Tips for Sanding by Hand
To get the best results when sanding by hand, use a sanding block. You can make your own by cutting a 4½- inch square out of 3/4-inch softwood. Alternatively, you can buy a commercially made block at your hardware store.
The sanding block takes the place of your fingertips behind the sandpaper. You will find that using a block is much better than sanding with your fingertips. Your fingers will follow dips and other irregularities in the wood, leaving a wavy surface.
Remember also to sand with the grain. Otherwise, you can end up with serious scratches. Overlap your sanding strokes, applying equal pressure to forward and backward strokes. This cuts the wood fibers instead of combing them down. The only time you should sand across the grain is when you want to remove a large amount of wood. Then, finish sanding by going with the grain.
In some cases, you should not sand at all. For example, if a surface has large gouges and dents, sanding will only make shallow craters. Instead, put a damp rag on a dent and touch it with a hot iron. The steam will raise its crushed fibers. Fill deeper dents and scratches with wood putty and then sand.
Take the time to sand thoroughly, using the proper progression of grits. Staining will not hide a poor sanding job. In fact, it will make it more obvious.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your floor sanding and refinishing needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above