Sanding is one of the necessary but often most hated parts of woodworking. I have seen many different woodworkers go to great lengths to try to avoid sanding and sandpaper ... and I'm one of them. I know how important sanding is because I can see and feel the results on my projects, I just HATE sanding ... the noise ... the dust ... the repeated sandings and most of all the trying to sort out my pile of sandpaper grits, all contribute to this dreaded job.
I don't have any fancy sanding machines so all my sanding is done by hand and almost always outside so I can keep the dust away from  my lungs and the rest of the shop.

Today I have decided to at make a new effort at trying to organize my sanding sheets, sanding discs and my sharpening sheets. I store these in all different locations then have trouble finding them so end up leaving them all piled on a small shelf in front of what is my slot shelves for sand paper. It's just not working.


Somewhere in one of the Woodworking Mags, I saw a drawing for a long tall box with multiple shelves for storing sandpaper and that is what this project is about, making that cabinet. My chance I found a half sheet of corrugated plastic at a "use building materials" store I frequent (Habitat for Humanity's "Restore") I like supporting them by contributing and purchasing product from them. This was a 2' x 8' sheet for only $4.00 and I though would be perfect for the shelves. Nice and thin, easy to clean and slide in and out of slots in the cabinet to make higher and lower openings.

The rest of the carcass would be what ever spare wood I have laying around. The other product that I though would make good shelving would be arborite sheets. These are often also available in smaller pieces and would work fine, very thin plywood would be my last resort, but something like "doorskin" plywood would be fine too.

As far as the carcass, I used some 3/4" spare material I had around. I could also have used some 1/2" plywood, but opted for a bit thicker looking carcass. The video shows how it all came together, it was not a difficult project, the only agony was trying to decide how to cut all the slots for the shelves. The needed to match from side to side so that the shelves don't look like they are on an angle. I could have used a router for this and either an edge guide or a dado guide but I didn't have a bit thin enough, so it was off to the tablesaw. I also didn't have a blade of the right thickness so finally put three 7 1/4" circular saw blades together, like a mini dado blade, and found they were the perfect thickness.

Cutting the thin dados for the shelves was the most challenging part of this project. I didn't want to just run them all through because they might have some effect on putting back on. I decided to make a start and stop mark on the tablesaw fence and alternated back and forth with each gable end when cutting them, so that each slot would be in an exact opposite location on each side. The only minor inconvenience was that there was a small bit of wood that needed to be removed right next to the slot where the back would slide on. A sharp chisel did the job nicely and didn't take that long to do. Actually, I cheated a bit too and used my router with a thin bit and free hand removed most of the small area of wood, the cleaned it up with the chisel.

This is one project that I don't mind spending the time on for ease of use in the shop. I have found the cabinet to be a much more inviting place to use now that I can locate ANY sandpaper grit or disc I need without having to route through a stack of semi-used, new, curled up and mixed bag of sandpaper pieces. Whew ... that was easy.

Copyright - Colin Knecht