Introduction: 20 Sanding & Scraping Workshop Tips - Featured Maker: Jimmy DiResta

Hi Instructables Community,

here is already part three of this Instructables collaboration series between Jimmy Diresta and me.

This time it is all about Tips and Tricks around Sanding & Scraping.

Users of the mobile App may use this link to watch the video.

Please check out Jimmy Diresta's channel and feel free to subscribe if you like him and his projects.

Don't forget to check the last page of this Instructable for my monthly Giveaway (And while you're at it you might want to check my other Instructables or the videos on my own channel.

Please give us a like and a vote if you learn at least one new trick from this Video or Instructable ;)

Cheers Alex

Step 1: Tip 1: Hook & Loop Pads

If you are a user of orbital sanders that use hook & loop pads to attach sanding disks you will have noticed that they wear out over time. Although the hook & loop pad won't be strong enough for a use with the sander you can still use it by simply hot gluing a wooden disk to the back.

This will give you a free sanding block that features quickly changeable sanding disks!

You can of course get fancy with this and buy a new pad and make a more ergonomic grip for it ;)

Step 2: Tip 2: Utility Blade Scrapers

Utility knife blades are a great tool as they are inexpensive and can be used for a wide range of jobs.

Instead of discarding old/used/blunt blades you can shape them with a band sander and use them as small custom scrapers. These scrapers are ideal for curved & concave surfaces. By tilting and turning the blade you can adjust it to the shape of your work piece.

Step 3: Tip 3: Longboard Scraper

Here is another trick involving utility blades. To create a simple longboard scraper I used a piece of lumber (1x2 should work fine). I used a bandsaw with a narrow blade to create a shallow slot with the depth of the bandsaw blade. Next I wrapped a few layers of masking tape around the blunt side of a utility blade until it fit snugly in the slot.

The leverage of this design helps with scraping but you should turn the scraper around regularly to roll over the burl on the blade for best results.

Step 4: Tip 4: Re-use Broken Sanding Belts

If you use belt sanders with long sanding belt don't throw them away if the belt rips/breaks.

They can be used by hand for lots of projects.

Here I demonstrated this on a pole that I clamped into my vise.

Step 5: Tip 5: Anything Can Become a Sanding Block...

Literally every item that you have in your work shop could be used as a sanding block.

Depending on what you need you can use soft or hard materials, they could be flexible or rigid depending on what you want them to use for.

A pencil can be used for sanding small curved areas whereas a spray can could be used for larger concave sanding areas.

Step 6: Tip 6: MDF Sanding Blocks

When making my own sanding blocks I prefer to use MDF since it is very flat which is just what I want for most projects. It is also inexpensive and can be easily cut to any shape I might require.

I usually use spray adhesive to attach the sandpaper to the MDF block. When doing so I will glue the sandpaper with a little overlap and then trim it. This way the sandpaper covers the block right to the edges. The last feature is that I cover one corner with sandpaper while leaving the other without. This way I can use the block in narrow spaces or corners without the risk of scratching/sanding areas by accident.

Step 7: Tip 7: Longboard Sanding

When sanding edges with a longboard I wrap a few turns of masking tape around the edge to avoid scratching other parts of the work piece by accident.

Step 8: Tip 8: Sanding on Glass Surfaces

Glass panels are a great backing for sandpaper since they are almost perfectly flat. This flatness can then be used to get a work piece perfectly flat by gluing the sandpaper to the glass. Placing the panel on your table and sanding the work piece on it will translate into nice flat surfaces.

I spray glue sheets of sandpaper to the glass panel. Over time the spray glue might loose its grip and to avoid tearing the sandpaper I suggest to keep the work pieces at an 45° angle to the joints of the sandpaper.

Step 9: Tip 9: Use Weights for Longboard Sanding

When sanding with a long board, especially when working alone, you might want to try this trick.

Place a few weights on top of the board and fix them in place. This makes the sanding process much easier.

Step 10: Tip 10: Wet Sanding With Soapy Water

For wet sanding I prefer to use rubber sanding blocks. I get them from a local supplier and use the bandsaw to cut them to the size I need.

I also like to use soapy water or window cleaner instead of plain water for the sanding.

Also when trying to get scratched Acrylic or other plastics back to a nice finish I recommend to go through the grits till 2000 and then finish with a polishing compound.

Step 11: Tip 11: Re-Use Old Sanding Sponges

Don't throw away old sanding sponges! Instead wrap some sand paper around it to continue using it.

Step 12: Tip 12: Flexible Notebook Sanding Block

As I told you before "everything can become a sanding block". In this example I use my note book as a sanding block. It is flexible and takes on the shape of the work piece which makes it ideal for curved objects.

Step 13: Tip 13: Long/Short Chisel Combo Tool

I recently discovered this combination tool made by DeWALT. Although it is not made from the highest quality steel out there it is still very versatile as it offers a long chisel, which I use for scraping, as well as a short chisel for detail work. The tool is even sturdy enough to get whacked with a hammer without problems!

Step 14: Tip 14: 3M Pro Grade Precision Sanding Sheets

I like to use 3M Pro Grade Precision Sanding Sheets. They have a rubber backing and are very flexible. They take on the shape of any object and can be bunched together just like steel wool. Over time they become even softer which makes them great to use with detailed projects!

Step 15: Tip 15: a Slightly Different Use for Sticky Sanding Disks

Although I do not use a sander for those sticky sanding disks I still have another way to put them to good use.

Although it is not by design the sanding disk stick perfectly to each other thus creating sanding disks with a grippy surface. Different grits can be used to be more flexible.

Step 16: Tip 16: Double Sided Sanding Sheets

I also like to use different grit sanding sheets and glue them together with some spray adhesive. This gives me more flexibility when working. I also use my Sharpie to write the grit on each side.

Step 17: Tip 17: Card Scrapers

Card scrapers are great tools to remove material from your work piece. I absolutely recommend you get yourself a kit for your workshop. Lee Valley and Veritas Tools make great scrapers!

Also look for sharpening tools (Burnishers) that maintain the burr on the edges.

Step 18: Tip 18: Give Old Planer Blades a Second Life

Don't throw away blades from your planer! Use some masking tape on one side for protection and use the blade as a scraper!

Step 19: Tip 19: Use Your Vise As a Tool Stand

You can use a vise as a stand for your tool. This way you can convert a handheld band sander into a mounted one!

Be careful though when doing this as to much pressure from the vise may damage your tools!

Step 20: Tip 20: Sanding Belt Sanding Blocks

You can cut a piece of wood to shape to fit into a sanding belt! The sanding belt can be quickly adjusted if parts have worn down too much!

Step 21: Fan Tips

This additional step is made for collecting the great tips readers of this Instructable have shared in the comments. Thank you all for sharing!!!


  • Folding sandpaper into thirds, this will add strength to it and you will still have one side of fresh grit when the first two have been used up.


  • Start to save scraps of wood and arrange them according to their size.
    • The smallest shavings can be used as tinder or to make fire starters
    • Larger pieces can be used to make small sanding block


  • make a few blocks from scrap wood of similar size and use the adhesive-backed Velcro that comes with 1/3rd-sheet sander refills (sometimes-- if not just buy some), cut it to size, and apply it to the wood blocks. I use a sharpie to write the grit size on the back of the block, and then re-use my 4-1/2" random orbital sander abrasives. It's handy to always have a block in a standard size with each grit at-hand, and gets a lot more life out of the discs.
  • Sanding Belt cleaners are a very useful addition to clean and dress your sanding belts & sanding disks


  • After the hook & loop base wore out on my orbital sander, I sanded the face of it down with coarse paper and then spray glued a piece of 20 mil pvc tape to the base to create a smooth surface. It holds the sticky sanding disks like a champ. Been using it exclusively with sticky-back paper. It works great.

Step 22: Monthly Giveaway

You can win a Let's Prep Outdoor MakeKit v2.0 including a 1-Year Instructables Pro Account. I will also send out stickers to the runner ups again!

All you have to do is to subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave me a comment at this video and include "I want to go out and make something!" & your Instructables username. The winner will be announced on Mar 31st 2016 1800hrs GMT on my FB, Twitter & Blog. (Only entries from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, USA & Canada are eligible to get the full package mailed (please understand that I pay for this myself), residents of other countries may only receive the Pro-Account).


delladolittle (author)2017-02-07

Love this tip video! I am wonder about the weights he used on his long board, He mentioned Harbor Freight but I cannot find anything close, only lead weights for tires?? Are they for something else and being repurposed? I would love to get some!

Was1x (author)2016-08-20

My teenage grandson, the inventor, taught ME to clamp the inverted belt sander in my portable, folding Workbench. The sander has a button to keep it running. Only thing is the finest grit is 120? Can't get much of an edge on blades, etc.

lm5392 (author)2016-05-11

I want to go out and make something lm5392

moreideas (author)2016-04-08

After the hook & loop base wore out on my orbital sander, I sanded the face of it down with coarse paper and then spray glued a piece of 20 mil pvc tape to the base to create a smooth surface. It holds the sticky sanding disks like a champ. Been using it exclusively with sticky-back paper. It works great.

always curious (author)2016-04-06

Have not looked through all your tips-although I am sure they are excellent. HOWEVER, I WANT TO COMMENT ON THE CAT!!! These creatures appear constantly in instructibles - surely only to ensure you (as the tutor) is doing the job correctly?. My cat also likes to help.

Alex 2Q (author)always curious2016-04-06

Spike does so good a job as a shop assistant he even got his own action figure merchandise!

IngenuityAtWork (author)2016-04-05

Good tips, thanks!
One of my own is to make a few blocks from scrap wood of similar size and use the adhesive-backed Velcro that comes with 1/3rd-sheet sander refills (sometimes-- if not just buy some), cut it to size, and apply it to the wood blocks. I use a sharpie to write the grit size on the back of the block, and then re-use my 4-1/2" random orbital sander abrasives. It's handy to always have a block in a standard size with each grit at-hand, and gets a lot more life out of the discs.

Alex 2Q (author)IngenuityAtWork2016-04-05

Hi IngenuityAtWork,

that's a very good tip! If you don't mind I would like to add yours and some other fan tips as a separate step to this Instructable.

Cheers Alex

IngenuityAtWork (author)Alex 2Q2016-04-06

Hi, I replied to you yesterday but now I'm not seeing it in my comment tracker. Can you let me know if you didn't get my reply saying it's fine if you want to use my suggestion, and mentioned a couple other tips I use also... Thanks!

By the way, I'm a bit of a prepper too so I'll have to check out your other instructibles when I get a chance.

Alex 2Q (author)IngenuityAtWork2016-04-06


yes I read your reply and can see it below this post. Not sure why it doesn't show up for you.

I have the go ahead from Jimmy to include the fan tips and will try to get that done tonight.

Thanks again for sharing your tips!

Cheers Alex

PS: I look forward to see your comments on some of my other projects ;) !

IngenuityAtWork (author)Alex 2Q2016-04-05

No I don't mind at all.
Might be a good idea to mention using those rubber "belt cleaners" too; I find that they are well worth the few bucks that they cost. I'd also say something about using quality sandpapers vs cheaper ones. Both can have their advantages.
You kind of covered this, but a good use for a sheet spray glued to a flat stationary surface is to sand the thin edge of a board; much easier to sand close to a 90* angle by holding the broader workpiece than a relatively small sanding block, at least that's been my experience with workpieces that are small enough as to not be unwieldy.
If I think of any others I'll let you know!

deswiger (author)2016-04-05

Nice job, always good to save my pennies, needing every one. Thanks for the share. Semper Fi

lovethebackwoods (author)2016-04-05

I have my students save every bit of scrap wood. These are added to big coffee cans that are labeled by size. The scraps small enough to fit in a teaspoon are used for fire starting material when cooking outdoors at home. The slightly larger sizes often end up being added to something already being built, or having good sandpaper scraps glued to them for sanding tight corners, the insides of wooden boxes, etc. Scraps - wood, cardboard, sandpaper, plastic, etc. - enjoy unlimited use the second time around and reinforce the recycling program used in our schools and many other businesses, home wood-shops, etc. Thanks for this great 'ible! Make sawdust!

Alex 2Q (author)lovethebackwoods2016-04-05

Hi lovethebackwoods,

thanks for sharing this! I really like that approach of reducing waste or putting it to good use. I wish more people would adopt that way of thinking about our resources!

I will add this to the Fan Tips step!

Cheers Alex

Alywolf (author)2016-04-05

My dad taught me one trick for small projects too, he taught me to fold my sand paper into thirds, to add strength to it, and gives an extra layer that you fold out after you have killed the initial stuff. what do you think?

Alex 2Q (author)Alywolf2016-04-05

This sounds like a neat trick! If you don't mind I will add this to the step with the Fan Tips!

Cheers Alex

tjk1939 (author)2016-04-05

Jimmy Wikiresta. The human encyclopedia of handy. More great tips, thanks Jimmy.

Alex 2Q (author)tjk19392016-04-05

:D Wikiresta is a good one! I will certainly pass it on to Jimmy!

Cheers Alex

zappenfusen (author)2016-04-05

good stuff!


Alex 2Q (author)zappenfusen2016-04-05


andrewwilson (author)2016-04-05

Going to re-fibreglassing a canoe very shortly. All those tips are going to make my life a whole lot easier.

Pure genius! Thanks for the great tips.

Alex 2Q (author)andrewwilson2016-04-05

Thanks for the feedback! Maybe some of Jimmys other Tips (e.g. Bondo & Epoxies) will be useful for your project. Check the video here the Instructable will take a while but is definately coming!

Cheers Alex

Alywolf (author)2016-04-05

So useful! too bad I just saw it and missed the March 31st deadline. Thanks for the great tips.... Do you have suggestions on ways to really keep track of grits, especially when someone like me has a tendency to break them down into smaller sizes.

Alex 2Q (author)Alywolf2016-04-05

Thanks for the feedback! There will be a new giveaway for April soon! (Hopefully this week).

The easiest way I can think of is to make a note of the grit with a Sharpie or other permanent marker.

Cheers Alex

blueaxe (author)2016-04-05

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing these little pearls of experience.

Alex 2Q (author)blueaxe2016-04-05

Always a pleasure never a chore!

francati (author)2016-04-05

Love the Cat, what's He/She called ??

rachl009 (author)francati2016-04-05


Alex 2Q (author)rachl0092016-04-05

Thanks rachl009! Yes that little bugger is called Spike. It is kind of a running gag in Jimmys Tips series to have short sequences with Spike in between the Tips. If you like him you should go ahead and watch all episodes! ;)

Cheers Alex

thoffmann4 (author)2016-04-01

Jimmy can help you out of bed.. Help you to fall asleep.. And is educating at the same time! Love that guy

Alex 2Q (author)thoffmann42016-04-01

That's absolutely right!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-31

Awesome tips


Thanks a lot!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-31

Awesome tips

About This Instructable




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