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The Preppin Weapon is a corny name for the best sanding block in the biz.
Our Tools & Materials section is one of the most popular departments in the magazine. But we only review new tools there, and occasionally we miss something. So let me tell you about the best tool value in my shop. Don’t hold the corny name against it (the woodworking market is full of those), the Preppin Weapon makes hand sanding a pleasure. That’s right, I said a pleasure.
The usual approach is a shop-made block, with a layer of cork. You wrap the paper around it and hold on tight to keep it taut as you sand. It works fine, but it adds a bit of hassle to an already tedious job. Also, these kind of blocks work best with small, squarish pieces of sandpaper, which load up and get dull quickly.
Enter the ultimate surface-prep weapon. Borrowed from the auto-body industry, the Preppin Weapon is the ultimate sanding block for woodworkers. First off, it is longer than the usual block, fitting a 1/4-sheet strip of paper perfectly. That means the work goes faster and the paper lasts longer. And it holds the paper only at the very ends of the strip, meaning you aren’t wasting much. How does it hold it, you inquire? With two little ingenious clips that you activate with a simple lever at each end. The paper goes on and off in seconds, and stays perfectly taut and flat!
On top is an ergonomic landscape of humps and bumps that fits your palm and fingers perfectly. Below is a firm layer of foam that distributes sanding pressure evenly, a must on any block. I’ve been using my block for years now, and the foam is as good as new.
The Preppin Weapon is widely available on the Web, for around $20, in a variety of colors, so you can buy more than one and color-code your grits! I only have one, since the paper goes on and off so easily (plus, I’m cheap).
Team up this uber-block with a simple sandpaper cutting jig, and your sanding struggles are over.
It fits your hand like a glove, holds the paper tightly so you don't have to, and covers a lot of ground.
Sandpaper lasts longer on this long block, but when it has to come off, it does so with the flip of a lever.
A new strip of paper goes on just as fast. Attach it at one end, pull it tight, and then attach it at the other end. The clips pull the paper tight as they close.
For the ultimate sanding setup, make a paper-cutting jig like this. It is just a base, fence, and old hacksaw blade, and is sized to tear off a perfect 1/4-sheet strip. Put a washer under each end of the blade to make it easy to insert the paper.
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Klingspor Woodworking Shop carries both the "Preppin Weapon" and the Sand Devil. I've used both for years and it really helps reduce hand fatigue. Along with good sandpaper which makes the difference from a good aide to a great tool.
Although they're not quite as large as the Preppin' Weapon (but they are just as expensive -- !), I really like Highland Woodworking's Stikit Sanding Blocks (full disclosure - I picked them up for free when purchasing a bandsaw from a late woodworker's widow). Of course, you have to use the proprietary sandpaper (not the Norton 3X), but especially for minor jobs, they're terrifically convenient. Once you load a roll in one, it's good for months. It's much easier to unroll a fresh surface and tear off the used portion than it is to get out a sheet and cut it, attach it to a sander, etc. I have four with different grits loaded on each one.
I agree 1000% this is the best for hand sanding. I have 4 of those for years and Asa is very percise about how he describes them.
One more sanding secret is "Sand Devil" http://sanddevilusa.com/ (available on Amazon and other stores) which is as useful for coarser grit sanding. The machine 3"x21" belts last forever and it is the best complement gizmo for the Preppin Weapon sanding block. Both highly recommended.
These are the best sanding blocks I have found. I have several, one each for grits 100 through 220. I usually just split a sheet and put all four quarter sheets on, one on top of the other. The clamp mechanism holds them well. That way when the top sheet gets dull you can just rip it off without unclamping. Fast and easy.
You actually made a jig to cut sandpaper? - too much time on your hands I guess. Where do you find space for jigs like this? Sorry Asa, I couldn't resist myself this morning. I do think its worth coughing up $20 for a Preppin Weapon.
Bought it at Lea Valley and really like it. Not comparable to any sanding block I have ever owned. It's lenght makes almost full use of the sheet with less waste than with shorter blocks. Yes, it is a pleasure to use.
Looks like you can get this at Walmart for about 20 bucks.
gotta give an atta-boy to the Sand Devil too....it takes a 3 x 19
belt.....a little priceier to buy & feed belts I think, but it has a larger working surface & different contours available for this damn sanding thing we need to do now & again...just my .02
Never even heard of it. Off to the net I go! Better than those old hard rubber thingies with the three spikes on the ends that never get the paper tight.
Thanks for the tip.
I've had mine for three years now and love it. I use it on everything from sanding joint compound on drywall to furniture making. I try to stay away from drywall but it works great when you want a flat surface from sanding. Very light weight as well so anyone can hold one comfortably.
This week's prize is a 7-piece router bit set from Whiteside valued at $118!
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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