Folding Sandpaper for Longer Life

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Introduction: Folding Sandpaper for Longer Life

My father was an old school cabinet maker. He learned his trade during the depression, a time when everyone learned to be frugal. One of the first woodworking tips I remember him teaching me was the proper way to fold sandpaper. Using this method the sandpaper will last much longer. Sandpaper is expensive, even today.

Step 1: Here's the Issue

If you simply fold sandpaper twice, the abrasive surfaces face each other. While you are happily sanding away with the first side, the two abrasive surfaces are ruining each other.

Step 2: Start With Some Creases

Fold the sandpaper in half, making a sharp crease across the middle. Open the fold and rotate the paper 90 degrees. Fold once again and make a crease 90 degrees from the previous crease.

Step 3: Tear Along a Crease

Using the edge of the table saw, or a sharp corner on the workbench, tear along one of the creases. Any crease will do, I always pick a short one, I'm kinda lazy.

Step 4: Fold Number One

Fold one of the panels over, as in the photo.

Step 5: Fold Number Two

Fold again, as in the photo.

Step 6: Fold Number Three

When you bring the last flap down, notice that there are no abrasive surfaces facing each other. Neat.

Step 7: Sand Away!

Now you can sand to your heart's delight. Unfold and refold as necessary. You can even wrap the sandpaper sandwich around a block of wood if you wish. Notice how much longer the sandpaper lasts, simple, but amazing.

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39 Comments

Hi I read all comments and can't believe no one else has suggested folding in two as usual, then apply a little PVA glue and clamp until dry, as a bench hand joiner for 25 years, I've always used this method. Not only does it prevent slipping, creasing, crumpling etc, it gives a nice firm, malleable piece which can be edge cut with pincers to whatever shape required or to remove a clogged edge to give a fresh edge still using the same piece.

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This made my day. Thank you!!!

Thanks for this useful tip

Nice trick. Works better than the method I have been using for years which was folding paper in thirds. One side on top of the other such that the grits never meet.

user

I watched my father do this, but had forgotten. I'm very glad to see so many people respond gratefully. Thanks!

Nice presentation and in theory sandpaper life is longer. However there is more to sandpaper longevity than knowing how to fold it. The first "step" is to select the right kind and grit of sandpaper for the project. Folding is the second step. The third step is knowing how to use it properly for sanding.

Master these steps and you can come out with a beautiful "base" for your finish.

Phil Rasmussen
The Mountain Woodworker
Hendersonville, NC

Thanks for the simple but valuable trick.

Super,i try it and its wenderful,THANKS.

I just fold sand paper in half. Back side against back side. If the sheet is too big, I just cut it to twice the size of what I want to use.

If you just fold it once it will tend to unfold during use. there is drag on the wood AND drag on your fingers, so the paper will slip away over itself. Notso if you fold it double, like in the "ible.