Last updated on April 29, 2022 11:20 am by the writer.
Replacing the sandpaper on an electric sander is important for two reasons. First, the sandpaper becomes dull from use and therefore doesn’t do as good of a job at smoothing the wood.
If your sandpaper isn’t replaced regularly, you can end up with uneven surfaces and scratched surfaces on the wood you are trying to finish smooth.
Worn-out sandpaper can create scratches or gouges in wood from the areas that aren’t worn out.
Otherwise, worn-out sandpaper simply won’t polish your metal or smoothen wood anymore.
When is the time to replace sandpaper?
Knowing when should you change the sandpaper on your sander is pretty straightforward.
1. Wear and tear
Once sandpaper has become dull the time to replace it has arrived. Depending on how often you use your sander, you may need to replace the paper more or less frequently.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your paper when the sandpaper no longer removes sawdust evenly. When you can see the paper getting dull and showing signs of uneven wear.
2. When changing grit
You should otherwise replace your sandpaper with a different grit when neededt.
Coarse grits are required for faster but rougher sanding, followed by more dense grits for smoother finishes, you can do multiple rounds.
Choosing your sandpaper grit
There are a variety of grits of sandpaper available, and the right grit for the job depends on the type of wood being sanded and the desired finish at this stage of sanding.
A higher grit number means finer sandpaper, which is better for achieving a smooth finish but would be slow for initial sanding on ruff surfaces.
When you get close to the end and final sand you want to use higher grit sandpaper for a smoother finish especially if stained prior to sanding and you are prepping between coats.
Here is a general guide for choosing the right grit:
- 80 grit: For rough sandings, such as removing paint or varnish
- 120 grit: For general sanding
- 180 grit: For finishing
- 240 grit and higher: For fine finishing
How to place sandpaper on a sanding block?
- Begin by removing the old sandpaper from the sanding block.
- If you get new sandpaper packaged in a roll, cut many pieces to the desired length with a Stanley knife so that you don’t blunt your scissors. When putting sandpaper on a manual hand block sander, make sure the paper is loner than needed to fully wrap around the sanding block so that you can grip it.
- Align the sandpaper so that the grit is facing outwards and attach the paper by folding the corners to the edges of the sander by first pressing it against the sanding block to find your marks. This creates folds on the corners to hold everything in place.
How to replace sandpaper on a orbital sander?
I find so much potential with a high-quality orbital palm sander when using one with newly replaced sanding sheets. here’s how you can replace them:
- Lay your orbital sander on its side, for an easy access position.
- Simply peel off the old sandpaper that stuck on using Velcro.
- When putting sandpaper on the orbital sander, align the new sandpapers Velcro edge to the orbital sander by ensuring the grit faces outwards.
- Attach the disk to the pad by pressing your chosen grit firmly on.
How to replace sandpaper on a belt sander?
A belt sander uses a loop of sandpaper that rotates around two drums.
The sandpaper is usually replaced by releasing the tension on the belt via screws or a quick-release lever.
This removes tension from the sanding belt causing the belt to come loose so that you can remove and replaced the belt with a new one.
Replace, when needed because you want to sand with a fully functional belt sander.
Here are the steps to change sandpaper on a belt sander:
- Detach the cover plate from the sander if there is one.
- Release the tension on the old belt by loosening the adjustment knob.
- Before putting sandpaper on the sander, slide the old belt off of the drums.
- Install the new belt by sliding the existing one over the drums.
- Tighten the adjustment knob to apply tension to the new belt.
- Reinstall the cover plate if needed.
How to put sandpaper on a finishing sander?
You want a finishing sander that smoothens unwanted scratches or swirls of the surface during the last sand. Replacing sheets for this sander is easy.
- Cut a new strip of sandpaper to the right length and size from a roll of sandpaper, or buy custom cut sheets.
- Release the clamp on both sides of the sander holding the old pieces of sandpaper in place and remove it.
- Align the new sandpaper so that the grit is facing outwards and clamp on the sander with the front clamp .
- Wrap the sandpaper around to the back of the sander and reattach with the rear clamp making sure that the paper is pulled tight.
- After tightening both clamps to secure the sandpaper in place make sure that there are no sags. Re-do this process if necessary.
How to replace sandpaper on a file sander?
It’s pointless to use a file sander that gets into the smallest corners if the sandpaper has worn out. Here’s how you can change a file sander’s sanding sheet.
- Remove the screws that hold any cover plate in place if there is one.
- Detach the old sandpaper from the holder by realizing the tension via the quick-release lever.
- Attach the new sandpaper to the holder, and re-tension the system.
- Replace the cover plate by screwing it into place if necessary.
How to replace sandpaper on a detail sander?
A tool that sands down the tightest spots of woodcraft is much more effective with newly replaced detail sandpaper pads.
- Place the tool to the side, and peel off the old sandpaper pad.
- Position the new Velcro sanding paper to align with the 3 corners and press it in place.
- Detail sandpaper gets hot from vibrations fast and requires replacement frequently.
How can you save money replacing sandpaper?
You can save money when you change sandpaper on an electric sander even if you use a sander frequently.
- Choose a grit of sandpaper that is appropriate for the type of job and desired finish, use a coarse grit first when more sanding is needed.
- Buy your sandpaper in bulk in either rolls, belts, or custom-made packages for Velcro-assisted sheets.
- Store your sandpaper in a cool, dry place to extend the lifespan of the roll.
- Use a sanding block to evenly distribute pressure and prevent premature wear when sanding by hand.
- Use a belt sander for major sanding jobs.
- Use a wood planer or thickness planer to smoothen surfaces first if wood is uneven .
Replacing your sandpaper regularly is an important part of achieving the desired finish of your woodworking projects.
Your frequency of sanding will largely depend on the type of sander you are using, the grit of sandpaper used, and how often you use your machine.
Rubbing edges can be a bit of work sometimes, so don’t forget to utilize electric tools that can make your life a lot easier.
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