repeat this process until the sanding block is visibly clean. Rinse the sanding block with cool running water and dry in the sun.
Q: What is the price range of sanding blocks?
A: Sanding blocks are inexpensive tools that can be highly efficient if properly applied. The price of a sanding block could be anything from $1.4 to $20; it all depends on the quality of the sanding block and the presence of unique features like dust suction. There's a sanding block for every budget, but we recommend that you choose the pricey ones for extra value.
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