How to Change the Sandpaper on a Finishing Sander

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A finishing sander is an electrical tool that is used to polish, shape or smooth wood and other surfaces, such as plastic and metal. Finishing sanders typically have a rectangular base that can accommodate 1/4 or 1/2 sheet of sandpaper. Using a sander facilitates work and saves you time and money. Changing the sandpaper on a finishing sander is a simple and straightforward task.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Utility scissors
  • Hold the finishing sander and view both ends to see the retaining clamps that are used to hold the sandpaper in place. Various models of finishing sanders have various styles of clips and clamps, but almost all models use the same method of attaching a sandpaper onto its base.

  • Place the finishing sander on top of a sandpaper. Adjust the position of the sander lengthwise or crosswise to allow the most number of sandpaper that you can cut from a single sheet of sandpaper. Provide enough length of sandpaper to be able to wrap the sandpaper upward at both ends of the sander base so that the cut sandpaper can be attached to the clamps located on top of each end of the sander. The width and length of sandpaper that you will cut should be enough to cover the whole surface of the sander base.

  • Fold, and cut the sandpaper according to your desired size, using utility scissors. Place the sandpaper onto the base of the sander with the smooth side of the sandpaper facing the base of the sander. The length of the sandpaper should be parallel to the length of the sander, and there should be no excess sandpaper protruding on either end of the sander base.

  • Attach one end of the cut sandpaper onto the clamping mechanism on top of one end of the sander. Various sanders have various styles of clamping mechanisms, read the sander manufacturer's instructions in the owner's manual to know the exact manner of attaching the sandpaper onto the clamping mechanism. Wrap the rest of the sandpaper around the base of the sander. Wrap the other end of the sandpaper upward around the other end of the sander.

  • Open or lift the clamping mechanism. Attach the end of the sandpaper onto the clamping mechanism, but pull the sandpaper tightly when inserting it into the clamps to avoid slack. A little slack on the sandpaper can reduce the effectiveness of the sandpaper in sanding a surface. Check to make sure that the whole surface of the sander base is covered with sandpaper. Plug the sander into an outlet, and turn it on to test it.

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