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When I was working on the arched stained-glass window I told you about last time (which came out great, by the way), a shop trick I’ve used for years came in handy. I’ll share it with you.

The arched window I made had a large semicircular opening at the bottom, which was surrounded by five curved openings around the top. Each opening had some straight, easy-to-sand sides, but also had curved sides. A power sander doesn’t get those very well; neither does a sanding block, for that matter. But years ago I came up with the perfect sanding tool that handles curves with ease. Not only does it work great, but I made it entirely by accident when I was throwing it away.

Years ago I was putting a fresh disc on my 9” bench disc sander. After peeling the old disc off I folded it in half so it wouldn’t stick to the inside of the trashcan. But before tossing it, I took a close look at it and realized that I had just made a very thin, very stiff – but still pliable – sanding board.

I keep a couple of these always on hand; one is very coarse and the other not so much. They reside in the trough of my workbench within easy reach, and are perfect for lots of sanding chores.

For that window with all the curved muntins, I bent it into a rough curve and sanded away. Left flat, the thin sanding board fits easily into tight spots a sanding block or even handheld sandpaper won’t and still holds its shape. A folded-in-half disc forms a pointed tip on each end that fits into mortises to smooth them out. Although thin, the folded disk is still thick enough to grab for rough face sanding of panel glue joints.

I can’t tell you how often I reach for these sanding boards, but I wouldn’t be without them.

Till next time,

A.J.

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