A Good, Affordable Sanding block

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One of the most mundane, yet important, tools in our toolbox is a sanding block. We, and I include my 4th through 12th grade students here, use our sanding blocks during the last stages of completing our projects. For me, sanding is the finish before applying a finish. After planing and scraping we can sand the surface using an electric sander or a sanding block. Although I own a few sanders (belt, orbital, and a plain ¼ inch), I find myself using a fairly thick sanding block. My favorite block is the American-made one Prepare the block for smoothing the weapons. This sturdy tool is fun to work with, ergonomic and sturdy. It uses ¼-inch strips of sandpaper, which are mounted to it using a stainless steel locking mechanism. But as a top-notch tool, it understandably isn’t cheap since its mid-market price is $ 24. We have seven Preppin blocks in our program, and they’ve witnessed quite a lot, including dropping their noses on our floor.

Here are our sad blocks: The best are our Preppins, which come in four different color options to help nullify the different grits of sandpaper we mount on them. The black rubbery block is an old dinosaur from the shop’s past. This block was common in the days before Preppin and is in my eyes very inadequate. Our cheap new recruit is the red one in the foreground.

In my constant effort to find decent but affordable additional sanding blocks to join our fleet, I notice a $ 10 block on Amazon and decided to give it a try.

This block that falls under many brands and sellers (here is one) is a hollow plastic sander with pressed steel clamping tabs. I got ours last year and have been using it ever since. While it’s not as sturdy as the Preppin, I have to say I like it enough. My students use it a lot, and although I predict (and still believe) that its corners will snap after an accidental drop to the ground, this has yet to happen. The locking tabs work well and the rubbery sole underneath is still flexible and all in one piece.

To fit a new strip of sandpaper: Extend the spring clamp tab lever upward.

Thread the end of the sandpaper and let go of the lever.

The only annoying thing is that its surface doesn’t match the easy-to-cut ¼ strip – like the Preppin. To cut a strip that fits over it you will need to divide a regular sheet of sandpaper into about three equal parts and cut off the excess length of each strip.

I will incorporate excess paper scraps into future detailed manual sanding operations, but still would have preferred ¼ more standard sizes.

Side by side comparison of Preppin and our new block.

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