Whenever I am sanding a project down, just before applying a finish, I often use my random orbital sander, but the final sanding job I do is to hand sand - with the grain - every part of the project, and finally, remove all the sanding dust. I ran out of 220 sheet sandpaper on my last project, which prompted me to use a disc pad as a hand sander. This gave me the idea to make a hand sander that uses the same discs as my random orbital sander.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/yZBtvbYNc8A

And by using the same hook and loop material I can even quickly change discs or grits when I need ...

As it so happens, I also hate that disc storage box I made a few months ago that I use for storing and transporting my disc. I thought it was a good idea at the time but having used it now for a few months, it has a few drawbacks.

1 - it's fiddly to get discs on and off the because I used dowels to hold them

2 - the whole box is quite heavy because I re-used to old 3/4 plywood for the disc holders

3 - the disc holder don't lie flat so the rattle around and sometimes fall out

4 - the elevated discs are much more susceptible to absorbing moisture in the air

(I live in a humid area) and the humidity is absorbed into the sanding discs which tend to shorten their effective life. I know that the discs are absorbing moisture because they are slightly warped, this is caused by moisture being absorbed into the backing of the discs which makes the backs of the disc tend to swell and because the top of the disc is sealed the swelling makes the discs warp.

To start off, I had to purchase a new box of hook and loop (Velcro) material. The stuff I use is the sticky-back version, and it really sticks well, especially if you let it sit for a couple of days before you use it. It bonds like crazy. Perfect for what I need.

I cut the dowels of a couple of the disc holders from the storage box, then drew a circle on them using one of the sanding discs and cut it off on my bandsaw. If I had a hole saw the correct size I would have used that.

Next, I needed to come up with some sort of a handle that would work. I decided to try the "handrail" shape which is quite easy to make, and all I needed was a short length of construction 2"x4". I set my table saw blade at 12.5 inches (a common woodworking angle ... for reasons unknown to me) and cut the 2 angles. then trimmed on the side off to fit within the round of my wood disc base.  

Sanding Block

I marked and pre-drilled holes in the base and attached the handle with screws.

Finally, I set about to attach the sticky-back Velcro. I had to lay the Velcro in 3 paths so decided to use the widest parts for the edges and the thinner part of the middle ... this has so far, seemed to be a good choice as the Velcro has stuck well despite a few sanding disc swaps. 
If the sticky back does not hold over time, I will reapply, but next time use some staples with one of my stapler guns to help ensure it is firmly attached.

I attached a sanding disc to the new sander ... and it works like a charm.

Sanding discs

Next, I needed to tackle that storage box I keep the sanding discs in. As luck would have it, I found an old 1/8 inch piece of plywood that was painted white on one side. This would be perfect for cutting up into small dividers for my sanding discs. I was careful to make sure the tabs for each size were exposed at the end and easy to read ... well, that was easy.

sanding disc storage

And now I don't have to fight my disc holder every time I want to add more discs or take one out ... and, they hold the discs flat so there is less chance of disc absorbing humidity and hopefully, I will get little bit longer working life from them now too, but if not, it was still worth it for the convenience.

Copyright Colin Knecht


 How to Build a Hand Sanding Block for Sanding Discs