# Sanding Blocks

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### Scode68

##### Well-Known Member

I'm looking for something use other than a block of wood.

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
3m has some pre-fabricated disposable ones that come on a block of foam. They're OK.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter

I'm looking for something use other than a block of wood.
Why? if you use a 1" square x 11" long you can tape an entire 9" x 11" sheet to one edge and fold it using the entire sheet. Sure cuts down on wasted time changing papers.

I also use Glit sticks, and a couple X-acto alum. T blocks but they are not nearly used as often as the 1"x1"'s
Flex Frames do wonders on curved and round surfaces.

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
I have an aluminum block I use quite a bit, but I also use various scraps of wood -- a nice, solid block of wood is not only cheap, but it just works.

FWIW, as long as we're discussing sanding blocks, the quality of the sandpaper you use does matter.

-Kevin

#### Scode68

##### Well-Known Member
I like the idea of the 1" blocks. Just wrap it with the paper and stick a few push pins in it.

Last edited:

##### Well-Known Member
I like the 3M stikit sanding blocks along with the stikit sandpaper. The paper is self adhesive and comes in rolls. For homemade sanding blocks my favorite is a block of 1/2" corian cut to whatever size I like. I then bond a layer of cork to the sandpaper side. It works well with stikit rolls or regular sheets. The corian has a nice heft and feel while sanding. The cork along with the sandpaper gives the right amount of firmness for sanding.

#### ONAWHIM

##### Well-Known Member
A block works on flat surfaces, into corners, and edges pretty well.

For tubular or cylindrical shapes like and airframe you might try a piece of foam or heavy sponge.
Hold the sandpaper with the print side up and place the foam in, fold it up like a taco. The shape will conform to the surface being finished. Modify as necessary.

For radius sanding like fin fillets a dowel or similar shape could be used. I used a ratchet wrench handle to do the same.

Wm.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I just use a plain old rubber sanding block. Hey, they're cheap. For sanding the insides of tubes and rings, I wrap and glue sandpaper to dowels, spent black powder motors and even bamboo skewers. Nothing fancy.

MarkII

#### georgegassaway

My favorite Sanding block is the one in the attached photo.

By &#8220;Red Devil&#8221;, #3319. I have often found it in Ace Hardware type stores.
Online listing:
https://www.reddevil.com/productDetail.cfm?id=3309RT&c=pt&cat=14

List of stores that carry the brand:

The paper clamps onto the block. It uses a 4.25 x 5.5&#8221; sheet of sandpaper (so, it uses a 1/4 piece from a 8.5 x 11&#8221; sheet of sandpaper)

The block has a rubber pad about 1/8&#8221; thick, but I do not like that. So, I remove the rubber pad so the block is flat and sturdy.

Now when I say this is my favorite sanding block, I do not mean favorite of several types. What I really mean is I have never used anything as good as this, so this is the only kind of sanding block I use..... unless I've misplaced one of them or forgot to bring one to a launch.

I use this for sanding fins, wings, glider parts, helicopter (Rotaroc) blades, pretty much everything that a flat type of sanding block can be used for. Been using this kind of sanding block since the early 1970&#8217;s.

- George Gassaway

Last edited:

#### Gus

##### Well-Known Member
My favorite is the Wood Sanding Block by Warner Manufacturing. It is made to hold 1/4 sheet of sandpaper and has a big flat side, and angled edge, and a rounded back edge. Very simple, very cheap. Just do a Google Shopping search for Warner Sanding block.

My only complaint is that the Wood Sanding Block used to be made out of wood. Now it is made out of plastic. Works just as well but not as pleasurable to hold as a nice wood tool.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
It's a real pain to load the paper into these, but I have never seen any other kind of sanding block. I'm quite surprised to find out from the previous posts that there are so many other types; I have never seen any of the other blocks that have been mentioned.

MarkII

Last edited:

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
George - On the one you use, is the lever used to release the bottom, for replacing the sandpaper? If so, that looks like a darned nice block, and since I buy my paper in rolls that are the width of 1/4" sheet, it'd be perfect!

-Kevin

#### georgegassaway

George - On the one you use, is the lever used to release the bottom, for replacing the sandpaper? If so, that looks like a darned nice block, and since I buy my paper in rolls that are the width of 1/4" sheet, it'd be perfect!
Yes , exactly. In the photo at left, you can see the lever arm is moved to the left, which opens the block wide enough to let the flat bottom part come off, which also allows the sandpaper to be replaced.

In the photo at right, the block is ready to go, with the sandpaper clamped in place. You can see the lever arm is moved to the right which clamps it all together.

That is another thing that makes it so useful, so the paper can be changed so easily. This is most useful for sanding with different grits of paper. For glider wings for example I will start out with 80 to 100 grit to rough-shape, then go to 220-240 for final shaping, then 360-400 for final sanding for smoothness. All those changes would be more of a hassle with most other blocks.

Actually, it is easier than that. I very often just fold and hold another sheet of sandpaper in place on the block, letting my thumb and fingers do the clamping type action which also serves to hold the block as well. This might sound awkward, but it is a very natural thing (either that or I&#8217;ve used it that way for so long it feels natural to use without clamping on the paper every time). If you get one, you may find yourself doing the same thing sometimes. I started doing that when I just needed to do a "little bit" of sanding with a different sheet.....

But I also like the size. Not just that it uses 1/4 of a large sheet of sandpaper, but that it just feels like the right size to be sanding with. Of course, some of that comes from using a block like that for nearly 40 years. But the X-Acto 1&#8221; and 2&#8221; wide blocks never made much sense to me. I did try them early on (a friend had some), but they just seemed too narrow, whether it was a boost glider I was working on or basic rocket fins. This one always "felt right", so it is not just a matter of using it for so long.

- George Gassaway

Last edited:

#### dixontj93060

##### Well-Known Member
My favorite "sanding block" is no block at all.

#### Attachments

• 219 KB Views: 22

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Okay, George, you just sold me on that block -- I see a trip to the store coming!

I use an aluminum extrusion as my primary sanding block, and often stick the paper to it with 3M Super 77, if I don't feel like holding it. The block you're using, it sounds like it's very easy to change (biggie for me) as well as convenient to hold paper on.

-Kevin

#### Scode68

##### Well-Known Member
John, I tried the 1" squares by 11" and I was quite surprised. I gave it a try on a BT-60 size rocket and thought it would be awkward but it actually worked great. I had a lot of control and it was cheap also.

Bought a 3' length for under $3 and I now have 3 long blocks and a short piece just in case I need to get in a tight spot. #### MarkII ##### Well-Known Member My favorite Sanding block is the one in the attached photo. By Red Devil, #3319. I have often found it in Ace Hardware type stores. Online listing: https://www.reddevil.com/productDetail.cfm?id=3309RT&c=pt&cat=14 List of stores that carry the brand: https://www.reddevil.com/wheretobuy.cfm Checked my local hardware stores yesterday, and none of them, including the big Ace Hardware in my area, had it (or even knew what I was talking about). So I ordered one online through Amazon. It should be here in about a week or so. I didn't actually need a sanding block at the moment, but I wanted to get one while George's post was still fresh in my mind. The price was practically the same as what I paid for the rubber sanding blocks that I have been using. IOW, it was quite inexpensive ($3.34 , and then nearly twice that amount for the shipping charge ). The cost of the shipping is probably a wash, since otherwise I would need to drive all over the region trying to track one of these hand sanders down.

I almost went for one of these, an item called the Norton Sanding Bug:

but it requires the use of their special pads for it, which only come in 50, 100 and 150 grit versions and which are all sponge-backed. It resembles a power detail sander, except that this item runs on muscle power rather than electricity. (Hey, but it's cordless, though... ) I may still pick one up sometime though, because it looks like it could be useful in some situations. (Not for general sanding though.)

I rarely use anything coarser than 220 grit for sanding purposes in model rocket building. I sand most surfaces to smooth them, not to shape them. Even so, 220 grit will remove an awful lot of balsa or the entire outer layer of a paper body tube pretty quickly if I'm not careful with it. I only use coarser grits if I am sanding something like plywood. (And I try to do as little sanding of basswood as I can get away with, because it's a real PITA no matter what grit I use.)

MarkII

Last edited:

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
John, I tried the 1" squares by 11" and I was quite surprised. I gave it a try on a BT-60 size rocket and thought it would be awkward but it actually worked great. I had a lot of control and it was cheap also.

Bought a 3' length for under \$3 and I now have 3 long blocks and a short piece just in case I need to get in a tight spot.
Great to hear you agree! I've fond these 1"x 1" x11" blocks invaluable on just about every size and kind of model sanding. I have a couple of the 1/4 sheet pad sanding blocks that George mentioned which are fine for some things but have found these 11" balsa blocks far more useful for sanding long, flat Rotor and wing airfoils and and large areas I want to ensure are and remain dead flat. Combine these blocks with a slab of 1/2" or 3/4" plate glass and a little double faced masking tape and you'll be set for sanding just about any surface you'd like to try

I do find that on some small (Micro) NC and transitions using the sanding bands in frames helps. but for the most part I just grab the 11" block or glit stick with the proper grit and away we go

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
So you use the double-sided tape to hold the balsa to the glass while you do your sanding?

-Kevin

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
So you use the double-sided tape to hold the balsa to the glass while you do your sanding?

-Kevin
Yes Kevin:
A short piece on each end, and one in the center if the piece being sanded is longer then 8 inches or so. After shaping and sanding one side a Painters plastic pallet knife is used to help free the balsa without damage. Flip the piece around and reposition on the same tape pieces to sand the other side. By the end of this sanding the tape usually needs to be replaced for the next piece.

#### FatBoy

##### Random Part-time Hobbyist
When I need to get into a tight spot or an odd-shaped area to do some sanding, I sometimes make a small sanding block out of a few LEGO bricks. You can make just about any size or shape you need.

As ONAWHIM mentioned before, to do fillets I use a dowel, a chopstick, or even a round pencil depending on the radius I am looking for.

#### JAL3

##### Well-Known Member
When I need to get into a tight spot or an odd-shaped area to do some sanding, I sometimes make a small sanding block out of a few LEGO bricks. You can make just about any size or shape you need.

As ONAWHIM mentioned before, to do fillets I use a dowel, a chopstick, or even a round pencil depending on the radius I am looking for.
My wife hates when I use chopsticks or any other kitchen utensil for unauthorized rocket activities!:bangpan:

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
My wife hates when I use chopsticks or any other kitchen utensil for unauthorized rocket activities!:bangpan:
"John! How many times do I have to tell you: kitchen utensils are for authorized rocket activities only!!" :bangpan:

MarkII

#### JAL3

##### Well-Known Member
"John! How many times do I have to tell you: kitchen utensils are for authorized rocket activities only!!" :bangpan:

MarkII
The problem is that according to SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED, there are no authorized rocket activities.:confused2:

Strangely (and fortunately) enough for a fat middle aged guy married to a slender woman, I run faster than she does!

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Strangely (and fortunately) enough for a fat middle aged guy married to a slender woman, I run faster than she does!
Sure, but only until you reach the end of your chain.

MarkII

#### panja12

##### Member
my sanding block is made up of legos, has worked fine for years, when I need a bigger sanding block, I just put a piece of sandpaper on my desk and start sanding off of that

#### Gus

##### Well-Known Member
my sanding block is made up of legos, has worked fine for years, when I need a bigger sanding block, I just put a piece of sandpaper on my desk and start sanding off of that
Sounds interesting. Could you post a picture?

#### BEC

##### Well-Known Member
My current favorites are the Great Planes Easy Touch Sanders, such as this one: https://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXK315&P=7 I have a couple of the short ones and one 11 incher and they are the first ones I reach for.

I also have (and wish I could find more of) a clever plastic block that is designed to use a 3x18 inch belt sander belt. One long side is hard, the other has a thin felt pad. It has a clever way to easily change the belt for changes of grit.

#### Pem Tech

##### Well-Known Member
Sure, but only until you reach the end of your chain.

MarkII

Ouch!
He got you on that one Brother John.