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Shop-tested sanding strategies

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auto-body filler

Turn auto-body filler into custom sanding blocks

When working on some fireplace surrounds, I needed to sand a large cove molding to remove saw-blade marks. To make a custom-fit sanding block, I place waxed paper over a short length (4-6") of molding scrap. Then, I put pieces of waxed-paper-covered 1/8" hardboard around it to act as mold forms. A rubber band holds the hardboard in place.

Next, I fill the mold with two-part auto-body filler, making sure the waxed paper lies flat along the molding. When the filler sets up, I pop off the sides of the mold and trim any rough edges with a utility knife before the filler hardens completely. Wrapped in sandpaper, my new custom-fit sanding block makes quick work of smoothing out the cove. I've used this technique with all types of trim molding.

-- Chuck Hedlund, WOOD® magazine staff

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