Tips for Patching and Sanding – That you probably haven’t heard before!

Hi Amigos!

I’m finally able to share with you some of my knowledge.  After literally spending days of my life sanding The Mother, at least I’m A. Ready to prime the heck outta ‘er, B. Happy to have dust out of my hair, house and nostrils and, C. Can really say that I’ve earned my big girl sanding pants!

Don’t know what The Mother is?  Please read up here, so we can all jump for joy together on my super-duper, long overdue progress!!

With me?

Now let’s talk Sanding….

The hub got this when I had me back turned
The hub got this when I had me back turned

Tip #1 – Make sure that your sander has the right pad

Maxi pad?  No, not quite.  Although, you could use that as an analogy… get the wrong pad and you could have quite a disaster on your hands… er pants…er tmi, sorry.  I’m talking Backing Pad.  I have a Bosch sander and if you do too, you are in luck.  You can chat with them on-line about your product (this goes for any of their tools) and they will give you the product codes that you will need.  (So useful when you’re in a bind!)  In my case, I needed a backing pad for flat sanding or a “hard pad”.  A soft or extra soft pad would be used if you are doing contour sanding, i.e. edges, rounded corners.  Different pads run about $10 bucks each and take about 30 seconds to change out.  Wondering what the pad looks like on your sander?  Well, it’s the black area that you put your sand paper on.  You will also need to change the pad once the paper doesn’t stick anymore.  Who knew, huh?!


Tip #2 – Before filling any holes, run your hands along all wood seams and apply force.

Did anything move?  Wiggle jiggle?  If your seams/joints are not tightly glued, screwed or nailed together you will have issues later.  What do you think your powerful sander will do to those patched seams?  It will find the weakness and chip out the filler.  No bueno, friends.  You will cry after you spend hours diligently filling all those cracks – Don’t let this be you.  Apply wood glue to seams, and reinforce any areas with screws, where possible, BEFORE you sand.

*After you force glue into the seams make sure that you wipe the residue with a damp cloth.  You don’t need extra work sanding!

Tip #3 – Use caulk to fill larger gaps before filling them with wood filler

Under normal circumstances you would not do this, but if you’re knee deep in a project like this where you are repurposing pieces and trying to make it all fit together, then yes, you’ll have some gaps to deal with.  Pick a latex formulation that’s easy to clean, cut the tip straight (rather than at an angle) and fill those larger gaps!  Wipe up any mess with a damp cloth or sponge.  So much faster and more durable than just using filler!!  While you’re at it, patch up any moulding that needs fixin’ too!

Tip #4 – Expect to fill holes 2 to 3 times

I know, I know… that’s a lot of work and I hate to be the bearer of bad news.  But it’s just a plain ole fact of wood filler.  It contracts when it dries, often cracks and usually doesn’t lay flat on the first application, even on the smallest of holes.  Prepare yourself, you’ve been warned.

What I started with…see the wood piece added on the left side?
2nd application of filler
2nd application of filler
Finally smooth!
Finally smooth!

Tip #5 – Yes, you can use wood filler like an artist.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not get this moulding on the front to match when I installed it.

See how the curves are all mismatched?
Yup, this is the kinda thing I had to deal with.
Yup, this is the kinda thing I had to deal with.
After the Dremel and the 1st application of filler
After the Dremel and the 1st application of filler

Now you can hardly tell!  Using the sanding attachment on my Dremel to file down raised areas and then building up dips using wood filler with my finger, you’d have to really look closely to see the seam.  I used an ultra fine sanding sponge for this area since I needed something to go in the grooves – worked great!

Got some dust particles there, but otherwise, smooth as eggs!
Got some dust particles there, but otherwise, smooth as eggs!

Tip #6 – Your eyes can deceive you.

If looks smooth, well maybe it is and maybe it’s not.  There is only one way to really tell.  You MUST run your hands over the wood and filled areas to be sure.  Please don’t get all girlie here and not want to get your hands dirty.  They’re already dirty.  You’re already a freaking mess of dust!  Just listen to muah, and don’t let those rose colored glasses seduce you.

Now I know I don’t have to remind you to wear a mask and protective eye gear, right?  You’re too good for those types of suggestions!  And of course you know that you will end up going through different types of sand paper – starting with a high grit, like 80, then using 120, and finishing up with either a 220 or going one more round with 320.  And of course you know, that you will require 2, possibly 3, different sanders; one for the large expanses of flat areas, one for the corners and details and if you’re lucky, like me, a Dremel might come in handy too.  I’m preaching to the choir?!  Amen, then!

Don’t get discouraged!  Keep with it – ’cause once you start it’s a race to finish.  I was dying over the film of dust covering the house… even though I covered stuff with plastic and vacuumed between sessions, it really gets everywhere.

I can’t wait to show you a finished photo!  It gives me mojo!!

Happy Creating, as always!  Jessica


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *