Sandpaper is by nature a disposable item. You usually throw it away when the abrasive parts have dulled or the backing has worn out. But there is a few simple things you can do to delay the inevitable end point of your abrasive items. Regular cleaning and proper storage can significantly prolong sandpaper lifetime and also make it perform well during its useful life. In this article, we will give you cleaning stick information and reviews.
If you are mostly sanding regular cabinet woods like oak and walnut, cleaning sandpaper can be easy as occasionally slapping it to remove excess dust. However, it would not work for cleaning sandpapers used for resinous woods or panels with glue finishes. In this case, there is practically no effective way to clean gummed up papers. When it happens, don’t risk ruining your work by continuously using gummed-up papers. Just change to fresh sandpaper.
Abrasive Cleaning Stick Comparison
Cleaning sticks are made of simple material and their quality is not much different. Here the price is based on the unit volume. Basically our pick is the best deal based on the volume (per cubic inches). Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner is the best deal. If you don’t need much sandpaper cleaning, you can go with the Rockler one because its single item price is the lowest.
|Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner||(4.8 / 5)||48 (2x2x12)||$||Best Deal|
|LARGE SANDING BELT / DISC CLEANER By Peachtree Woodworking – PW188||(4.8 / 5)||27 (1.5×1.5×12)||$$||Also Great|
|Abrasive Cleaning Stick by Rockler||(4.5 / 5)||18 (1.5×1.5×8)||$$||For Occasional Use|
|Big Horn 19544 Abrasive Belt Cleaner, 1-1/2-Inch By 1-1/2-Inch By 8-Inch||(4.7 / 5)||18 (1.5×1.5×8)||$$|
|Vermont American 17889 Sanding Belt / Pad Cleaner||(4.5 / 5)||10 (1.5×1.5×4.5)||$$$|
|POWERTEC 71002 Abrasive Cleaning Stick, 8-1/2″||(4.4 / 5)||19 (1.5×1.5×8.5)||$$|
* Vol is cubic inch, **Price is unit volume price (price/vol).
Using Cleaning Stick
You are probably one of many who used a cleaning stick for a belt sander. If you are not, a cleaning stick is basically a stick of soft rubber. When you press it against a sandpaper on belt, disc or drum sanders, heat is generated and it makes sticky dust particles to cling to bits of rubber abraded from the stick. They can also do a pretty good job of removing deposit of finish and glue when you use them frequently before gunk builds up.
When you keep sandpaper clean, its grit can cut better and remove stock faster. Also it will keep the abrasive running cooler and make its grains don’t break down as quickly, which will lead to longer life of belt, disc, or drum. It is recommended to clean sandpapers early and often because it is much harder to clean once papers become fairly loaded and it will get even worse from that point.
There is no special technique to use cleaning sticks. Just apply moderate pressure and move the stick back and forth across the surface until it is clean. As in the video, cleaning sandpaper on mounted sanders are very easy. However, holding a portable sander and applying the stick can be juggling. In the case, you can mount a cleaning stick or block on the bench. When you use a very short stick, your fingers could get pulled in and hurt seriously. Unless you have some support to hold the stick, never use too short sticks.
Sanding glued up panels or woods heavy in resin or pitch content can quickly load sandpaper. Standard cleaning does no good and only way may be to change paper. However, it is not a cheap option. Here are a couple of ways that are likely give you more life out of sandpaper.
Simply reversing direction or rotation of partially loaded sandpaper can draw more working life time. You can get more aggressive cutting from partially used abrasive because you are using the reverse side of each abrasive grain. In belt and drum sanders, you can simply flip the sandpapers. The second method is using medium density fiberboard (MDF). Running the loaded abrasive against a piece of MDF is effective method to remove yellow or white woodworking glues. The MDF dust seems to stick to the glue and pull it off the abrasive.