Storing and Identifying Abrasives
Monday 02 July 2012
Philip Greenwood has a few hints to conveniently store your abrasives, saving you time and money
We all use abrasives for our woodworking projects. How we store and identify our abrasives can save time and money. I am sure I am not alone in picking up the wrong grade and then having to re-sand my item after picking up a coarse grade and not the fine one intended. A few simple tips will prevent this from happening in the future. How we buy our abrasives can save us money; buying large rolls of each grade and cutting your own discs will cost you less in the long run, but only if you use large quantities each year, which I do. Once each piece loses its cutting ability, it’s straight in the bin and a new piece is used.
Storage of rolls
Storing rolls of abrasives for use can be achieved in many ways. I keep my rolls near my lathe, so all I have to do is turn around and all my rolls are at hand. If your rolls are too far out of reach you will keep using worn out abrasives, which is no good. One way is to thread a cord through the centre of the rolls and hang from the underside of a shelf. Or use tubes like I do; these can be drain pipes or fishing rod tubes.
Storage of discs
The discs can be stored in jars with the grit size on each jar; an old coffee jar with its lid on is ideal, especially if you have any damp in your workshop. I use a storage box with the grit size on each compartment, I also have a piece of hook-and-loop stuck to the front to attach part used discs, this also makes sure I pick up the right grade of disc each time. I have five sanding arbors in a block with each grade of abrasives attached, this saves removing each disc to move on to the next grade which in turn saves the hook-and-loop on the arbors.
Strips of abrasives
Strips of abrasives in use can be kept in a block of wood, the block of wood has grooves just wider than the abrasives, and my block has eight grooves for each grade I use, with the grit number next to each groove. If your abrasive is able to be stuck to hook-and-loop, a strip can be attached near your lathe and the abrasives you’re using stuck to this in order of grit size.
Identity marks can be placed on the abrasives being used to identify each specific grade. One way is a marker pen; draw a single line for the first grade, then two lines for the second grade and so on for the rest. The second way is to use different colour marker pens for each grade, then place a chart near your lathe so you can see which colour relates to each grit size.