How to Use A Sanding Sponge
What is a sanding sponge?
A sanding sponge has rough surfaces on all its sides. It is used for the replacement of blocks and traditional sanding screens that are used in drywalls. It helps in smoothing rough surfaces and also helps in cleaning any dusty surface.
Sanding sponges are highly flexible and can be used on flat or contoured surfaces without any hassle. You can easily wash the sponge and remove the residual matter.
This sanding sponge has to be rinsed with water during the sanding process. Called the wet sanding process, it is much cleaner and simpler to operate compared to the conventional drywall sanding.
Choosing the right grit
Choosing the right grit is as important as the cutting the lumber. This is why you must choose the grit of the sanding sponge carefully. If you choose a grit that is too coarse, you may end up scratching the surface of the lumber. If you choose a grit which is too fine, you may have to rub for hours until you get your desired smooth surface. You must know that sanding sponges with lower grit (coarser) removes the wood faster and with a lower effort than a sanding sponge with a higher grit.
If you’re working on harder wood, consider using a lower grit sanding sponge. This will enable the fine particles of the sanding sponge to scratch away the strong fibers at ease, without the fear of scratching the surface. If you’re working on softer wood, you can use a higher grit sanding sponge.
How to use a sanding sponge?
Before you use a sanding sponge, you must first decide on the type and size of the sanding sponge block that is needed. Keeping the grits in mind, choose the size that best fits the size of your lumber. Experts recommend using a coarser (lower grit) sanding sponge at first and then using a thinner (higher grit) sanding sponge to provide a smoother finish.
Before starting the sanding process, put on necessary safety equipment. Be sure to wear a safety mask so that you can prevent inhaling small airborne particles. You can wear a safety goggle and a pair of gloves if you wish to.
Start sanding towards the direction of the grain. Use a lower grit sanding sponge at first and finish the sanding with a higher grit sanding sponge. Be sure to wipe off any residual materials that may persist within the surface.
Rinse the sanding sponge with water to decrease the amount of dust and debris. Pass the sanding sponge lightly over the surface of the lumber to provide a fine finish to the surface. Scrub firmly to remove any rough surfaces that remain. If you see the sponge beginning to clot, your job should be to rinse the sponge with water and repeat the fourth step.
Which one to choose?
Sanding papers are more labor intensive that sanding sponges, but these can provide a neater finish to the drywall surfaces. On the other hand, drywall sanding sponges are overall better compared to the sanding papers as these sponges do not produce particulate matter and are easier to use. By rinsing it in water, the wet drywall sanding sponge can be of great value.
Cleaning the sanding sponge
It is important to clean the sanding sponge after it has been used. This is because the dust and debris that clogs the sandpaper will remain within the small holes in the surface of the sponge, making it harder to sand the surface. This will reduce the effectivity of the sanding sponge.
To clean the sponge, you must at first blow into the sponge. This will blow the particles away from the sponge. Use your fingers and try to dust away any residual particles on the surface of the sponge. Next, you should take the sanding sponge and rinse it with warm water until it is completely soaked. The warm water will make the washing easy and will eliminate any dust particle sticking onto the surface. Use the detergent solution to clean off the inner layers of the sponge. Repeat the process multiple times until the desired results are obtained. Afterward, squeeze the sanding sponge and let all the water out of it. Dry it up in bright sunshine until you use it once again.
Sanding sponges are very handy because it can sand through the wooden surface without creating much of the wood dust that sanding paper may have created. One of the best sanding sponges to choose from is the 3M sanding sponge. This all-purpose sanding sponge can provide a fine to medium grit for wet or dry sanding.
If you are a professional woodworker and perform sanding regularly, usage of sanding sponges or sand papers may be time-consuming and may require a lot of effort that you may not have. This is why many professional woodworkers prefer using multipurpose disc sanders that can get the job done quickly.