Introduction: How to Make a Sanding Stick

I'll admit, this one is a bit of a low fruit on the DIY tree. BUT if you don't know it, it's not so remedial is it?.

I remember - very clearly - the excitement I felt when I learned this tool-making technique in the summer of 2005. See? It made an impression. So let's call this one, "fundamental."

What's so great about sanding sticks is that they are like renewable, endlessly-customizable files. Plus, you can make them with sandpaper that is much *finer* than a file; a 400 grit sanding stick is great for *just* breaking a corner on an otherwise very precise, angular project.

So if you're hearing about sanding sticks for the first time: welcome.

check out a wonderful use for sanding sticks.

and an ingenious variation on the theme.

I made this sanding stick at TechShop Detroit! oh yeah!

and I'll let you in on the back-story: I made these to finish WEDDING BANDS FOR MY BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW-TO-BE! I'll share some info on that in the near future.

Step 1: Materials

My background is working with metal/making jewelry, so I buy fancy wet/dry sandpaper made with super-flexible paper backing and a wide array of grits. But make sanding sticks out of whatever sandpaper you can get your hands on. (courser grits - 100-series and below - tend to flake apart at corners. FYI.)

What we got here is, we got:

- 400 grit sandpaper
- a paint stirrer/thin strip of wood/plastic/whatever (i've used those plastic plant labels that come from nurseries - the ones with the plants' names printed on them - they're sturdy but flexible, great for getting around curves, shoe-polishing-style)
- duct or masking tape
- a scribe

Step 2: Make Your Sanding Stick

Yep, I wasn't kidding when i said it was easy.

1) Lay sandpaper grit side down; lay your stick parallel to the edge, with just a little hanging over.

2) Score that little overhang with light pressure on your scribe. Fold on the score for a crisp corner, and tape in place.

3) This is the magic of the whole operation: score along the other edge, and fold. Score every fold and you'll get neat corners that keep the sandpaper tight around the stick, and make this tool perfect for sanding into 90deg angles.

4) When there's just a little tail of paper left, score with more pressure on your scribe and the excess will rip off neatly.

and finally...

Step 3: Looky

5) Wrap tape around the top and the bottom, write the grit on the handle, and your done.

The other photos (shared with this instructable on making a seam ripper) show the great thing about sanding sticks! You can make them any shape/profile, and when the outer layer is gunky or worn out, just rip the layer off and there's fresh paper! It's great.