Sanding such a delicate carving is tough. But I found two methods that made quick, yet safe work out of it.
Since I won’t be carving these pieces, I have to sand them to get the glue off the face and to prep the wood for oiling.
And here’s me all geared up for the job. This is the first time I’ve sanded anything since I started wearing glasses. I quickly discovered that the fog factor doubled instantly.
My little Bosch sander is great for this type of work for several reasons. The surface area is rather small. And it has the least vibration of all my sanders. Plus, it’s small enough for me to strategically place my hand on limbs to keep them from breaking.
As you can see, the sandpaper has holes in it that match holes in the head of the sander. Those really kick the dust away from the piece, but don’t send it flying all over me. With it having been so hot and humid here lately, I’m thankful for that. Sweat + sawdust = yuck.
I found that stroking in one direction, from the start of the limbs toward their ends was the safest way to do it.
The little portable Stanley Fat Max made a super work surface that had plenty of extra space around the carvings for hand holds, and to maneuver the carvings around without worrying about dropping off the edge.
What I like most about the Fat Max is that it folds flat and easily rolls away for storage when not in use.
Sanding left some fuzzy edges. You can also see a few V shapes where limbs met that I didn’t quite make a clean cut of with the scroll saw.
But, the piece is far too delicate to sand those the usual way.
It will require a rotary tool. My favorite is made by Wecheer.
Above is what I call my banana hanger for the rotary tool. It also serves as a nice hanger for carvings when I oil them up too.
My favorite part of this tool is the flexible wand attachment. It’s so much lighter to hold for long periods and helps me be precise with the work as well.
The image below will give you an idea of just how small a burr I’m using to do this type of delicate cleanup work.
Before I oil these pieces, I’m going to have to figure out exactly how I want to mount them. They look great to me with a little space behind the back piece, and then space in between them. That way, both cast shadows on the wall.
I may need to take a trip to my favorite framer for some help figuring out how to best do that. And I’ll be sure to share what we find with you next time.