Woodworkers as a rule like to keep things simple. Ever heard the expression creatures of habit? We fall into that category more often than we care to admit. Still have that Yankee screwdriver? Cutting-edge at the time but a dinosaur today. I still have an original craftsman 1/4” drill I got from my dad when he up and moved to Hawaii. I know now why he didn’t take it. Advances in technology have made tools like that obsolete. Sure it’s cool to have one, but it belongs on the wall for looks. Now there are battery operated screw guns with little flashlights. No extension cord to drag around. No cord to replace when it wears out at the handle. Are you kidding me? It’s a no brainer.
The Old Fashioned Sanding Blocks
That same technology has trickled down to non-electric items as well. Take your good ole sanding block. Still using a block of wood with pieces of an 8-1/2” x 11” sheet of sandpaper? How about that rubber one with the flaps in front and back that lift up so you can impale the sandpaper on those little nails? Never stays tight, does it? When I first started using Corian, I cut scraps to fit a cloth belt for a 3” x 21” belt sander. I went through a lot of scrap, because if you cut it a little too short it didn’t work. Then when you changed grits it didn’t work either. I was so close to inventing the adjustable sanding block. I could have patented it, made millions, and not have to be writing in this e-rag to make a couple bucks to stave off homelessness.
The Sand Devil – NOT Your Old Fashioned Sanding Block
Peachtree Woodworking Supply has done just that. The Sand Devil Sanding Block uses the same principle as a belt sander. It utilizes the super duper Clever Lever locking device that belt sanders use. Lift the lever up and it releases tension so the belt can slide on or off. Push the lever back down and the spring mechanism tightens up so the sanding belt doesn’t move. Let the belt stick out from the side of the Sand devil and you can really get into tight inside corners to get that glue or pencil mark sanded off. Let it stick out half inch and it’s still tight but flexible enough to sand the “S” or “C” panel detail on your raised panel doors. The cloth belt won’t rip or tear like sheet sandpaper and you can rotate it around and use all of the usable surface. When it starts to load up, you can use a sanding belt cleaning stick like you would on your belt sander, and you’re good to go again.
As for the wood scraps you used before for sanding blocks? Put ‘em in five gallon buckets and use for firewood next time you go camping. There’s nothing like sitting around the campfire hearing some dad say, “You’re burning walnut??? I could have made something with that!!”
You can find the PeachTree Sand Devil for around $20 on Amazon.