Surface Sanders – Part 1

Making Surface Sanders:

Sanding sticks and Surface Sanders are some of the simplest and also the most valuable shop aids you can have around. You can hog out a lot of wood and finish it with a razor sharp chisel, but you will still have a need to sand it smooth, especially for finishing work.

It is best to keep a wide variety of these sticks at your immediate fingertips as it turns out you always need one in a hurry. Say you need to trim a bit of wood that you noticed after setting the clamps for gluing. You don’t want to have to strip off the old sandpaper and apply new while the glue is setting up.

Large Surfacing Sanders – Marble Slab:

There are several types of these sanders and to call them sanding sticks may be a misnomer. I usually keep a 12″ x 12″ x 3/4″ slab of marble counter top scrap around the shop. The great thing about these marble slabs is they are honed perfectly flat. I keep one with rough grit sandpaper and the other with medium-fine grit sandpaper.¬†Just stick an entire sheet or two of sandpaper to these slabs with Feathering Disc Adhesive and you will be all set. The Feathering Disc Adhesive is a removable adhesive so changing out the paper is relatively a simple chore.


These big marble slab sander are meant to stay put and you sand on them, rather than the other way around. Use them to take a whisker off a saddle bottom or the edge of a nut. Also use them to form braces, straighten up the edge of a bridge plate or a million other tasks.

Back Crown Surface Sander:

Are you wondering how you sand the proper angle on the guitar sides and lining for an arched back or top? The easy answer is with the Back Crown Surface Sander. Just take a 6″ wide x 30″ long piece of 3/4″ cabinet makers plywood and adhere a 6″ x 11″ piece of sandpaper on it with Feathering Disc Adhesive. You can also make the sander using Adhesive Backed Sandpaper.


This sander can be used to flatted the sides and lining prior to gluing the top -or- its’ highest and best use is for sanding the proper angle on the sides and lining for the arched guitar back. Just calculate the angle from the guitar edge to the center of the guitar. Now double that dimension and you will need to add a wood shim to the botom of the sander that rests on the side opposite of that you are sanding.

This works incredibly well and you can’t believe how easy this makes this hard-appearing chore to become. Just set the shim side on the opposite side of the guitar side you are sanding and use a back-and-forth motion to sand down the side.

Also, to make the back fit perfectly, you will need to sand down more areas than others. This is best achieved by setting the back on the side and doing a trace job. – More on that in another article.

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